Monday, 8 April 2013

Laukaa: Scenic Hyyppäänvuori

I just can't imagine a more beautiful day for a snowshoeing trip! My destination is a hilltop which some have claimed to be the equivalent of the famous Koli (of North Karelia) in the province of Central Finland. Hyyppäänvuori hill is located on the southwestern shore of lake Lievestuore in Laukaa and it rises to 171 meters above sea level. There are more than one path leading to its top; I select the shorter, unmarked one via Ruoholahdentie, being lucky in finding a place to park (for there really isn't parking available) by the side of the road only a little distance away. Also, finding the unmarked trail is easy because there are some footprints in the snow leading to the right direction.
Climbing to the top of Hyyppäänvuori is very good excercise. The path winds up the steep hill slowly but surely and I feel almost sorry for the cross-country skier who has also gone up the same way. When I am close to the top, I also encounter the marked trail which joins my path from the west.
Parts of Hyyppäänvuori area are also parts of a nature reserve maintained by Metsähallitus. As I'm out here without a map, having arrived here by following instructions only, it's great to see where exactly I am on the map as well as where the marked trail would have been (had I known about it!). Good to know for the next visit which might well take place when the snow is gone.
Well, I must say the view isn't too bad. Not bad at all. The view must be one of the best in Central Finland. And  there is no need for an observation tower because there are no trees blocking the panorama and there is a sheer drop right in front of me.
The lonely, grey pine tree strikes a weary pose for me. I stand still in the snow for a long time, gazing the blue-tinted view around me, and hear no sound, not even from a distance.
The other handsome, already grey or slowly greying pine trees may not be hundreds of years old but they are charming just the way they are. Let me think - there was also supposed to be a cave around here. It must be somewhere beneath me.
I take care in descending the rocky slope in my snowshoes and hope that I won't miss the cave; I have no idea how big or small it could be. Once I'm safely down, I start following the rocks and it seems pretty promising. I wonder if that can already be labeled a cave?
A couple more steps and... No doubt about it, this is a proper cave and it's easy to enter it, without needing to wriggle in through a tiny hole. I can well imagine someone must have slept here, safe from the wind and the rain. I guess these days this is not meant to be used for spending a night here... and making a fire in this area is forbidden.
I climb back up the hill and rejoin the trail that goes round the scenic Hyyppäänvuori, giving a view to almost every direction. If you are visiting Hyyppäänvuori and don't want to go down and visit the cave, you can also get a temporary shelter by sitting under the large rock by the path. Again, making the fire is forbidden and there is no fireplace offered here, unlike in many other nature trails. It is quite understandable because this gorgeous area had better stay as it is!

I walk down the hill with a light step, choosing a different shortcut to the road in my snowshoes now that I know the way. Hyyppäänvuori may not be the equivalent of Koli, and Lake Lievestuore doesn't exactly equal the huge lake Pielinen in North Karelia, but to me Hyyppäänvuori is now definitely among the most scenic spots in Central Finland. I hope to return here in the summer!

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