Forest enchantment in Leivonmäki National Park

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In the beginning of July we did a day trip to Leivonmäki National park. It’s a large forest and lake area about 2 hours drive from Helsinki, Finland. We decided to hike the Mäyränkierros trail which is a circular track that you can hike in about one hour.

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The forests was quite impressive place and the hiking tracks were in good condition. The capital area has also many forests where we go for hike, but there you can almost always hear distant sound of cars somewhere. In this national park the silence made the place enchanting.

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Seeing “beard moss” (‘naava’) grow on a tree is a guaranteed sign that the air is pure, as these lichen don’t grow in any polluted areas. They really do look like an old man’s beard don’t they?

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The trail had also duckboards through the more damp swamp areas. It was nice to have a lot of variety in the scenery. The trail passed also several small lakes.

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Forest offered also these tasty treasures, cloud berries (‘hilla’). It’s easy to understand where their English name comes from, because they do look like little clouds. These berries are highly valued in Finland and a traditional way to enjoy them is to eat them with “Finnish squeaky cheese”, which is specific kind of cheese made from cheese curd which is processed into flat-bread like cakes. The cheese makes a squeaky sound when you bite it.

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The forest also offers a glimpse into the history. There are glacial erratic, rock formations from the ice age.

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I was hoping to hear the nightjar (‘kehrääjälintu) singing, this national park is among the most significant territorial areas of this bird. Its singing resembles the the whir of a spinning wheel. Maybe next time!

 

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