Would you spend the night in the woods with me?

Your favorite outdoor life coach is back again! Let us return to early Autumn and to school week number two.

My teacher sent us a message via Wilma that we’re going on an overnight hike to Isojärvi National Park on Tuesday. We decide on a route, a place to stay and at least one meal as a group. We could even borrow equipment from the school.

My mind raced through several ideas. I had a bad case of excessive enthusiasm, having to getting to make plans where they choose the best one. Like a competition!

I basically had two major plans.

Long way around – 20 kilometers in total in two days time, marked trails with meals by the fire and maybe renting a boat to get across the water. The Heretty-Kalalahti-Heretty route. It’s the kind of hike I’d personally love to go on.

Short way around – back and to Vahterjärvi Lake without backpacks, surveying the nature and all that. Similar to what we did as rookies. Total length: 11 kilometers.

I googled more information about the area. One good one was hiking to the Vahterjärvi lean-to and going around the nearby routes without baggage. Unfortunately we didn’t have two whole days and that “something special” was missing.

Then I discovered a Retkipaikka destination right next to the Park itself: the caves of Valkulamminvuori! So I suggested a hike to Vahterjärvi, spend the nigh there and take a detour to the caves.

In total, it would be about 11 kilometers long + three more with the cave detour. We’d practice our map reading skills and learn how to use the compass.

To help you better understand, here’s a screenshot of what I had in mind for the hike:


This is enough for a suggestion but for the actual plan you need a detailed map of the area.

Shot down completely

As soon as I was done presenting the idea to my teacher on Monday, he turned it down on the spot.

No. There’s not enough time.

The pace can’t be more than 1-2 kilometers per hour when traveling with a large group. And our main focus is in outdoor cooking at the moment. My suggestion was better fit for more experienced hikers.

Had this plan gone to fruition with actual clients, it would’ve lead to hunger, anger and hurry. Which in turn, would’ve increased the chance of injury and/or mistakes.

Eventually we spent the night at the Kuorejärvi Lake lean-to but before we got there, we did in fact visit the caves of Valkulamminvuori. I wanted to share my original plan with you guys, since I want to make it happen one day!

Most importantly: what did I learn?

Less kilometers, more wiggle room in the schedule. A large group moves slowly.

Leave time for cooking.

Find out what the demographic of your group is. My original plan was for a group of wilderness guides, since I didn’t know I was supposed to construct it for potential clients.



Luontoon.fi – Isojärvi

The story about the caves in Retkipaikka.

The map to the caves.

Photos from an earlier trip to the Park.

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