Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Jyväskylä: Mämminiemi by Lake Päijänne

Mämminiemi is a recreational area about 24 kilometres south from Jyväskylä - by road. Typically, many people arrive there by boat because Mämminiemi is located on Lake Päijänne, the second biggest lake in Finland. I've been here only once before, in the summertime, by boat. This time there's no other way to get here but by car because I'm not in the mood for cycling here and back today!
We park close to the gate of the private road although the gate is open. You never know when someone with a key could close it. It means a short, less than 2 km walk to Mämminiemi. The narrow road is clear but there is still plenty of snow in the woods around us.
The forest next to the road has been planted, you can tell... The trees are there in unnaturally straight lines. There are beautiful birches and spruces, forming corridors.
Reaching the last Mämminiemi sign, we leave the gravel road and follow the snow-covered trail to the right. The closer we get to the shore, the less snow there seems to be. The rocks have had their share of the sun on this side of the lake.
There are some impressive rocks around us - remains from thousands of years ago, from the Ice Age.
There is a narrow stretch of beach that is no longer covered in snow but the Lake Päijänne is still frozen solid. However, I wouldn't count on how solid the ice is here and there, because there can be currents that make the ice weak in unexpected places. You definitely don't want to risk it. Also, the ice is already weaker close to the shore.
If you arrive here by boat (once the lake is no longer frozen!) you are greeted by the wooden sign of Mämminiemi that faces the lake.
The pier is strong and large enough for larger boats as well. The bollards are leaning sideways. It looks like the ice is going to start melting soon.
The tall, grey wooden bollards serve only those with a boat that is large enough; if you arrive here on a kayak, you had better paddle to the shore...
It is worth it to climb up to the the rocks above the pier for the view to the lake. You can also take a break and sit down at a wooden table and benches on the top. The droppings on the ground tell that a couple of elks must have paid a visit here as well recently. For the view, perhaps?
There are more rocks on the slope leading to the shore. This is such a great spot to enjoy a great day out! However, if you want to make a fire, you'll have to get down to the marked spots.
Jyväskylä city is taking good care of Mämminiemi. There is plenty of firewood available and some kind souls - previous visitors -  have left a neat ready-to-use pile to dry out in the sun. We choose the sunniest place on the shore for making our fire.
Is there anything nicer on a spring day like this than to sit out here in the sun, by the fire, have a bite to eat and a good chat...
Before leaving Mämminiemi, I visit the northernmost place of the area, towards Hauhonselkä on Lake Päijänne. The view is stunning already now, so you can imagine what it will look like a month or two later, when the lake is glittering blue. There are some droppings by a black grouse on the rocks so if you are here in May you might hear them making their mating calls...

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