The coming week 8 and weekend from 24th to 26th of February will be busy for tour skaters who want to attend events organized in the lake areas across Finland. These following 4 locations will host interesting events ranging from big international to smaller, local events.
Kuopio / Finland Ice Marathon 22-25.2.2017
This international skating event seems to be the biggest in Finland. The event lasts several days, starting with side events like skating for schoolchildren, ice biking and moonlight skating. The race day will be on Saturday 25th, as well as recreational series on the same day.
Definitely an event for those who appreciate the proximity of a bigger town Kuopio, a variety of programs or a real skating race.
Oravi / Linnansaari Day 24.2.2017
The yearly Linnansaari Day offers well-maintained tracks for those who want to skate (or do kick sledging, skiing or biking) through national park of Linnansaari on lake Haukivesi (part of greater lake Saimaa). A true delight of skating for nature lovers in a peaceful natural environment, the most unique skating experience in one of the Finnish national parks. The route of 18 kilometers connects the village of Oravi and Porosalmi resort on the opposite sides of the lake.
Punkaharju / Punkaharjun soihtuluistelu (Torch Skating) 24.2.2017
The route of 6 kilometers is lighted by outdoor candles and “Lumberjack candles”, big wooden torches. The relaxed evening skating goes by the Punkaharju ridge on the the lake of Saimaa, with a waffle cafe at the shore. Punkaharju is located near the town of Savonlinna.
Savitaipale / Skating Day and Torch Skating 25.2.2017
One of the first tour skating tracks in Finland, the route on the lake Kuolimo offers 5 kilometers of skating. Along the day and the evening there will be two shows of syncronized skating and the route will be lighted by torches in the evening.The closest town nearby is Lappeenranta.
There are other locations in Finland that have tour skating tracks and are active in maintenance and communications but do not yet have their special events. Among these are:
Kangasala / Saarikylät
Tampere / Hiking Travel
Tampere / Tohloppi
Kouvola / Kuusaanlammen retkiluistelu
Let’s hope also the towns of Jyväskylä, Mikkeli, Joensuu and Oulu will be active promoting their great tour skating tracks in the future.
The Melkuttimet area in southern Finland is known by trail bikers as a nice place for a day ride, about an hour drive from Helsinki. It is a small area of clear waters of Lake Iso-Melkutin and beautiful pine forests close to the aviation center of Räyskälä. There is a connecting road to Poronpolku Trail which can be combined to your trip.
The trails of Melkuttimet are connected to larger Ilvesreitti Trail network offering total 200km of trails.
The trails are fairly easy and nice, some more technical paths are on the southern shore of lake Iso-Melkutin.
Maybe the most popular photo shoot place is located on the ridge of Tokholmannokka.
The take-off of glider planes from nearby Räyskälä aviation center brings a touch of urban feeling with some occasional noise also.
Crossing the small stream between lakes Vähä-Melkutin and Iso-Melkutin.
Easey and nice forest roads near lake Saarijärvi.
Northern shore of lake Iso-Melkutin offers a nice path close to the lake, passing a popular place for divers to enjoy clear waters of Iso-Melkutin.
Kylmäluoma hiking area in the northeastern Finland has very interesting trails for cyclists. You can either follow single tracks along lakes and ponds or take an easier path on snowmobile tracks. There is a longer marked route for cyclists between Kylmäluoma center and Taivalkoski but you can reach great trails starting from Kylmäluoma camping ground.
Kylmäluoma has got about 90 lakes and ponds and is very popular among fishermen. Kylmäluoma camping ground has got good facilities in the middle of pine wood forest and ridges. It’s a good starting point for day rides. The area is full of fire sites by the lakes and ponds.
Along the trails there are occasional bog areas. In the autumn the colors are spectacular.
If you ride during blueberry time, you can get delicious supplements for your ride snack.
Single tracks along the lakes are sometimes this easy, followed by rockier parts and lots of tree roots on the trail.
If you go further from the camping ground more peaceful places are to be found. This one by lake Kylmäluoma with no other visitors.
It is a reindeer area so you will see a few reindeer by the trails. They usually yield after a moment of curiosity and staring.
There are trails to nearby areas, used by snowmobiles in winter time. The trails go even to Hossa hiking area, about 55 kilometers away, which is another area for trail biking.
Near Kylmäluoma camping ground, there are a lot of ponds for fishermen with kilometers of duckboards.
In the middle of hot July day, temperature reaching +30C, it feels nice to think of last winter’s trips in Lapland.
Kuertunturi is a small fell near village of Äkäslompolo in Lapland. In winter it is approachable by snowshoes or skis, the marked trail starts behind the chapel of the village. The trail is marked but to be sure of directions a skiing map can be obtained at the village.
Start of the trail.
Nice pine forest at the first part of the trail. It’s only under 3 kilometers to the top by the marked trail, going up might take a couple of hours, coming down is a lot faster.
Alternative to snowshoes, ski hoks that you can slide down the hill It has skins to help you to ascend.
The steeper part of the trail may make you want to have a break afterwards.
Visibility at the top was not the best. Pretty heavy wind at the last stretch. Only few small trees near the top.
Reaching the top.
A welcomed break neat the top beside a tree looking for a bit of shelter.
A limited view to the village of Äkäslompolo.
Soft snow for descending with ski hoks. Good place to practice for a few slides.
The day is short in December. Headlight were needed to keep you on the trail.
Before entering Kolovesi national park you should drop by in Enonkoski. From Kolovesi nature hut you can get kayaking maps and info for your trip. The old warehouse now serves as a Kolovesi information center and is one of the nicest nature centers in Finland.
There is a nature exhibition inside the house offering info about Saimaa Ringed Seal, only to be spotted in Saimaa lake area and also in Kolovesi national park.
The cafe is run by local 4 H Association and has a very nice terrace by the rapids. Not a bad place to have a break. Be sure to check the old bridge just a few meters away.
From late June there is an international sand art exhibition nearby the info hut. In Enonkoski you can get last supplies from local grocery stores for you kayaking trip.
When shooting photographs from a kayak some best close-up shots are made if you approach the shore where there are more details to be found. You can get great pictures with a compact camera by just getting close to the subject and by slowing down.
Shoot upwards from waterline
From a kayak you will reach angles that is difficult to get to by other vessels. Aim to the sky and you might catch nice details of the shoreline rocks.
Reach out at the waterline
Paddle as close to the shoreline and reach out. Use you zoom, keep it steady and shoot. Try not to flip over. These cup lichen were on the top of huge rock. Might get some scratches to your kayak, I usually do.
Try to see fine details on the surface of water. Slow down while kayaking. I passed these bubbles on the middle of the lake at dusk. Might have been Saimaa ringed seal hiding there underwater.
Go amidst the flora at the water. You can get great pictures from different angles. You may have to wait for a while to get surrounding water still around your kayak to get clear reflections.
Take a selfie
To shoot a selfie in a close-up is quite tricky. Balancing your kayak, finding a proper direction of light, zooming and focusing is an interesting challenge on the lake.
Let subjects find you
If distances and kilometers are more important to you in kayaking you will not find settings in the nature. While having a break or just resting your eyes in your environment you might see fine details.
All pictures on this blog post were taken at several kayaking trips in Linnansaari national park.