Weather forecast looked all sunny, so I took my daughter for an overnight hike in Torronsuo, near Somero, over the weekend. Torronsuo is a national park, and one of the largest bogs in southern Finland - perhaps the most scenic among them.
Our hike begun from Kiljamo, where one can park the car (or jump off from a bus) and enter the park. We arrived quite late in the evening, on purpose, to enjoy the atmospheric lighting while crossing the bog. Near the start there is a lookout tower, offering nice view across the landscape around - we climbed up to see what was ahead of us.
Crossing the bog, there was a lot to see and learn for my daughter - plants, flowers, berries, bugs (no mosquitos though) and reptiles. We stopped constantly, enjoying and observing original terrain, and taking photos. Lots of common lizards escaped from our feet, and longhorn beetles seemed to have their mating season on. We also met a sunbathing viper, coiled up on the duckboard structures, which first refused to make way, raising its head boldly towards us, but soon rolled under the structures for safety.
Cranberries were not quite ready yet, cloudberries we ate on the spot. After around 6 km hike, last part through forest trails blocked with plenty of fallen trees, we reached our destination for the day, the old open-pit mine of Härksaari.
Feldspar, quartz and other minerals used to be extracted here, but now it served as a playground for the young stone collector, while I pitched the tent and strolled around collecting blueberries for a dessert. Starting fire with a flint was easy with homemade cottonwool-petroleum-jelly firestarters, and my daughter kept it going by collecting and feeding small sticks into the stove. Using woodburning stove is both economical and ecological (and sooty, mind you) way to cook your food, but for family outings, it also adds another fun activity for the kids.
Next morning we continued following the very well marked trail towards the village of Torro, just outside of the park, southwest from the mine. On our way there we followed tracks which are part of the trail network across lake uplands of Häme, Ilvesreitti - tracks eventually led us to a bird-watching tower, from where we continued on the road. Scoping out the traditional agricultural landscape of Torro, we walked towards the main road and shortly after connected to the last section of duckboards, leading us back to the parking lot, with 7 km behind us for the day.
Being near Somero, one cannot pass the opportunity to visit Paratiisi, a non-profit kiosk built on the legacy of one of the great Finnish artists, Rauli “Badding” Somerjoki. Another necessary stop on the way back to Espoo was of course Kasvihuoneilmiö, where browsing old ads in magazines from 50’s is always entertaining, while kids find the place a real treasure-trove.