Lapland has a great deal of natural beauty, but so do many other places in this country too.
Would you believe that there are hiking grounds like this just a bus ride away from Helsinki?
Nuuksio Nationalpark in northern Espoo is just a short drive away from my parents place, I remember my Dad taking me here as a teenager and visiting these woods became like a safe haven next to going to senior high in the busy tram ridden Töölö in Helsinki.
We used to go to the Sorlampi hiking path, a little outside of the actual National Park, because there's usually less people there.
I remember once I hiked here in cold weather, like now, and painted with watercolors using water from the creek. The temperature was just cold enough that the watercolor froze on the paper and made the most beautiful crystallized patterns.
Visiting the folks this December I decided to go check out some of our old hiking paths. Our independence day happened to be PERRfect conditions: almost -20C and hardly any snow.
Like back then, I chose the Sorlampi loop (5km) because its a little bit off the beaten path, and as I wandered into the silent woods the sun started sifting through the trees. The sudden temperature drop the week before and lack of snow showed the woods in magic shades of emerald green, like a precious gem! The pond had frozen quickly and would've been great to skate on had I had the equipment for it.
Bumped into two lovely ladies at the camping site by the lake and enjoyed an outdoor lunch. Come to think of it, I've been having great encounters with people at camp sites and cooking lean-to's all year long!
The trail takes you through many different kinds of forest landscapes and interesting rock formations. And for me, the forest enthusiast, it is a nice change of sceneries because there are remarkable differences between the forest here in Southern Finland and Lapland! In the south it is more lush, there is bigger variety in trees and in most places the trees are much higher. Also there is no jänkkä, the Lappish marsh or muskeg, as they call it in Alaska, around. The jänkkä I miss, but the dense green, I love. It must smell woderful here in the summer.
After the hike I drove on to check out Solvalla skiing hill and found that there's now also a brand new visitor's center Haltia.
I appreciate the service Finnish park and rec visitor's centers provide. They do a good job providing often creatively made, informative exhibitions and nature related installations.. not to mention gift shop with thoughtfully chosen and more often tha not ecological souvenirs. This place had Pinjapuu wood jewelry!
Hiking through your life... hiking shoes from toddler's shoes to old man's boots strung up in the visitor's center ;)