Last weekend the annual packraft gathering took place in southern Finland. Now third year in running, it pulled together around 15 paddlers over the course of the weekend, a highest number so far, with several first timers and lots of new faces. As opposed to last year’s lake hopping in Helvetinjärvi National Park, this time the event was kicked off in Kytäjä-Usmi outdoor area in Hyvinkää, and took the colorful flock of paddlers down the river Vantaanjoki, all the way to Myllykoski, and a few, even beyond.
Few years ago, we kicked off a continuous roll of overnighters, something we call ‘Outdoor Monthly’, as a loose group of friends who enjoy outdoors. Initially, we planned for reasonable one night (or one trip, that could be few nights in duration) per month schedule, but despite the best efforts, we haven’t been able to do it every single month. But it’s the idea and the effort that counts, right, and each month we do our best to make it happen, on top of other activities each of us do on our own.
Each time I visit family and relatives in Ostrobothnia, I try to reserve some time to head outdoors and visit interesting places hiking, paddling, cycling or whatever is appropriate for the given season. One of the gems I found this summer was the Lauhanvuori National Park, southwest of Kauhajoki, which I visited by bike in July.
Best known as having the highest ‘mountain’ (a true mountain indeed in the scale of Ostrobothnia) in Western Finland, rising 231 meters above sea level, and of its ancient seashores, called ‘kivijata’ or ‘jata’, this national park extends across roughly 54 square kilometers of hardwood forest with podsolic soil, with springs, ponds and small lakes to enjoy, and of course those aforementioned boulderfields and different types of bog.