Day Two: Into the woods

Following the deep sleep that comes after sauna and swimming, we woke to Day Two at Hirvijärvi (Moose Lake) and a new range of activities.

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After breakfast, Heikki took us out on the lake in his row boat, something I have not done for years.

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It was a wonderful chance to have a peek at the other houses and cabins that circle the water’s edge.

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A chimney is a sign of a wood-fired sauna, down near the shore.

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Heikki rowed us across to Lemmenkallio (Love Rock) where we climbed for great views of the lake.

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On the way back he told us how he used to row with his grandfather to a nearby farm to buy fresh milk, which they would carry home in aluminium cans.

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Once back at the cabin we decided to venture into the woods, looking for signs of Moose Lake’s namesake.

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It wasn’t long before we came across moose droppings and further on in the soft moss, fresh moose tracks.

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Moose footprint

Moose footprint

The moss was amazing and I still marvel at how the ground cover regenerates each year after the long cold winters.

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The landscape is so different it somehow feels like being on the moon – if the moon was covered in moss – and is spongy to walk on.

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Although we didn’t spot any moose, we were soon joined by the local moose-flies, something that until then we had only ever heard about.

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Like a brown flat house-fly, they are parasitic insects that live on the blood of moose, elk and other bovine animals. Once landed, they shed their wings and burrow into the skin of their host. For humans this means they can be really difficult to remove from your hair and Miko and Jonathan soon donned hair nets to keep them away.

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I had to laugh because as much as I say I love nature, it did become a bit much for this city girl. Although you can take the girl out of the forest, would we be able to take the forest (& its inhabitants) out of us?

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As we left Hirvijärvi to head back to Helsinki, the rain started to fall and we were sorry to leave such an idyllic setting. However we left grateful for such an amazing weekend and the feeling of experiencing something of real Finnish life, flies and all.

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