Last June included several hikes in the Hossa area and now it´s time to share these experiences and give you a glimpse of the unique melancholy of the Finnish landscape combined with some history of its people.
In Hossa there´s almost 100 km of marked, beginner friendly trails with fireplaces and shelter´s along the way so you can head for a night out in the wild or do daily walks, it´s up to you. Walking five kilometers per hour is easy here but there´s so many things to see and photograph on the way that around three kilometers per hour is a nice pace. This article is about the western side Peranka-Hossa hiking trail that lead you through rather dry ridge, lake and mire dotted terrain.
The several visible human traces along the hiking trails, reaching from the Stone Age to the present day, tell a story of one the last true cultural and geological peripheries of Europe. Here people lived isolated, on the terms of nature for long and meadow barns, reindeer fences, tar-burning pits, log floaters´ cabins and trapping pits that you see make your imagination fly as you admire the beautiful, peaceful wilderness and follow your path. Subsistence living was reality here only a few decades ago!
This trail goes along the ridges and forests where the first inhabitants of Hossa decided to stay and set up their dwelling sites. The terrain was suitable for hunting with trapping pits, as most of the pits were dug in sandy soil marked by natural boundaries, such as between the ponds or in the depressions between the eskers. There are dozens of trapping pits in the area. Some of them are separate pits, the others are systems that comprise several pits. Today, some of them can be detected as low depressions in the terrain.
There are remains of a robust roundup pen on the Honkavaara heath and three restored reindeer sheds along the trail also. The pen was built on a natural pasture with plenty of lichen for the reindeer to eat, apparently in the latter part of the 19th century and its use was discontinued in the 1960s. Actually my father is part of the last reindeer herders who still have been working with the animals on this site!
The reindeer sheds however, are low log buildings where the reindeer can escape the mosquitoes to a cooling shade in midsummer, during the worst mosquito period. Most of these buildings and sites are slowly decaying but some of them are restored so that not all of our history can only be found in books or museums but out in the wilderness also!
During this walk you´ll make your way through beautiful and versatile nature as you can see from the pictures and learn a whole lot about Finnish and local history at the same time. Sitting on a campsite, admiring the view and staring at the fire in the immediate vicinity of a site where a piece of pottery was found dating back 7,000 years and it sure makes you humble. Swimming and fishing in the several lakes on the way are integral parts of the summery hiking experience!
There are about forty, rather small Stone Age dwelling sites in Hossa where a small group of hunter-gatherers arrived for food at the same site year after year, thousands of years ago. Nowadays people don´t arrive here because of food but because of the reviving effects of nature activities and the unique and peaceful melancholy of the Finnish landscape.
These pictures were taken during a 30 kilometer hike on the west side of Hossa, stay tuned for updates from the east!