The area of Vieremänsuo Mire Reserve is an important protected area of string marshes and old forests situated close to the Hossa area, by the Russian border. Wide open mires are typical for the landscape and the forests are mainly pine dominant mixed forests, but there are also spruce stands in southern and northern parts of the area. Duckboards have been laid across wet places. The most virgin forests are found in north, where there´s plenty of decaying wood also. Several dark-eyed ponds and a few brooks give variation to the diversity.
Many parts of the Eastern border hiking trail that crosses the reserve, follow the old wooden reindeer fence that was used to prevent the animals from going to the Soviet Union. Losing the precious, livelihood-sustaining animals to another country was not an option! It´s not many decades ago when these fences were still maintained and used but now they are just human traces in landscape, showing us visible signs of the history of Finland. The slowly decaying, lichen-covered fences are very nice part of the trail.
The bird fauna include various raptorial birds and hole-nesters like golden eagles and black woodpeckers. The amount of wading birds is smaller. Reindeer is common at Vieremänsuo and all major carnivores have been met in the area. Moose is a permanent resident in these forests, as well as several other animals of the Taiga.
The Eastern border hiking trail that goes along the Russian border, is 162km in total length. On the trail there are several accommodation services and the hike is easy to start from both ends. The pictures in this post have been captured during an overnight-hike on the trail a few weeks back. The reserve is worth visiting all year round because these vast, open mires are very beautiful when they´re embraced by ice and snow.
Living on the border of two different nations, close to another culture has highly influenced the area. People had always been at least in trade relations with the Eastern neighbor before the waves of revolution finally reached these last peripheries of Europe in the beginning of last century and the border was closed. This area is also parts of the border of Finnish and Russian Karelian peoples´ cultural heritage.
The several, dark-eyed ponds along the trail are inhabited by perch and pike so there´s a solid chance of catching something to eat on the way. I tried my luck with a light spinning-reel, easy to carry in a backpack, and was rewarded with aggressive strikes from the inhabitants of these dark waters! The fishing was good and I caught several perches to take home with me to smoke and have for dinner. Nice ending for a great day spent outdoors.
Hiking in the trails of the Hossa area can be recommended for anyone who enjoy being active outdoors and have eye for nature – the trails are beginner-friendly and the area itself rather easily reached but still remote and peaceful. The human traces in landscape bring some added value, open new perspectives and help you dive beneath the surface.
Once you head out there, you never know what you might come across!