West of Haapaniemi, Vaajakoski there’s an island called Haapasaari. One of Jyväskylä’s Nature Walks goes around the rim of it.

We have yet to visit it during Winter but last Summer we went for a little run. Back in those days I wasn’t fit to run the whole way but a sprint here and there was good enough.

The Walk was marked with red…hearts? I remembered them being triangles or dots but as you can clearly see, it’s a heart!

The flora and fauna of Haapasaari flourished in Summertime, thanks to the deciduous forest. Light cascaded between the leaves, even though the beginning of the Walk was a bit dark and the cool air was filled with mosquitoes. It had rained for some time before our trip, so mud was expected. That was only for a small part of the Walk, the rest of it was dry and easy terrain (save for the very end, which consisted of rocks and pebbles and you needed to watch your step).

No matter which direction you choose to take, you end up at a camp site on the west coast. Officially you’re meant go counter-clockwise and because it’s a fairly popular jog trail, you should abide by it. The island itself is a mere 200 meters wide and a kilometer long, so the Walk the long way around is about 2,7 kms. The island being so narrow, you can hear every speedboat whizz by.

The starting point can be approached by bike or by taking the local bus number 1 – stay on it until the very last stop of Pellonpääntie, just before the road diverts to Noukanniementie. From there it’s still about 800 meters of walking before you’re there. Should you choose to go by car, there are a few parking spots near the starting point. To get there, you need to stay on Haapasaarentie and cross a small bridge into the island. A detailed map and directions can be found from the city’s website.  I usually take a picture of the starting point to remember it by, not to mention checking if the markings are lacking in clarity. Most of the time everything is in tip top shape but I’m just one of those people who likes to be thorough.

Haapasaari is a nice day trip destination and suited for the wee lads and lassies of the family as well. We had just come back from our trip to California and we didn’t want to go too far from home on Midsummer Week. So in addition to Haapasaari, we watched a bonfire on Lehtisaari island. A smooth transition from the mountains of Yosemite! Speaking of, you’ll be reading about all of that and more soon, even though words and photos don’t do them justice. You had to be there.

-Anne

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