For those of you who are not familiar with the term – Nordic walking (Finnish: sauvakävely) is fitness walking with specially designed poles, which are quite similar to ski poles only shorter. I haven’t heard about this type of walking till 2005 when I visited Finland for the first time. And when I saw people walking with the poles in the middle of July… I giggled. Well… in my defense – it looked silly, funny, and unnatural.
It took me twelve years to get around the thought of trying this “dementia skiing” (forgot skis at home). In the beginning, it felt really weird. Six kilometers later I had mixed feelings but overall I kind of liked it. So I continued. And one cold April day I decided to take it to the next level and check how it feels to do this Nordic walking in the forest. Here I should mention that the Finnish forest is not like any forest I’ve been to before. It has stones, big rocks, cliffs, and hills. So Nordic walking turns into Nordic climbing and jumping. And that in my opinion made it more interesting and fun.
The two-kilometer long path took me to the dead end. So I had two choices – either turn around and go back or… continue walking and exploring the magical Finnish forest. Unfortunately, I didn’t know at that time that the forest is not only magical but also enchanted (or should I rather say “bewitched”?).
Farther I went, denser the forest became. Branches of spruces were ruthlessly slashing my face; cut trees sprawled on the ground like dead soldiers were constantly grabbing my ankles as if they wanted me to fall and lie down beside them on their battlefield. Every now and then my rubber boots plunged into some strange wet and sticky substance while making hideous smacking sounds.
Any normal person (if he is in his right mind of course) would stop this masochistic and extreme experiment and would turn back a long time ago – back to civilization and steady ground under his feet. But I guess I’m not normal enough, he-he. The excitement that drove me, in the beginning, was replaced by unshakable stubbornness, so I continued my journey. It was a matter of principle… or maybe just stupidity, who knows…
I was lost. That’s what happens when you have a broken “inside navigator”. Google map didn’t help much either, – it was all the time advising me to get back to the road. Thank you, Google! What would I do without you… Not the best forest guide I must say.
But I wasn’t worried about it since it wasn’t my first time being lost; it happened a lot over the years. Luckily I always managed to find the way out. And this time was not an exception. I got out of the forest… one and a half-hour later.
I was angry, tired, and excited. And that was the moment when I realized that Nordic walking can be fun. I haven’t had that kind of adventures since childhood and it was awesome!
One more reason why I like to go Nordic walking in the forest is the opportunity to make really beautiful pictures of nature.
* all photos are made in Kaipola, Jämsä city (Central part of Finland)
Hope you enjoyed it!