Field Journal: Pyhä-Luosto National Park – Part 3

On our third and final day at Pyhä-Luosto National Park we once again found ourselves heading towards Isokuru and again I heard the cuckoo. Just like the previous days it tricked me again and I never did get to see it. We descended the same set of stairs we were becoming quite familiar with and turned left walking over the lichen covered boulders again. We followed the path toward Noitatunturi Fell, the highest peak of the Pyhä-Luosto fell chain at 540 meters. While I would have loved to see the view from the top of the fell our group opted for a less strenuous destination before the climb, a lake named Oravalampi. 

The path quickly became rocky with many foot-tripping roots and although it was level the walk was challenging. The landscape was similar to the early parts of our previous walks, pine forest with a lingonberry understory, and many boulders throughout. Some areas were more rocky than others and we encountered seemingly random piles of boulders in the forest. I enjoyed the boulders on this walk for a different reason. They still had lichens which I admired, but on this route I encountered many which had split in half. These large rocks were perfectly broken down the middle creating a deep crevasse where lichens and mosses grew into miniature gardens. Some were so narrow only a few lichens clung to the inside walls, but others were wide and low with an entire landscape between the rock faces. 

As we neared Oravalampi we found we had to walk over a metal boardwalk through a forested wetland area. The edges of the water were full of ferns and mosses, a positive jungle amid the more sparse pine forest. We found another set of buildings at the lake, one which was being used by fellow walkers to cook their lunch. All of the wood structures we encountered were in very good condition and obviously treated with respect. Throughout the Finnish national parks different types of huts are available for use. The ones we encountered were mostly open shelters with fire pits. One at Isokuru was available to sleep in and many had a structure filled with wood for making fires. They were such a welcoming and lovely thing to encounter in the wilderness.

We set about exploring the small lake edge where we found a frog. The lake was larger than the ones we had encountered the previous day in Isokuru Gorge, but similar in structure with rocky slopes leading into the water. The water appeared shallow and quite clear like the others we had visited. 

Returning the way we came I saw some birds acting like fledglings and watched them long enough to see they were brambling, white and black birds with an orange neck. As we neared the end I saw several birds on the path ahead which flew off as we approached. I let the rest of the group go on ahead while I turned and waited. The birds returned to collect some bread which had been dropped on the path. They were Siberian jays and I was thrilled to see them once more before leaving.

We followed a path out towards the main road and found ourselves walking along a roadside ditch. I noticed dozens of heath spotted orchids growing along the path and in the ditch. As I walked along the steep grassy slope I encountered a number of insects including many moths and a fly with very intricately patterned wings. Many different flowers were blooming in the ditch in addition to the orchids. I spent so much time photographing and watching the different insects and flowers I was left behind again and had to catch up.

Kelly Brenner
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Kelly Brenner

Kelly Brenner is a naturalist and writer based in Seattle. She founded and writes The Metropolitan Field Guide, a blog for ideas, thoughts and resources for the design of urban wildlife habitat and has contributed articles to a variety of other websites and publications.

Kelly has a certificate from the University of Washington in non-fiction writing. She continually takes classes and attends talks on various natural history topics. In 2009 she earned a bachelors degree in landscape architecture from the University of Oregon.

She's also an avid photographer focusing on the natural world.
Kelly Brenner
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