Trip to Suomenniemi

I made a trip to Suomenniemi in Mikkeli with my mother. There are two nature trails there that we wanted to see. We also went to Kärnäkoski Fortress in Savitaipale.

The photos can be enlarged by clicking.

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On the way there

On the way, we turned from road 381 to road 15. I noticed a helicopter on the yard of a gas station next to the junction, and we made a U-turn and went to see it. On the net I found out that it was bought from Russia by the previous owner of the gas station in 1999. It was brought to Finland in parts using three trucks, because they couldn’t get permission to fly it across the border. After reassembly they made a test flight, and after that it has only been a decoration.

A general view and my mother checking the helicopter out.

Cockpit and cargo hold.

Rotor head, wheel being buried by grass, and rotor blade that rubs against a birch tree.

Sockets on the side, and the tail.

Next to the helicopter there was a meadow with at least ox-eye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare), red clover (Trifolium pratense) and yarrow (Achillea millefolium). Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) and goat willow (Salix caprea) were trying to camouflage the helicopter.

Saarajärvi nature trail

Our first actual stop was Saarajärvi nature trail in Suomenniemi. There were an old telephone box and a bed frame on the parking area. Judging by the text on it, the phone box had served as a fitting room somewhere.

The grass at the start of the trail was long and wet, and it made our trousers and shoes wet. The trousers dried fairly quickly, but the socks stayed moist for longer.

The trail was marked with both this kind of signs and sometimes with just arrow signs. Not every crossing had them and it was good to check the direction on a map every once in a while.

There were heath spotted orchids (Dactylorhiza maculata subsp. maculata) here and there beside the trail. In the first photo they can be seen so poorly that I marked each one with a red dot, so that it would give at least some kind of idea of their number.

Silver-studded blue (Plebejus argus) or northern blue (Plebejus idas), and pearl-bordered fritillary (Boloria euphrosyne) or small pearl-bordered fritillary (Boloria selene). These similar looking butterflies are hard. I didn’t even get a photo of the underside of the wings of the fritillary. There would be important markings there.

The trail goes across the yard of an abandoned-looking house. We peeked into an unlocked building.

In a couple of places we went to the shore of Lake Saarajärvi to see if we could swim, but none of the places were suitable for swimming. Here’s a view from a rocky hill at the shore.

Heath speedwell (Veronica officinalis).

Nature trail of Irja Hannonen

The parking area of the nature trail of Irja Hannonen is only a couple hundred metres from the parking area of Saarajärvi, so we didn’t even move the car. Irja Hannonen and her brother Eino lived here their whole life. Irja gave her property to her home town in her will, and a nature trail was made there. A part of the trail is in a nature reserve. Along the path there is forest, rocky hills, meadows, bog and lake shore.

The path is clearly marked with signs and ribbons hanging from trees (like the one at the top of this sign).

Right at the start of the trail I saw a plant I have wanted to see for a long time: water avens (Geum rivale) with a mutation. In this mutation, the development of the flower is disrupted so that it grows leaves instead of reproductive organs, or a new stalk with another flower, like here.

Rough hawkbit (Leontodon hispidus). I hadn’t seen this plant either, at least consciously.

Rocky shore and a wooden path over the rocks. On the opposite shore there was a nice-looking rocky hill. The wooden path was pretty old, but some new ones had just been built as well.

A triangle formed by tree trunks.

Common polypody (Polypodium vulgare) on a rock.

Wood horsetail (Equisetum sylvaticum) and common cow-wheat (Melampyrum pratense).

A damselfly (Coenagrionidae family).

Rannoch-rush (Scheuchzeria palustris, with fruits) and its habitat on the shore of Kissalampi pond. I hadn’t seen this plant before either. I couldn’t get better photos on the wet mossy shore of the pond.

Boggy forest near the pond and my mother on the wooden path.

When we came back to the start of the trail, I took some photos of the flowers beside the path. There are at least ground elder (Aegopodium podagraria), melancholy thistle (Cirsium heterophyllum), welted thistle (Carduus crispus), ox-eye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare), red campion (Silene dioica), yarrow (Achillea millefolium), tufted vetch (Vicia cracca) and field scabious (Knautia arvensis).

Kärnäkoski Fortress

The ruins of Kärnäkoski Fortress are located in Savitaipale. Russians built the fortress in the end of the 18th century to defend Saint Petersburg. Near the main fortress there is also a redoubt that goes by the name Mountain Fortress. From there they could keep an eye on the start of the river flowing by.

On the way I saw a beautiful group of flowers, and we had to stop to see what it was. It turned out to be tufted vetch. I wonder if it was growing so well because of the pile of timber that had evidently been there before.

First we went to the Mountain Fortress. Beside the path there was a stretch of railroad and a car for moving timber. The railroad was built in the beginning of the 20th century to take timber from Lake Kuolimo to Lake Saimaa.

Where the river starts there can be seen the remains of a harbour in the bottom of the lake. The timber was brought here on barges from where they were moved to the rail car. A pair of black-throated divers (Gavia arctica) was swimming on the lake with their chicks.

There’s a lean-to near the shore. In front of it there is a table built from slate on a rock.

Someone had built a play hut between boulders. One of the boulders looked like it was formed of several pieces.

The Mountain Fortress itself was pretty unnoticeable. Here’s one photo from inside it.

From the redoubt we came to the main fortress. The sign says “Kärnäkoski Fortress. Built by A. Suvorov in 1793.” General Alexander Suvorov was in charge of building the South-Eastern Finland fortification system.

Next to the gate there is a cannon and a relief map of the area made of metal.

Walls of the fortress.

Sheep graze inside the fortress, which makes the area suitable for meadow flowers like maiden pink (Dianthus deltoides) and harebell (Campanula rotundifolia). In the background there is a shelter for the sheep.

Brittle bladder-fern (Cystopteris fragilis) in the wall of the fortress.

We found the sheep. They came to greet us immediately and one of them licked my hand. They jumped easily to the top of the wall.

On the way back

On the way back we stopped at Valkosenkylä and went for a swim in Lake Virmajärvi. After swimming we ate, and three little bird chicks came to chirp in the tree next to us. They were cute.