24-May-2003 -- (Visited by Matti Rahkala et. al.)
The confluence point N 68 E 29 was accessible. I, My daughter Maria-Katariina and my friend Jyrki Huhtaniska decided to get there after the snow melted at the end of May. We drove almost 300 kilometers by car through Lappland. With help of GPS navigator and digital roadmap (pic#2) on laptop PC we succeeded in choosing the right way. For the last fifty kilometers there was a gravel road where we met only a couple of cars in the entire day.
There were numerous reindeer (pic#3) in the roadside eating fine grass. Especially the yearlings’ behaviour is unpredetable. We had to brake for them many times, one of them a full emergency stop with locked tires. The technical navigation devices were less pleased with jerky brakedowns. On the gravel road we drove after a reindeer herd. They cannot be passed because the animals will run in front of the car.
The number of wild hen birds (pic#4) was said to be exeptionally high this year. On the road we saw also eight capercaillies gathered to fight in the mating time. In addition, there were numerous hares in their dark summer coat.
Our target is situated in the U.K.K.’s National Park (pic#5) which is named after the former president of Finland. The place is unhabited wilderness, ten kilometers west of the border between Finland and Russia. We followed a trail trough the park starting from the frontier river. There were duckboards crossing the moor. A nice river meandered between high hummocks covered with the grass of last summer. The hummocks grow a bit every year, because there are persistent frost in the peat inside. During one hour’s walk we saw the game of the wilds.
While trying to photograph an elk, a hen capercaillie took off straigt from our feet. While bilateral confusion, the elk ran away to the bushes. Only the sour smell revealed his presence somewhere there.
Near the path, there were a black grouse in the forest announcing us aloud that we had better get out of his territory. And off we went. A willow grouse had been seen, too, but the geese had only left a feather on the path as evidence of their visit.
We crossed a fen by footbridge (pic#6). The width of the fen was about a kilometer and the scenery was ruggent on both sides of it: Distant fells seemed blue in the sunshine. Great parts of the hillsides had a snowy covering even even with only one month to the midsummer. One of these fells is called Korvatunturi (i.e. Ear Fell in Finnish). Traditionally, it is said to be the home of Santa Claus. However, he won’t give any audience because the fell is situated in the border zone. Going there is possible with a special permission only. The Cold war might be over, but our eastern border is still strictly prohibited area.
Our target was near the great fen. The fen had already been thawn a little so that the fresh scent of wet moss could be perceived. The ground frost began at the depth of ten centimeters. There were gorgeous dead barkless standing pines here and there in the forest. There were tree lichen growth everywhere in the birch branches. The leaves were in bud.
The confluence point was in the middle of nowhere. We followed reindeer paths over a soft mossy ground flora. After hiking 500 metres in the virgin forest we arrived there.