Wednesday 29 March 2017

Lower Chasm Falls Track, Meander Forest Reserve- Northern Tasmania.

Wednesday 29 March, 2017.

Lower Chasm Falls Track, Meander Forest Reserve. Around 6km out and back total.

Safari track rating: Easy, a few roots and rocks, tranquil Myrtle forest & a gushing stream.

A rainy mid week morning set the tone for this short yet worthy meander beside Smoko Creek in the, 'ahem'- Meander Forest Reserve outside Deloraine in the North of Tassie.  Recently graded dirt roads lead to a small car parking area on Smoko Road- straight forward to access, just head South out of Deloraine towards Meander, follow the sign posts to Huntsman's Lake and Meander Forest.  When you hit the first newly built bridge on your left over Mother Cummings Rivulet, turn right onto Smoko Road and keep trucking.

The creek can be crossed easily when not flooded out in times of heavy rain.  Use the side trail to the left of the old log blocking those who may attempt to drive off the cliff (The bridge that was once there has long since washed away).  The path drops down to the rocks and water and marker sticks indicate where to cross to over the other side. You chug along an old road for about a kilometre and hit the start of the trail proper.

Map sourced from the excellent website 

The red dotted line indicates my route from East to West and return by the same path.  

The trail is well marked with reflective buttons and triangles and seems to have a fair amount of foot traffic to keep the pad defined.  It gets a tad rocky and root bound but I found the towering shear cliffs and magical Myrtle forest with all the colourful fungi and mosses and what have you, slow me down enough to not really notice this.  The rain pattered down and cleaned the air and the resident leeches cuddled up to our legs and shoes, but thats the price you pay for beautiful Tasmanian walking right.

Lower Chasm Falls, just upstream from a log bridge, are reached after a few other spectacular waterfalls along Smoko Creek. (I think I got that right, it's a bit confusing and correct info is tricky to find.  That's why I decided to add to the confusion.  Or cause some confusion, whatever.  It's a pretty walk, who cares what the various falls are called. Ok, I admit it, my credibility is shot now, the only way is up though.)  The main Chasm Falls are located about half an hour later after crossing the bridge (if you believe me at this point) but on this occasion I was taking a hiding from the rain and there were other less exposed trails to explore.  That's my excuse anyway.

This could be Lower Chasm Falls.   Or not.
Or just the lower end of the chasm that contains Chasm Falls proper a bit further on.
I would like to think one of those guesses is correct.

Wednesday 15 March 2017

Salamajarvi National Park, Finland.

Sunday 25th September - Wednesday 28th September, 2016.

Peuran Polku Trail, Salamajarvi National Park - Central Finland.  About 60km all up.

Safari Track Grading; Easy, well marked flat forest wandering.

I started this blog as a way of helping others find out information about the walks and places I have been fortunate to experience and I recently remembered how scarce data was on this obscure yet tranquil park I visited last year in Finland so here's a serve.

Firstly I headed for Kokkola via the uber excellent Finnish train system after swinging over the Gulf of Bothnia on a big boat from Sweden.  Kokkola is a cool little city, quite untouristy and I had some rockin good Chinese food and luscious local ales.  Chasing supplies is easy with a few good supermarkets in the central area and I scored an internet discount fare on the local bus to a locality called Mottonen which is basically just a gas station on a highway.

I plodded up the road to the Park entrance for about 2 hours.  You head over the highway towards Joutenhovi in a North-East direction on the 6520 road.  The farmland was scattered with occasional homesteads and often I spied children's bicycles lying in the gutter near bus stops.  I'm taking it that the kids ride to the bus stop, ditch the bike, jump on the bus for school, and the bike is waiting for them when they make the return journey.  Love the honesty of these Nordic countries!

The trail starts on the left hand side of the road opposite the Joutenhovi accommodation centre.  It is flat, easy and I was as always in this enchanting part of the world, completely alone.  The shelter above, Pikku-Syrja, is reached after 6km of walking.

Sysilampi, situated at the South Eastern park entrance is a collection of former farming buildings that are used on a first come basis to doss down and get out of the yuck weather.  Fortunately my visit was blessed with cloudy but stable skies.  I plonked the tent up by the lakeside and had a fire and few stiff drinks.  Absolutely magic skies.  Nuff said!

The cabins had an array of cutlery and plates so I utilised these and tried to read the mostly Finnish entries in the journals and gave up.  The night sky was truly serene. I had to say it again. My favourite evening of the journey.  One of those 'I love my fricken crazy kick ass brilliant life' moments.

Next couple of days I meandered along some of the Peuran Polku Trail.  Without getting all drawn out and specific I will just say I kept the miles short, enjoyed the solitude and rare conversations with Finnish hikers and scooted back out to Mottonen, reluctantly, the same way I came in.  
This little chunk of Finnish wilderness was a great deviation off the tourist circuit (if there is a tourist circuit in Finland?! Go now! It's all yours!) and the effort of getting out there was well worth it.
Not the place for those that need spectacular views and waterfalls.   
Few people, rustic shelters, no litter, wood stacked high in sheds, curious wildlife and those lonely Nordic skies.  I'll be back.