As I watched memory lane disappear in my rearview mirror, I felt excited to now be venturing into completely new and uncharted territory. I had an approximately 150km drive to reach the Päijänne National Park. The park was established in 1993, has an area of 14 square kilometres and consists of 50 unbuilt, inhabited islands. It’s located at the southern end of the Päijänne Lake, which stretches from Jyväskylä in the north to the city of Lahti in the south. Given its size, I had to choose to explore just a small area of it on this first short visit. So, I decided on the Niemisjärvi area, which is very close to the main park base at Evo. The area is centered around three key lakes, the upper and lower Niemisjärvi, as well as the Vähä-Koukkujärvi. It offers great facilities for either a single or multi-day visit, and as I was staying overnight, I set up my van in a specially designated, and secluded site for travel vans, and I very much appreciated the convenience of the dry, compost-based toilets.
After a quick snack and chill, I headed off to explore, which would include circumnavigating the three lakes along the trails and over the network of duckboards. There was also an initial section, all the way from the start to Vähä-koukkujärvi, which was built to accommodate the use of wheelchairs, to make it accessible for visitors with physical impairments. Vähä-Koukkujärvi is the smallest of the 3 lakes, and the environment there has been specially set-up to offer nature and fishing experiences for young people.
Staying overnight at this national park was just so much nicer than at the ABC service centres on previous days. Not that they were bad, but spending time in solitude, in the deep peacefulness of nature, was on a whole new level as far as experiences go, and it certainly made me even hungrier for more of the same!
After taking a moment to soak in the rays of the early morning sun through the trees, I fired up the van and got an early start on the next leg of my journey, to Torronsuo National Park. As it would be just a relatively short drive of some 120km, there was absolutely no rush. So, I stopped halfway at a roadside rest area to make myself a cup-a-soup and coffee. At the same time, it was a good opportunity to practise my roadside water-boiling skills in the presence of a fairly strong breeze. I think I put my IKEA exercise mat to great use!
It was rather hot upon my arrival at Torronsuo around lunch time, with the midday sun blazing down strongly from high in the sky. In other words, it was an absolutely glorious day to go for a relaxed 2 hour long stroll over the Suotaival loop. In the next video, I will show you all of the best parts from that hike. So I’ll catch up with you again in that one. Thanks and be blessed.