Hiking around Sammalisto Lake and experiencing Finland’s woodland
After our adventure around Päijänne Lake, we headed to the highly densely forested area blessed by Sammalisto and Lapakisto Lakes lapping its shores, and here, as one of the highlights of my recent trip to southern Finland, we went for a scenic and revitalizing hike immersed in the untouched greenery part of Nastola, municipality of Häme region.
I was introduced to the great wilderness with a tree-lined boulevard, and sooner than expected I made my way in one of those rare places in Europe where you won’t hear any sign of modernity, maybe your phone ringtone if someone calls you, but seriously, if you make it all the way here, my bet is you don’t even want your phone to ring. Short after entering the woodland, I found just about the perfect spot for meditation, which I did for 15 minutes, possibly the most peaceful meditation session I’ve had so far, with only the sounds of nature around, be it fish and birds flitting across the water, tree leaves flickering in the wind or small undergrowth dwellers getting on with their activities.
Surrounded by an overwhelming pine tree scent which, according to a recent research, is apparently thought to limit climate change, and with a lake on one side, which can be in the form of water or ice, depending on the season, you can choose different trails, each properly marked with a different color, yellow, red, green and others. The yellow path, the one I did, runs around both lakes Sammalisto and Lapakisto (here a pdf map of the trails in case you are in Finland and feel like a hike in nature).
All trails, after an endless expanse of trees, the typical white vegetation punctuated with red berries that inevitably recalls Christmas decorations, and some moss-covered low passageways that, in all probability, are elves’ and fairies’ houses (if you ask me, I found entire villages), are next or surrounded by water, be it right on the lakes’ shores, smaller lakes and ponds scattered around and, overall, the widespread bog that describes pretty much the whole natural landscape and heritage in the region.
Our hiking trail was 3.8 km and takes about 2 hours. It’s suitable for every age, in fact we enjoyed the company of some local families having a break at one of the shelters with a bonfire place arranged for hikers to make their own coffee and grill some sausages, bread and cheese. This is pretty much all the alien sounds you can hear once further inside the forest, people chattering and dealing with bonfire tools.
The trail does include some minor hills, but it’s easy and very much suitable for adults and children alike. The only obstacles you will have to look out for are tree roots, old tree trunks that have fallen off, rocks and wet patches, which can be slippery and tricky.
Do we need more places like this? We totally do. We do because men really need to save what’s left of their primordial contact with nature, I would say our contact with the planet all together, that I feel we’ve been losing faster by the day. I’ve always liked nature, yet since I left home some 15 years ago I’ve always been a city slicker. I don’t even know how this happened, maybe because in a city everything is within an easy reach. Sure is, every time I get the chance to get away, I remember how easier is to breathe when I’m far from mental traffic and fast-paced daily routine.
If you are thinking about Finland and this trail sounds like your kind of thing, here are some practicalities you might find useful. You can reach the area by car up to Ahtialantie road, where you’ll turn right to Ohrapääntie road. After 1.3 km the road becomes Siltalantie road and, after another 1.7 km, Ristikankaantie road. From here it is 1.4 km before turning to Sammalistontie road from where the trail begins.
The starting point of the trail is at the beginning of Sammalistontie road, here is the address along with the GPS coordinates:
N60 59.288 E25 51.979
There are bus connections from Lahti, the closest main city, to the intersection between Ahtialantie and Ohrapääntie road, and then there are other 4.5 km before the starting point, so your best bet will be to either rent a car or take a taxi from Lahti. Here is a printable pdf with all the detailed information, useful links and a map.
Below are some more shots I took in the forest, I hope you enjoy and get the feeling of untouched beauty.
I was invited to this trip by Visit Finland and Outdoors Finland, as usual all opinions (and meditation tips) are my own. If you would like more information on this trail, either me or the guys at Outdoors Finland will be happy to help!