This summer I had the opportunity to kayak on the vast Lake Ladoga.
Our four person group crossed the border in Imatra and towards northwest Ladoga. All of that went smoothly, mostly because we didn’t have any equipment of our own.
Travel agency Tres Hombres and kayak rental firm Rentakayak.ru
I booked the trip from a small travel agency in Tampere specialized in nature experience – they call themselves Tres Hombres and I’ve worked with them before.
The planning and execution across the border was handled by a kayak firm Rentakayak.ru. We met with their representatives in Priozersk (former Käkisalmi).
Change of plans by Mother Nature
We drove to the starting point at the Vätikkä village in Kurkijoki municipality together. The idea was to spend five days kayaking in Ladoga and sleeping in tents.
Mother Nature, however, disagreed with our plans and poured constant heavy rain on us throughout our whole trip. So we decided to spend a few nights in rental cabins as well. The cabins were rented out by Lady Tamara and her husband.
Imagine our surprise when we found out Tamara spoke Finnish!
On the night of our arrival we set up shop, went to the sauna and started planning our route.
Fjords and small islands are typical for these parts of Ladoga, both offering plenty of shelter and pretty stuff to look at. Some of the islands are barren rock while some are completely covered by trees. The aftermath of the Asta storm was also very much present. This wonderful destination also offers lots of beautiful and long sandy beaches.. if only the weather would’ve favored us!
There were plenty of tent and rest stops but no official campfire spots. Or at least they weren’t kept by anyone.
But stone beds remind us of the past
Wartime history could be seen in the form of old defense stations, in addition to evacuated foundations of villages and houses. This place was truly beautiful.
I can see in my mind’s eye my own parents having to leave this world behind.
Ringed seal of Ladoga, an endangered inhabitant on Europe’s largest lake
Our daily trips were 23 to 30 kilometer due to the horrid weather. This allowed us to familiarize ourselves with the landscape and enjoy lunch on the beach or on board. We were lucky to encounter an animal spotter’s wet dream, the ringed seal Njerpa!
The dark, googly eyed creature made quite an impression on us all and it made me smile to see it lying on the rocks.
Ladoga feels like an ocean and is, in fact, the 13th largest lake in the world, hosting nearly 600 islands. A 5 to 8 meters per second wind raises a completely new kind of wave, when comparing to Lake Keitele or Päijänne.
A thurderstorm came upon us while we were in our tents. We kept guessing how far it was and it was pretty damn close. But before long we tucked ourselves in and fell asleep safe and sound.
Package solution: what was included in the price?
In addition to all the gear and tents, the price included food and instructions – so perfect for a vacation trip! They offer a whole bunch of options, including canoes!
They also offer rental cabins for more comfort-seeking needs with equipment sheds and everything!
Also also, you can choose just the equipment and make your own adventure.
And don’t let me started with their superb customer service!
The owner spoke fluent English, reacted swiftly to emails, they took vegan diets into consideration, everything was high quality and you could feel their enthusiasm towards the sport! The guides were professional, kind and seasoned.
And what is more relaxing than walking to a full table, having someone else pitch your tent and the only burden is the paddle.
For a Finnish DIY gal like myself it was pretty confusing at first but it grew on me!
So if you want to experience a kayak trip to Ladoga, their trekking season continues all the way until October!
Photos by: Mikhail Maletkin