Heading to Ostrobothnia around Easter for family festive, I planned to take some time on my own and visit some of the interesting outdoor spots nearby. While searching, I ran across Suupohja Development Association (Suupohjan Kehittämisyhdistys ry), and their extremely usefull resource, especially for a casual visitor like myself, for locating the best destinations in the Suupohja region. Not only is it well made (with introductions in nine languages altogether, though the site itself is in Finnish only) and easy to use, but each destination is described in sufficient detail, and completed with photos, precise coordinates and a map link. With these details, I was able to quickly choose interesting spots in a specific area, and had a plan ready before I left Espoo.
To capitalize the hours available but still wanting to visit more than one place, I chose three different destinations relatively close to each other, and headed out at dawn, maxing out with roughly 8 hours on the go.
Starting from Isokyrö, my first destination was a lookout tower and a hut on Myötämäenkallio, close to Jurva (merged with Kurikka back in 2007). I parked the car at the link mast as suggested, and following the trail and random sign posts it was a short hike to the tower, suddenly rising up behind the trees. The tower is actually an old fire tower, bought and moved on the site by the Tainuskylä village society in 2006.
Climbing the ladders, through a hatch and into the small wooden box to the top of the all steel structure 144,5 meters over the sea level offers an open view all around and to a distance, as far as my northbound destination of the day, Levaneva bog. It was a windy day, so I swayed away for a short moment for a few photos before heading back down to check the hut nearby.
Just behind the tower there’s luxurious hut, fully maintained with an outhouse and firewood supply. Based on the logbook entries it seemed to have a steady flow of visitors and with a good supply of billberries and funnel chantarelles at the right time of the year, it certainly is a nice spot for day trips and family outings.
Back in the car I took a bearing towards Niinistönjärvi lake. A bog lake of decent size, trails run around it, with a bird-watching tower and a few fire places. I spotted a pair of Common Cranes nearby the tower, and sadly all too many seagulls, populating the lake. Reinon Tupa has facilities around the lake, and they organize activities especially for groups, with full service.
After a short stop and hike in the surroundings of Niinistönjärvi it was time to head to the main destination, Kurjenkierros trail, and specifically to Kivi- ja Levalampi reservoir and Levaneva bog on the border of Jurva and Laihia. I wanted to do a round trip, and as the Kurjenkierros trail itself runs from point to point, almost 50 kilometers in length, I packed the packraft with me, to first hike on the trail and across the bog, and then paddle back along the reservoir.
Levaneva is a vast, several kilometers wide raised bog, extending as far as the eye can see - it’s actually the largest mire reserve across Ostrobothnia, well preserved due to its size and location. Trail fully equipped with duckboards and blue dots as route markers when on dry land, it’s an easy stride with spectacular views.
Reaching a suitable spot to try and enter the reservoir, I inflated the packraft and begun a semi-wet entry procedure that consisted of route finding while hopping from tuft to tuft, hoping not to sink more than a knee deep to the depths of ice cold and murky waters of the wetland, bordering the reservoir on the northeast corner.
While entering the raft, and quickly slipping my chilled feet into Sealskins, I noticed the strong wind that had picked up by the hour was directly against me, and so I started the persistent fight against it, not made any easier by the increasing swell and small whitecapped waves. Distance of just a couple of kilometers took some effort to conquer, though part of me (the part that was not concerned about me missing my sister’s wedding) was enjoying the struggle.
I finished the round trip with a smile on my face, close the Maalarinmaa bird-watching tower from where I had started, in the nick of time. Great day overall, and definitely left an itch to explore the Suupohja region more once the summer arrives (perhaps some kind of a bikepacking tour in July, when I will most likely be in the area next time).