Welcome to Lapland (3.)

About this day

This day will be very short. Nothing special has happened. Really. It was one of those quite boring days. We didn’t see anything and route was boring. You can skip to next day, if you want. But I feel the urge to describe even such a boring day.

 

Despair? Happiness?

This all day was filled with happiness on one side and total despair on the other side. At morning, we started our journey to the Kulasjoki river in hope we will be able to cross it. Road lead there and on the other side of river from there. So, it should be possible. And for having it more fun, my boyfriend started to be sure, he got cold.

We started our journey on the small path (same kind as an animal one) and went through the forest. Sometimes it went in more possible ways, but all those ways were going back together after some time. We didn’t want to risk, so we tried to hold the straightest one.

At the one small river (other one), we had to go back, because we didn’t want to end “somewhere”. On the other side the road didn’t continue. And it was very small river. We went back and continued with another path. We had to go back. This kind or routes are not very visible if you are in the forest. Especially, if you are below them (in the slope). Don’t risk, just go back. Next one led exactly not through the swamp, but only through that small river and continued to the other side of the river. It was tricky, but we had some snow on the roads and all of them were visible. Everything around was green, orange, brown etc. but the road was purely white.

26

Roads

We were wondering, if we will have about 10 cm of snow, anything will be visible. And this route wasn’t marked. It might be little bit dangerous to have so small amount of snow. You can see something, but not enough to be on a right way.

After very short time we arrived to a highway. At least we felt it like highway. It was normal forest way, wide for a normal car. Road, you simply can’t miss. We went on this way to the border of national park. And it was so much easy to go on this road! And fast!

I realized how useful is to know some Finnish basics (again). We knew exactly, where the national park ended (signs) and where we entered it again. And what was on that sign next to the gate. My boyfriend was suspecting me from lying, but I told him, we only must close the gate, when we enter, nothing more. It was something like: “You are not absolutely sure, are you?” But I was sure. Yes, I was completely certain about only one word on this three-word sign and second one was just clear.

What should it mean? Well, when I learned Latin and I was sure I know the meaning, I usually forget about the endings in words, which can easily change meaning of whole sentence (same in Czech). But on three-word sign, where was obviously “Close the gate.”? (To be honest, I’ve read about the behaviour around the gates and why are the gates here, some time before.)

27

Crossing the river

We went through. Same nice road again. We arrived to the river. Just to see how big mistake we did. We were completely sure; this will be problem. So, we checked all maps again (including that GPS one). We had only short part of the river to try find a shallow place for crossing the river.

My boyfriend went short way next to it and watched if it is possible to cross it. It didn’t look well. Sometimes more than 50 cm of water. And stream too strong for going with heavy backpack on slippery big rocks. We took our bags and went against the stream to the swamp. Frozen swamp is safe one (almost). And there wasn’t much peat, it was just a normal wet place, where the river once was.

It was heavy terrain. All those grass clusters were about 30 cm higher than wet ground and they were all around. At least it was soft ground cover, but little bit harder to have balance, sometimes. And going just on the edge of the swamp having it only one small step to the river… Ground had our full attention. Boring journey and hard terrain are reasons for lack of photos.

All the time we were hoping to find some place, we were looking for and we looked to another new meander with real hope. In places where we weren’t sure how deep the water is, we used stick. But water was crystal clear only with dark rocks on bottom. For the first time, I thought I can’t “read” the river despite I spent some time with kayaking and rafting (not much and with different types of river – and I was a kid).

I started to reminisce how the water looks not only in books and from the shore, but from the boat. How it behaves. And it all began to be visible. I saw the stream and where the deep and shallow places will be.

28
Kulasjoki in its whole widht (stream goes from right to the left).

Shallows

We found one very wide place with some isles. It was great! Wider river usually means shallower water. We stopped there, put our bags on the ground. My boyfriend went close to the river and watched it. I tried to go to those isles, it was easy. Only to realize, it won’t be that easy as it looked like. I stepped into the river and I saw the stream. Where it goes. Where it is strong and where not. And I tried those places with slower stream.

I went there. Carefully. Those rocks weren’t that much slippery as I expected. Somewhere I was balancing only on those unstable stones and tried to figure out, if is good to step into the water. Our shoes were high, but stepping into the strong stream means having water much higher (because of that stream).

So close. I was almost there on the other side, without a backpack. It was like dancing. Step here, watch out, be aware, step there, turn and again. Every time I was close to the opposite side I saw that strong stream with a deeper water. If is safe to go there. With higher shoes and without the backpacks. The water can easily move our legs to bad direction, we can easily lose balance and if we fall in the water, it can be hazardous. Temperature was below zero and we had about 5-10 km to any direction for warm. Or few meters to fireplace, but I didn’t want to risk. If nothing else, it would be very annoying.

24

Considering our way

We tried to cross the river few times again and went about one kilometre along it in a swamp. It was hard and demotivating. We were thinking. One of the options was taking some wood in the river, but it is not considered as okay and closest wood was about 30 m away through the swamp. And we found tributary. Deep one with strong stream. After some trying and searching, we gave up and went back to the road. It was relief. For both of us.

Thinking about where to go, how to solve our problem. Closest bridge was 10 km away from us. We didn’t want to go back to the same hut. But other solutions were going like 20 km from here with heavy terrain. It was clear. We gave up and went back to the same hut we left this morning, back to Kivipää.

But the road back was all the time uphill and we were little bit tired from going in the swamp. It took us lot of time and it was exhausting and depressive. When we joined back to that small path in a forest, it was like a small victory. But after while we still weren’t even closer to the end of it and we started to think if it is same road. I looked closely to the surroundings. For the first time, we crossed that similar small river.

25
This is only toilet and place for wood.

What if they don’t want us there?

We still weren’t there. Where is the end? I couldn’t recognize those trees and I am usually good at it. I am orienting by trees in a nature – normally. Obviously, I didn’t pay much attention to them on the way before. After some long time (at least for us it was like eternity) I started to be very insecure. My worries were supported by my boyfriend. We thought we are too far and we took bad route. I looked closely to the path. I could recognize there some footsteps. Fresh ones in opposite direction. Our footsteps. We were still on a good route, but time was slow and were tired.

I couldn’t stand that tension and we looked to the GPS map. We are close. Only few hundred meters. After that, I almost started to run. I was just happy when I saw those buildings. It was just great. Most of the time I was looking on the ground and when I heard noise of reloading weapon I’ve got shock. I looked up, but continued my way. Again. But now I saw it. Just before the hut stand man with two dogs running around, holding shotgun. I started to be nervous. Just a few milliseconds after that, he just “broke” his shotgun to the save position and put it next to the door and went to the lake.

One of those dogs run to me with happy expression. It sniffed me and licked my hands. I scratched it on the neck. Run around me and there to the lake. Second one only sniffed me. There were another people sitting at the fireplace outside.

We just went inside and sat there on a bench. I wasn’t sure what should we do. This night we obviously won’t be alone. That man came in and asked to something. I don’t remember. First time he was speaking Russian, after that English (and after that, he left this place). I exactly don’t remember that boring evening, but we went to sleep at 7pm absolutely destroyed.

P.S.: This was shorter post. It has only 2,5 A4 pages. I thought it will be shorter.

P.P.S.: I am starting to feel weird. Not only I need semantic dictionary for English (more than dictionary) but I started to truly need grammatical rules for writing in Czech. Even there I have reserves.

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