Opposites week 49, part II

Jouni Laaksonen 6.12.2017

(I thought I had scheduled this to be published 6 a.m. today, but seems I got it wrong. Still learning this blogging. Well, here comes… And once again, congratulations Finland, the 100 year old today!)

Yesterday I told about a ski tour in Lapland in December. Today let’s see what Finland looks like in the opposite part of the year, in June.

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Summer, oh summer! (For those interested, this is Northern Checquered Skipper, Carterocephalus silvicola.)

Hiking with a 1-month baby

Our younger child was born in May. The very first weeks we naturally mostly stayed at home and marveled at the miracle of new life. When she was five weeks old, it was Midsummer (Juhannus in Finnish), and we decided to celebrate it in Southern Konnevesi, which had just been nominated as Finland’s next national park (if you know Hossa is the newest one, hold your horses, for this story takes place in 2014).

We rented a cabin with luxuries like electricity, micro-wave oven in the kitchen, toilet and shower. We don’t have all of those comforts in our own house, but with a baby you appreciate them. Mornings and evenings are more holidayous this way. 🙂

During the days we explored the new park-to-be’s hiking trails. In June there usually aren’t mosquitoes yet, and there were none now. It was not especially warm yet, but the temperature was just nice for hiking. Maybe it was around 15°C. We had checked weather forecasts and it should not be raining. With kids it’s the responsibility of parents to take care that everyone has good time and no one suffers.

Our older daughter walked briskly, my wife carried our day backpack and I carried our sleeping baby in a baby carrier in front of me. We headed to Kalajan Kierros trail, and after one kilometer of walking along a marked path we came to a lean-to. The moment we stopped out baby woke up. My wife begun to feed her, and I lighted a campfire and started to prepare our lunch on it.

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Milk for the baby, pasta for us older ones.

The lean-to is situated in a beautiful place by lake Vuori-Kalaja and our older daughter found lots to do and play on the smooth, low cliff beside the lake. We ate our lunch and continued. As soon as I started to walk with the baby again in the carrier, she fell asleep.

The trail ascends rather steeply up to Kalajanvuori hill. The hill is forested, but there are rocky patches from where you see both to lake Southern Konnevesi (in Finnish, in every map: Etelä-Konnevesi) on west, and to lake Vuori-Kalaja on east.

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Hiking with a baby is not difficult, usually, but you need some extra equipment. Changing cloth diapers on top of Kalajanvuori hill.

As we stopped to admire the view, our baby woke up. My wife gave her milk again, and we changed her diapers. Then, again, as we continued walking, she fell asleep. The rhythm of walking is a good sleeping pill.

There is gorgeous old-growth forest on the southern slopes of Kalajanvuori hill. Also the view over lake Vuori-Kalaja is pretty towards the steep hill we just a while ago stood on.

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Huge aspens crown the old-growth forest in Kalajanvuori.

 

Day hiking in summertime is easy

Day hiking in Finnish summer is very easy. You don’t need any special equipment. You probably have some kind of a rucksack, and it will do nicely. Just some food, a bottle of water, some spare clothes, bit of toilet paper and so on. Pick a well-marked trail (as in national parks) and you don’t have to worry about wet sections on the path, or getting lost.

Well, if it’s raining, proper rainproof and/or quick-drying outdoor clothes are really nice, but if you check the weather forecast and there is no rain predicted, you can hike with normal jeans, cotton t-shirt and sneakers, or whatever the temperature of that day indicates.

Cotton kills, you say? And right you are. If a cotton garment gets wet, it feels cold and it dries very slowly. So jeans or cotton socks are not at all a good idea for a multi-day expedition, or for a rainy day. But on a sunny summer day for a day trail of couple of hours they suit just fine.

And well, it is very good to have some understanding about orientating. But when walking on a well-marked trail it is easy to follow the one colour your loop is painted with, or to follow the signposts at trail junctions that lead to where you want to go.

During next days, and throughout all the summer we hiked other trails with our kids, and enjoyed the fact that getting a baby does not mean you have to stop doing what you like most. Hiking.

* * *

Where is this place? See Excursionmap.fi.

(This blog will continue next week, 11th December, on a subject under Finnish way of hiking.)

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