Leivonmäki Winter Adventure

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In the early spring we did a short trip to Leivonmäki National Park in Central Finland. It’s known for swamps, shores of two lakes, forests and ridges. I would say that Leivonmäki is a very versatile National Park. Here you can go hiking and kayaking in the summer, and in the winter you also can go cross-country skiing. I you choose to go kayaking or skiing it gives you the opportunity to visit the camp sites on the islands. Here’s a map for the area: Leivonmäki (luontoon.fi).

We arrived in Leivonmäki late in the evening when it was dark. Our base camp was a small hut, at Harjunlahti, without electricity. Our first plan was to just ski away to a camp site, but the hut looked so cozy, that we decided to stay indoors for the night. The problem was that we had planned to eat some sandwiches, grilled over open fire, wrapped in aluminium foil. But now we were inside, with a heating stove, so no open fire. Well, we found out that we had a disposable grill with us, so we just turned it into an oven! We placed the oven on the stove’s top. The oven sandwiches were super! We also made some product development, and for breakfast, when we also ate warm sandwiches, the oven was equipped with an additional bottom, so the sandwiches wouldn’t get burned.

In the morning we skied to the actual National Park, to the lake Rutajärvi, Keskisenvesi. We were really surprised how empty the park was, and we saw only a few others on the ice. We skied eastbound towards the other lake, Kirkkoselkä, but we had to ski through a narrow strait to get to the lake.

As we imagined the strait was an open water channel, so we skied on the shore of the strait. It was a little bit challenging with the pulk, especially in the forest, but we managed to get through to the other side.

We found the camp site and shelter Halttunen on an island, where we prepared some food. We had a really long lunch break. It was still early in the day, so we decided to ski to another camp site to put up tents for the night.

We skied back in our own ski tracks, and when we reached Joutsniemi ridge, we took a short cut over it, so we got to the to camp sites on the west side: Joutsniemi and Lintuniemi camp sites. At Lintuniemi you can also find a shelter.

I the evening we decided for some night skiing, and we had got a little bit lazy. We skied back to our base camp at Harjunlahti for the night. Next morning we had got some new snow! The winter was back!

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Winter Adventure in Koli

For the winter holiday we planned a few days adventure in Koli National Park. We had enough of the little snow here in Southern Finland, so we thought Koli would be a good choice for a little winter adventure. We drove off to Koli from Helsinki in the afternoon and arrived at midnight. We planned to put up our camp at Rykiniemi camp site, because the site was just a few hundred meters from the nearest parking lot. That way we would not have to walk long distances arriving to camp late at night.

Arriving at the campsite in Rykiniemi

What surprised us was that no one had visited the camp site for several days or maybe weeks. The official parking lot was completely unplowed. We plopped into the untouched snow in 0°C temperature to the camp with our stuff. After a quick reconnaissance of the camp site we pitched our tents and prepared ourselves for the night.

In the early morning we woke to some loud thumps and the whole tent shaking! We already believed in our tent that the neighbor tent had awakened to challenge us with a snow war, as that would have been totally expected… But after a moment we figured out that the noise was caused by heavy snow falling down from the trees above us.

Ski touring on Lake Pielinen

The next day we skied out on the lake Pielinen for a day trip. We took the direction north toward the elongated island Laitosaari. There were a lot snow on the ice, so we skied / plopped in the heavy snow that stuck to the bottom of our skis… After 5 km skiing we reached the fireplace at the lagoon of Laitosaari. There, we held a lunch break in the heat of the fire.

When we started to ski back the weather changed, so we felt like polar skiers in the strong head wind and snow. It was difficult to follow our old ski tracks because they begun to disappear. It was already dark when we arrived back to the campsite in Rykiniemi. The temperature started to drop. We enjoyed the evening in the heat of the fire, but in the end we decided to organize a Yatzy evening in one of the tents.

Snowshoeing the Summit Trail

The following morning we packed the camp and drove towards Koli Centre Ukko. The weather had turned into a brilliant – 8°C winter weather. We put the snowshoes on our feet and wandered off along the Summit Trail or the Koli Peaks Snowshoeing Trail, which is a 1.6 km circular trail that takes you round Koli’s best-known scenic points. It starts from the Visitor Centre Ukko from where the journey goes on to Paha-Koli, Akka-Koli and Ukko-Koli.

Koli is worth visiting, especially when the snow situation is much better there than in Southern Finland. I will certainly be visiting Koli again and maybe next time it will be a summer or autumn adventure. After the trip I also updated the review of the Bergans Trollhetta 3 tent.