Experiences out of circumstances on Ye Olde 5, part 1

Ye Olde 5 is the new Southern Konnevesi. At least as far as we’re concerned after realizing Konnevesi lakes were still completely frozen over. Plans change, you know.

Normally one could plan out serene kayak trips for Mother’s Day but since Spring had done a complete stand still, we decided against it.

And since we tend to make experiences out of any circumstances here in the wilderness guide school, this time was no different.

Ice had receded right after Vappu and we received our first few hour training. We left said training feeling a little insecure but we’d tackle Southern Konnevesi, right? It’ll be a breeze.

After Mother’s Day it was time for our light summer hike. After closely monitoring the ice situation and accepting that Konnevesi was not an option, we headed for the starting point of Ye Olde 5.

They really tested the limits of my willingness to put myself out there.

My previous experience limited to two to three hours of kayaking without actual teachings and as soon as we beached, I was thrown in the shoes of a guide.

That’s fine, I’ll get it done – a short briefing with the teacher, going through the basic moves and a bit of exercise and off we go! Ten points for excellent guidance and quick wit. He rubbed off on me, he said.

No one got wet when getting in the kayaks and everyone was going the right way, so we had that going for us.

Because most of us were mere beginners, only a few went down the first rapids (Survosenkoski) and others practiced on how to transport kayaks with milk carts.

Here’s our teacher going down the rapids.


Before the Cape Lylyniemi campsite we still had to cross the binding and that was easier said than done with the 4 meters per second winds. That sucks, by the way.

After what seemed like an eternity of headwind we finally made it to what can only be described as a forest fire waiting to happen. Twigs, twigs and you guessed it, more twigs.

The campsite was utterly and completely unkempt and full of rotten wood. Had I thrown a match anywhere in the area, the whole place would’ve gone up in flames.

Barely escaping a torn tent floor and after a hellish kayak day with schedules thrown out the window and hunger creeping in I pitched my tent in the shrubbery while by tent partner made dinner and fire. Elina, you’re a dear. She wasn’t in the best of moods herself but we’ve bonded in such a way that prevents us from exploding in each other’s faces.

During the input conversation no one wanted to give negative feedback. To no surprise to anyone, the day had been one to tell your kids about. Into the rapids with no experience, strong headwinds and a foreign means of transportation. The only thing that was missing was showers and someone tipping over. We all agreed on one thing though:

If they want to revive Ye Olde 5 as the top destination of tourism, someone needs to do something about these campsites.

The firepit was the only open space on the bank. The structures were old and fragile. The maps to the route were without fault, so no complaints there. Markings need a new coat of paint, however.

I’ll revisit this adventure on a later date since this was not all of it, no sir. I know it’s hard to believe but after a few days my memories of this experience had already turned to gold.

If I hadn’t faced a single obstacle, I would’ve already forgotten about it all.

Our kayak route went from Rantapirtti to Cape Varpaisniemi: Survosenkoski Rapids 1-2, overnight stay at Cape Lylyniemi, Luomenkoski Rapids, the day spent at Isohiekka, Väännenkoski Rapids, overnight stay at Runovirta, Cape Varpaisniemi




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