Koskikara Zen

We’ve driven by this place so many times on our way to Leivonmäki National Park. We’ll never make that mistake again. This place deserves a stop.

The Koskikara trail takes off across the road passing Rutalahti school. It’s along the scenic drive from Jyväskylä – when going through Rutalahti village to the Selänpohja parking lot of the Park. The very same parking lot we’ve left our car on trips one, two and three.

I noticed that on the village’s website they post updates about whether or not it’s safe to traverse the trail. So make sure to check the site out before you decide to visit.

The first view to the trail atop the stairs leading to it is stunning. First you cross a small creek to the open fairy-tale woods where a nice cooking cote and woodshed. The roaring of the nearby rapids might make one feel drowsy.

We enjoyed a nice meal in the cote. A serving of sausage soup in the food thermos so we didn’t need to make a fire but there was more than enough logs in the shed for that as well.

The actual trail starts off with a large bridge going across the rapids of Ruhajoki. So the biggest and loudest one is right at the beginning. But fear not, it’s not the only one on the trail. But it does begin and end with this particular one.

After the rapids you enter the pine woods where snow lights the openings and the grey of November darkens the rest. This place probably looks completely different in the Summer. Green moss is clearly visible through the dominant lack of color.

From the woods to the river. This is where the Zen begins.

Even though I know the current is strong, the surface looks completely motionless and I can even see the rocks and fallen trees underneath. The only thing breaking the silence is the water falling from the branches.

The silence is bliss and I feel mesmerized by the river. The trail goes along it for a good while and I think even on the worst of moods I’d feel at peace here.

There’s another spot later on where the calm river turns into rapids again. You could take the bridge crossing it to get to the Soimalampi lean-to (the very same one we spent our first Winter night outdoors) but this time around we stayed on the Koskikara trail.

The rest of the trail goes through the woods and is riddled with rocks and boulders. Needless to say, I like it. The trail makes a circle and goes back through the fairy-tale woods and across the first bridge.

On the way back I spotted a set of chairs near the river. Imagine a wedding or a birthday photo taken here!



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