29 July 2011

Paddling trip to Mannerheim's Hunting Cabin, Lake Punelia Finland

July 2011

Went to paddle with a friend to Lake Punelia, near Loppi municipal, some 70 km north from Helsinki in the south of Finland.

Had two goals for the trip, practice kayak rolls and other kayaking rescue techniques and visit CGE Mannerheim's Hunting Cabin, a.k.a. "Marskin Maja" in Finnish. Wanted to see Lake Punelia region as I hadn't paddle there ever before. Paddled about 20 km altogether, rolls not counted :)

About the Hunting Cabin
Mr Mannerheim was a Marshal and later became the President of Finland, too. The Hunting Cabin was built in the 1940's to his honor while Finland was in war, and originally built in the east of Finland at that period of time. When Finland lost that territory to Russia, the Hunting Cabin was moved from original location to its current location in Loppi, on the shore of Lake Punelia. According to Mannerheim Foundation, he visited in its current location eight times.

About our paddling
Picked up kayaks from our club house of drove north. Found suitable place to put kayaks into water at Yli-Olli rapids (perhaps a place of a mill there long time ago?), on the river between Lakes Teväntö and Sakara. The stream in the river was pretty slow so it was easy to start to paddle upstream, towards Lake Sakara. The first hundreds of meters the river twisted left and right. There were even some summer cottages there. Water temperature was like warm milk.

After Lake Sakara, started the next river, to connect to Lake Punelia. Again twists here and there. Most part looked like to be in the wilderness, a very pleasant feeling.  There were lots of traps for crayfish in the river, good luck for their owners!

Just before arriving at the Lake Punelia there was a small dam. Obviously Lakes had different water levels, not much though. Had to jump off the kayaks and carry them a couple of meters.

Lake Punelia had clear water but like many other lakes in in Finland, humus made it look dark brown, quite different than the sea water (and more challenging to spot rocks near surface).

Paddled near Selkäsaaret islands, to start kayak roll practices there. However, noticed some time before that thunderstorm was approaching us, thus decided to land the island to wait until the storm would bypass us. Well, it took an hour, quite heavy rain, lighting appeared some three kilometers from us at nearest. Was worth waiting for on the island!

After the break, started roll practices. Fun, pure fun, that's all to record :)

Quick late lunch and off towards the Hunting Cabin. Rain had gone and sun appeared with very low wind. Pretty afternoon to paddle.  Took some 6 km to paddle before we reached the Cabin. Enjoyed a cup of coffee (with a fresh 'hillomunkki') at Cabin's cafeteria. Some photos of the Cabin and off we went. Paddled a bit further to check another good place to put kayaks into water.

During return we had a slight tail wind, always appreciated such phenomenon at the end of the trip.

This was a pretty small area to paddle, just max for one day. However, the river itself continued to south, or south-west and might have been possible to paddle it with a canoe, but certainly not with a large kayak.

There's an 'official Punelia Paddling Route, too, developed by Loppi municipal, details in this PDF.

Here's GPS recorded padding route (show larger map):

White Water Lily in the sun's shade

Off to jungle we went


Useful Laavu and extremely impractical fireplace

Selkäsaaret islands

Near Hunting Cabin

Grass grew on a dock at Hunting Cabin

Mannerheim's Hunting Cabin

Shore at Hunting Cabin

I'm a fan of them

Hope it will carry a human, not in a best shape anymore

White spots on the river marked crayfish traps

Felt like Alice In Wonderland

A test

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