Monday, 29 October 2012

Jyväskylä: Sallaajärvi nature trail

Sallaajärvi nature trail is located a couple of kilometres south-west (and uphill) from Jyväskylä city centre, following Ronsuntaipaleentie road towards Taka-Keljo. It is easiest to find the starting point if you turn right to Taka-Keljontie, following the sign to Sallaajärven palvelukoti. If you look closely, you will see the wooden "Luontopolku" (nature trail) sign on your right just before there is a (second) sign to Sallaajärven palvelukoti to the left. There is no parking lot so it it would be easiest to park your vehicle if you arrive by bicycle. And thanks to the uphill journey to arrive here, the reward is an easy ride back to town.
Maakuntaura refers to Central Finland Provincial Trail which is a hiking trail / cross country skiing track across the province of Central Finland. The trail was first marked some decades ago but it hasn't remained well marked in all areas that it passes through. It is delightful to see that I have once again discovered another marked stretch of this trail - it partly follows the same route as the Sallaajärvi nature trail.
Sallaajärvi nature trail is not a long one. The official route is only a little over 1.5 kilometres. However, this is not entirely flat area; Taka-Keljo area is known for being hilly. I enjoy the autumn colours at the beginning of the trail. The yellow will soon turn to brown.
The route is marked with yellow paint. This area is called aarnialue, referring to primeval forest which has not been logged. I enjoy the sound of silence under the trees. There are no cars around. At this time of the year there are hardly any birds either but it is not totally quiet: I can hear a small brook.
Although there has been no logging, it doesn't mean that no trees ever fall down. There was a very fierce storm in August 2010 which raged also at Sallaajärvi area and took down many tall trees. Since this is a conservation area, only those trees that have fallen across the trail have been cleared away.
Compared to some other nature trails, Sallaajärvi trail is very well marked and you don't need to carry a map with you. Polku means a path.
There is a slight drizzle in the air and the atmosphere in the forest is quite special on this late afternoon. I can finally hear some birds but they are no great singers: a couple of ravens are flying past.
The soft green moss shines strong and beautiful across the forest. Unfortunately I can't distinguish any of my favourite (edible) mushrooms under the trees. They would have been a welcome sight, something to take home for dinner.
Some of the old spruces look more unique than others. I single out this one - or is it one tree or two in one? She seems to be cradling a toddler on her arms.
I meet yet another small brook. To be accurate, in Finnish this is called noro (a smaller brook in which water is not flowing constantly and in which fish may not be able to swim) whereas I would simply lable it as puro which is the usual word for any little brook. I admit it is hard to imagine fish swimming there, so deep in the forest and in such shallow water.
The nature trail climbs up to 190 meters (above sea level) but it doesn't pass the highest point in Taka-Keljo  which is a neighbouring hilltop called Pirttimäki, 249 m. This is ancient dry land: after the Ice Age was over, the water level reached up to 153 meters from current sea level so the seashore used to be much lower than where I am now.
I meet more and more trees that fell down in the "Veera" storm in 2010. The storm took them down violently, snapping quite a few of them in two.
Next, the path descends a pretty steep hillside and soon I find myself at a clearing. There is a simple table and benches at which to take a break but you are not allowed to make a fire here.
The blue ribbon tied around the tree tells that I am again at Central Finland Provincial Trail. My path is already turning back to where it started from.
After a dry spell, I again feel tiny drops of rain fall on my face and the sky seems to be getting darker. It is getting later in the day and when I am walking beneath fir trees, there is not that much daylight left anyway.
Finally, I say goodbye to the spruces and arrive at an area with more light. The birches have been practically stripped of their leaves which now cover the wet ground. When I am cleaning my shoes at the end of the trail I once again stop to think how come walking the same distance may take only a moment in the city but here in the forest it takes not just minutes, but easily more than an hour.

A good way to get lost is not to lose the track, just track of time.


  1. Looks like a nice and peaceful walk out.
    I love the Finnish Luontopolku's

  2. They are great - and can be found in so many places around Finland, close to you.