As I mentioned in the previous post I’ve been doing more overnight trips than usually. About a week ago a good friend of mine, lets call him P, asked if I’d have time for a weekend overnighter to Repovesi National Park. Even though I’ve been living only about an hour’s drive away from the park I’d been there only in winter so I thought it would be about the time to pay a visit in summer as well.
The Repovesi is a small 15 sq km national park located in South-East Finland near Kouvola. (Detailed information is available from the always useful Outdoors.fi pages.) It offers varying terrain, great scenery and good infrastructure: well established trails with good markings, plenty of established camp fire sites, wells for drinking water and some rental shelters. This of course makes the park very popular and often even crowded, something I don’t enjoy much. Our overnighter happened to be on weekend with awesome weather which meant a lot of people but it was also the graduation weekend in Finland which should hold down the hoards of backpackers hitting the park.
After sleeping in way too long on Saturday, doing some last minute shopping and driving to Repovesi me, N and P started the trip in the afternoon from Lapinsalmi parking area. There were quite a lot of cars but no queue to the hanging bridge which was a good sign. We didn’t have a detailed plan, nor a detailed map, for the trip. The general idea was to do a round-trip following the trails towards North and visit all the scenic places on the way, camp somewhere at the end the day and then return to the car the next day.
On the first half of the day we got to enjoy plenty of cumulative height gain as there happens to be quite a lot of rocky hills on the area. Hilltops offered great views on the small lakes and the seemingly endless forests. All hill tops are basically worth a visit when weather is good. At Kuutinkanava (a wooden conduit built for floating logs back in the days when there were logins on the area) we had a nice coffee break (with cake!) utilizing my Bushbuddy stove as open fires were prohibited. After the coffee break we walked some more on trails and occasionally off-trails visiting the tower at Mustalamminvuori hill for some more views before continuing to last major sight on our route, the Olhavanvuori.
Mustalamminvuori tower on the right, Olhavanvuori hill in the middle.
At Olhava we met several groups of topless men with shiny stuff dangling below the waist… And with that, I mean climbers. The 50 meter high vertical walls of Olhavanvuori offer probably some of the best rock climbing in Finland and thus the area is often populated with climbers, especially on a good weekend like this. Rock climbing is only allowed at the Olhavanvuori though the whole park is littered with nice rock faces… We let the climbers keep the vertical stuff and took a detour on top of the hill for some more scenery and a nice break on the top. For most of the day a slight breeze kept the bugs away and made going pleasant. Olhavanvuori is worth a visit even if you’re not a climber. It’s an impressive piece of rock with good views.
Did I mention w-i-d-e trails in the title? This one is actually a road.
Climber populated camping area at the base of Olhavanvuori.
Continuing to North-East from Olhavanvuori we found a scenic camp spot at a small headland called Sukeltajaniemi and as it was already around 8.00 pm we decided to camp there. N stayed at the camp pitching the tent to shelter us from the bugs while me and P walked some 900 meters (one way) to a well at Saarijärvi parking area to refill our water bottles. It was quite obvious we hadn’t drunk enough during the day: nearly +30C and lots of ups and downs calls for a lot of water and I was till in the “winter mode”. Luckily this was easily solved by drinking more.
Back in the camp we prepared a hearty three-course dinners. One of the advantages of light kit is that you can carry quality food – and some wine to go with it. Bruschettas with Spanish style antipasti and read wine turned out to be a great starters also in the woods. I’ll be definitely packing more of that over the summer. For the main course we had some nice slowly cooked soup and to make up the lighter main course we had pancakes with cloudberries and whipped cream. Unfortunately the cream hadn’t liked the heat of the day and immediately turned quite butterish, but was still totally edible. Next time I’ll have to pack it inside the sleeping bag with something cold…The Bushbuddy stove provided an atmospheric little camp fire and also helped to fend of some of the bugs that returned as the wind died.
It doesn’t get darker than this. No need for headlamp.
After staying up late we didn’t set alarms for the morning. And just as expected, the sun woke us up in the morning and the body yearned for a morning swim! (Even with the both ends of the Anjan 3 tent were rolled up, it’s still quite warm in direct sunshine with three people inside.) After a relaxed morning of swims and breakfast it was time to continue.
We followed the trail at the Eastern edge of the National Park South towards Tervajärvi visiting the cool rocky ravine at Kirnukangas. Worth a visit as well. The trails on the Eastern parts are little smaller and less populated but still clear and easy to follow. At Tervajärvi we had one more swim and noticed that N’s Suunto watch had dropped on the way. It was hanging from the shoulder strap of her pack and had probably snagged against a tree and dropped. We backtracked a while trying to look for it but didn’t have luck and returned back to Lapinsalmi crossing the Kapiavesi with a ferry.
All in all, it was yet another great little overnighter with good company, great weather and delicious food. The Repovesi was a positive surprise: it doesn’t have the feel of a real wilderness in it, but the scenery is beautiful and the ups and down offer also some challenge for walking. You can still find peaceful and quiet spots even on the trail side and going off-trail is also allowed and would definitely get you away from the crowds, but also away from the major sights which are all worth visiting. Maybe next time…
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Psst! If you’re confident with your navigation skills and intend to only or mostly follow the trails at Repovesi you can probably get away with just the pdf trail map available for free from here.
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And for those interested, more photos available (for free!) from here!