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.