Yesterday I went hiking in the aapa mires of the old growth forests near the Hossa recreation area. These forests and mires have gone through restoration and now they are being protected with a few hiking trails passing through. After my trip I ended up noticing that hiking in this area provides so variable sceneries and natural wonders that it´s like seeing the whole Kainuu region in small scale. There´s a boardwalk been built on top of the most humid places so crossing the whole extensive mire without wetting your socks is easy, actually I hiked the whole route with my basic jogging shoes. I want to highlight that all of these pictures attached to this post have been taken during the same hike!
The first part of the longer hiking trail included vast aapa mires where I saw a lot of wading birds that are nesting or taking care of their chicks at the moment, that´s why they were very alert and their warning tones easily triggered when approached. The world of insects was rich also and that´s the reason why many birds thrive in the area. For example dragonflies were constantly buzzing around me because they were chasing the mosquitos and horseflies that were chasing me! By the way, did you know that during their larval stage spent underwater, dragonflies are extremely ravenous beasts attacking even small fish? For a couple of times, I also spotted the world´s northernmost species of lizard, Zootoca vivipara. This fellow had dropped it´s tail at some point but a new one had already grown.
After crossing the mire, it was time to step into the woods and start climbing up a bit. Walking through these old, spruce-dominated mixed forests with a thick layer of undergrowth like moss, bilberry and bog whortleberry is an experience in itself. Because all of the fallen trees can naturally decompose, different insects and birds benefit as various types of wood-decay funguses provide them with good living conditions.
When I reached the top of the hill, I found a beautiful old farmhouse, lovely meadows and even an exhibition where you get to learn about the forgotten way of life and how people survived here even during the hardest of conditions and the closest road being ten kilometers away. About the new things I learned from the exhibition, all I can say that their perseverance, craftmanship, wilderness skills and general ability to solve problems has been unequaled. Quite unequaled was also the landscape that opened from the top of the hill as you can see!
Walking back to the starting point took me through old forests alternating with aapa mires, bypassing nice lakes and pine-covered ridges. And there was a well maintained wooden lean-to by a lake on the way, providing shelter to have a nice picnic-lunch in the forest!
To sum up, I would say that I spent a memorable summer day doing a days hike in this area, this circular walking trip was definitely worth the sweat!