1 In Finland/ Photo Essay

    A Photo Essay: Hiking in Espoo, Finland

    Our second day in Finland, our friends took us on a hike. This hike was filled with unadulterated beauty and a level of tranquility only found when humans butt out and allow nature to be natural. Mosses, trees standing and fallen, rock formations, lakes and streams, this was one refreshing event. With friends who are experts in orienteering the local terrain, all we had to do was follow along and drink it all in!

    Fallen trees are left alone to become a part of the tapestry of the forest floor. New life grows out that which has ended, or “ended” I should say!

    I am 6’5 for an accurate size reference here…this trees root system wall taller than me!

    To translate the Finnish signs: Three things are to the left, and one thing is to the right. Finnish is hard to read/speak…BUT if we were truly desperate, the forest still comes equipped with quality 4G internet access. So, we could’ve used Google Translate!

    We had to be especially careful while walking on rock formations. The mosses growing on them took hundreds of years to reach this level of flourishing and diversity! Finns care about nature whether a big attraction, or a small undergrowth. A quality to be admired!

    Every so often we would come across minor man-made alterations that helped ease the hiking process. This bridge made crossing the stream much safer for everyone. But notice that it almost fits with the surroundings. It serves a purpose and keeps you in touch with nature!

    A fine example of the biodiversity in Finland. This is Northern Europe everybody. Not exactly the friendliest of climates, yet so many organisms flourish. There are numerous different types of mosses present on this rock, and our friends made sure to slow us down and appreciate their differences!

    This is Iiro and Heini describing for us the route we would be hiking that day! Even with 4G Finns like to do certain things certain ways, so we went old-school-paper-maps on this one!

    The blueberries were in full season when we arrived, with lingonberries beginning to show up in the very same locations. They would be ready to harvest only a few weeks after we left!

    I must say, the forest floor was so soft! We thought Iiro was messing with us when he told us you could sleep on the ground, and that it was quite comfortable. So to prove his point, he stopped where he said it, and proved his point!

    We had to see for ourselves, C didn’t want to leave!

    We stopped near this point to have a swim and a snack. Refreshing cool water, bright warm sunshine and good friends absolutely MADE this place! Not to mention, we had only encountered three people at this point (about three hours into the hike, no less)!

    From the photo above, to the time we got back to their cottage, we found Chantrelle mushrooms alongside the road! We collected them up, as these mushrooms are a favorite dinner side in many Finnish homes! How cool to be able to pick fresh natural food, take it home, clean it off, saute and serve it! Delicious!