Alone with the seals and blueberries!

Trip Start Jul 17, 2007
Trip End Oct 05, 2007

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Flag of Finland  ,
Tuesday, August 21, 2007

After a perfect night at the 'wild' campsite, which is in fact a very small old camping. Probably only used during ski season by campervans, but now no one there, perfect!
Even better. Someone had broken into one of the electricity polls before (no really it was not me!), so can even charge my phone, camera's, I-pod....

After another refreshing nude swim in the lake the next morning it is time to go to the kayak rental place to start my kayak trip in Koloveden Puisto. The owner is nice, but it bit strange, talking very loud, never once looking at me?????? Then he starts to ask be what type of kayak I want. Uhhhh, are there different kind? And he's off, telling me all about different systems etc. etc. I just want one to peddle around for a few days... He gets the point and picks out the nr 14! no idea what it looks like as I have to go to the start place (6km away) myself, taking the peddle and other things with me. So after choosing what to take with me (in a kayak you  are traveling even more light, cos there is really not that much space!), I am off on my motorbike, wearing my open summer shoes, no jacket, gloves, without helmet (he says the police are his friends...) and a peddle strapped to the bike!!!

Looking like a plane on wheels I manage to get to the lake shore unharmed, no police ticket and with peddle! Finding my nr14 kayak, getting everything packing inside, parking the motorbike for 3 days and off I go....

The lake area is perfect for beginner peddles like me. relatively small waterways, so no hard wind to pester me. Have not been in a kayak since New Zealand (about 7 years ago!), but somehow still remember how to move forward... The only thing is that the kayak seems to have the urge to left all the time! I am trying really hard to blame the kayak and the wind, but most likely its just me. After a few hours of peddling (hard-core exercise!) I call it a day and stop at one of the designated campspots. Cos they are part of the national park a ranger takes care of them, which means toilet paper in the compost toilet and firewood for the campfire place! free camping and woodservice....Did I already mention I love this country!

The next day I get up early (for me 07.00 is early!), cos I hope to spot the Saimaa ringed seal! I have my camera with superzoom lens ready! Told the rental guy I would give him a photo of the seal as part of my social talk. Then he tells me I better sell it as they are worth 300 euro a piece. Whaaattt! Apperently it is really rare to see them. Well I can agree in that cos the only thing I HEARD was a loud Splash in the water, which could have been a seal....or a beaver......or otter. The only animals showing themselves were lots and lots of birds. Nice, but not as interesting. Other things I did not see as well were kayaks... In the 3 days I only saw 3 people peddling in the distance. So it was me and the animals (well they were hiding but still) in the park. Very peaceful and true feeling of back to nature!

The last 2 nights I stayed in an Autiotupa. A what??
Someone told be about a free of charge sauna about 1km from one of the nationalpark campsites. Completely addicted to saunas, that sounded perfect! Specially after a long day or peddling! 'Parking' the kayak on the shore I set off to check it out, maybe I can camp there as well. Following the trees with blue paint....for ever and ever it seems...
Finally I come to a spot with a map. Seems I took the long way round, so in stead of 1km I walked for 5km in the end! Luckily I decided to not bring any stuff with me...

But it was all worth it as the Autiotupa was far more than a sauna!
Translated it means 'Open wilderness hut', which ment a room with 4 beds!!!, campfire place, sauna, woodshed with ready-to-use woodblocks and a dinnerroom or sorts. Also cooking equipment, table, chairs etc. This is camping heaven! All free or charge!
So I walked the (1km!!!) trail back to my kayak to get my stuff...this would be my home for the next 2 nights!

What do I find on my way... wild BLUE BERRIES, lots and lots of them!
Just delicious! So ended up in my morning porridge, my home-made pancakes and as dessert!

On wednesday morning it is time to peddle back to my startingpoint to exchange my kayak for the bike again! I manage to do the impossible thing, get lost in the park! After backtracking for big part I stop at a campspot completely exhausted from peddling. The wind decided to give me a hard time as well! 2km more to go....Then the ranger turns up.....with a motorboat. So I ask in pidgeon Finnish: Can he please bring me and my kayak to the starting point? I must have looked very desperate, cos he said yes! Kiitos Pallion!
The perfect ending of a great kayak-trip!
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