28 October 2012

Rubberboot walk on Luukki forest

October 2012

Visited Luukki Nature Reserve and its Recreation Area a week ago.

Autumn time has been very wet in Southern Finland. There's been so much rain that ground have stopped to absorb water, leaving it on the ground.  If you'd like to step off from the road while on nature, better to prepare getting your feet wet. Or alternatively, wear high rubberboots and make sure where ever you walk there's less water than your boots allow to keep your feet dry.

That's exactly how I prepared to go for a walk at Luukki, about 20km north from Helsinki. Actually, I wanted to see how much there was water in the forest.

Luukki area has been my favourite area for outdoor activities for a long time. It's near, it's far enough, it's real outdoors, there's many type of nature and so on. It's really easy to reach there by public transport not to mention by car/bicycle etc.

Weather was lousy, very cloudy and such a high humidity that it felt like a constant light rain. Took a DSLR with me, wanted to record the state of nature on a wet and cloudy Autumn day. As I was an owner of only few kit lenses I knew that taking proper photos handheld with them was difficult.  Didn't want to carry a tripod, which would have helped a lot though.  Decided to take only one lens, a 35mm f1.8 prime lens, which hopefully would give a bit more playground for a handheld photography.

Decision to wear rubberboots proved to be right almost immediately after leaving the Luukki parking lot. There seemed to be water everywhere in the forest, crossing nature paths here and there.

It did look so fresh green in the forest. Bright green. Fantastic view despite a miserable weather. As a matter of fact, it's been on my mind a long time of how to capture a badly looking view of nature into a photo. It seems to be a much more difficult task than always trying to take good looking nature photos.

As usual, there were lots of other people on nature paths, too. Families with children, with dogs, a group of blind people with their guided dogs, runners, speed walkers. You named it.

Below are some photos I captured there, which explain the state of the day and period as I saw it. Lack of tripod is quite visible in most of these photos (as well as a lack of proper lens). Changing a photographer was out of the question.

Walked map by GPS, some 10km route (view in a larger map):

Some photos

A self-portrait, in a bubble

Time for rubberboots

The state of usually dry mire

An ugly view, or is it?

A dark forest

Prepare to get your feet really wet soon

A flow

Haukkalampi pond

Threesome with a hiccup 

Erosion by human

Usually there's a walking path here

Wet wet wet

Haukkalampi pond

Autumn colours

Dead calm, almost

A lonesome tree

Still some left



A stream

Mustalampi pond

I did the same when I was a kid, so why not

On surface


10cm rapids

Into the dark forest

Inspiring colours

A modern outdoor highway

I can smell it

Spare parts

Waiting to save somebody

Into the dark waters

Have I told you I like ferns?

Lessons learnt; use a tripod and delay a mirror in your DSLR

A path

Birch trees look nice on every weather

A bit more water and I'll bring a kayak

14 October 2012

Two days paddling trip to Torra Lovo island

October 2012

(my 100th blog post)

Did a 24H sea kayaking trip to Torra Lövö island on Espoo archipelago, Finland.

Haven't been able to paddle at all during August and September due to some injuries. Have filled the gap by cycling, a lot more than usual. However, passion to go on the autumn sea has been there all the time. Sometimes one would wish there was a medicine called 'patience' at pharmacy.

Weather forecast promised really nice weather; chilly, no wind and some sunshine. Couldn't wish better.

Took an early start on Friday afternoon. Packed the kayak full of stuff. Probably would need a third of it. Lack of paddling trips, you see.

First 30mins felt a bit weird. Shoulders felt heavy. Decided to continue slow speed, something like 6km/h. After all, wasn't in a hurry anywhere. After 30mins the paddling started to feel quite normal, and soon, almost like there had't been any break at all. Boy it felt nice to be back on salty waters again!

It stayed a bit too cloudy. That meant it was quite dark, too. The sea was empty, not much people on boats, many species of birds were gone. Autumn foliage had arrived to the archipelago, too.

Didn't choose the direct route to the island. Instead, zig zagged around islands near by. As it had started to get darker and darker, decided to head towards the target, Torra Lövö island.

There was nobody. It was a rocky island, a hill top, some trees. It was quite near the coast. Towards east and south east one could see only the sea.

Set up the base camp, i.e. a tent, inflatable sleeping pad and a sleeping bag.  Temperature had dropped to +5C. No frost yet.

It was time to take some photos. Noticed soon that it was getting too dark to capture proper photos with lenses I had taken with me (bloody kit lenses!). What a shame.

Gourmet dinner was, I'd say, quite typical Finnish; grilled sausages on open fire, followed by some Lindt 85% dark chocolate. Mmmm ...

Small waves hit the shores and they put me into sleep.

I woke up at about 5AM. A motorboat was circling near the island pointing a bright light towards it. Heart started to beat faster. Heard some men talking. Shit, who were they? Why circling there and pointing a very bright light towards the island? Drug dealers? Surely they'd seen my kayak there. Heart beat kept rising. They landed on the northern shore. Talk. And off back to the sea, until soon they landed again now closer to my tent. Finnish talk. Two men walked a path near passing my tent. However, they didn't see it as it was too dark. They went to the northern part of the island. Well, it was a small island anyway. After some time didn't heard any talk. But there they were.

The sun was about to rise at about 8AM. Took my camera and silently slipped out from the tent and walked to the south end of the island. It was coming lighter although it stayed cloudy.  Concentrating on taking some photos clearly slowed down my heart beat. Couldn't capture sunrise as it stayed too cloudy.

Went back to the tent to prepare the breakfast. Suddenly a man with a rifle came via path directly towards my tent. He saluted me and said they were duck hunters (it was a hunting season). He wanted to come to say hello and warn if I'd hear gun shots.  Bird hunters. I laughed myself. Too much imagination at this time. Had a nice chat.

Breakfast was about scrambled eggs with some coffee. For the first time tried an instant coffee from Starbucks. Well, it was an instant coffee after all, not too much to say about it.

Unpacked all stuff and headed to the sea. Weather forecast predicted some sunshine. There was practically no wind at all. How come in October?

Circled a different route. Well, all these islands were familiar to me already, but they did look different now late in the autumn.

After arriving at the club house the GPS showed about 45km altogether. I was really glad I'd been able to do this trip after some break. Didn't feel exhausted which cheered me up even more.

Maybe one more overnight paddling trip later on this autumn ...

Paddled route anti-clock wise (view a larger map):

Some photos

Move away, you clouds!

Headlamp found two stones on the sea

The Base Camp on top of the hill


It's 8AM so must be the sunrise

French Roast coffee as always, this time an instant version of it

I am grateful to Ikea about their bags

Some people live on there, Cool!

A group of young swans with one of their parent

There were all sort of bridges

Autumn foliage show, free seats available

One autumn storm and it's gone

Willows, EOL

This island has attracted me for many years

Bye Bye Torra Lövö

Colours were nice

I do like Hellmanninkupu island

Wind's arriving

Ulko-Hattu island on its best

An Old meets A New

Arriving back at the civilization