this isn’t a drill, we’re shooting to kill
I have a map lying aroun in my cabinet that covers the Lahemaa national park and Kõrvemaa natural reserve. I used this on my last walk from Kunda to Võsu, but the outcome of that walk was a little bit unsatisfactory so last week I thought that now would be time to have a go at it again. I spent some time sketching the possible rout to the map. Main goal was to follow the shore-line of the capes Käsmu, Pärispea and Juminda and the cut over the Koitjärve mire to Aegviidu, where I could catch a train back. I would say that I managed to fill about 70%
Day 1. Friday.
Work ends at 14:00. At 15:00 I was on a bus from Rakvere to Võsu and at 16:00 at the traihead. Plan for the evening was to go as far as possible, bt at least to the end of cape Käsmu. Had fun navigating through some forest, along ditches and some off-trail parts. Some tarmac too. The village of Käsmu, also known as the village of captains did have some nice houses, but otherways nothing special. The name village of captains comes from the fact that there used to be a naval school, which produces over 1600 seamen of which over 62 graduated as captains were locals. What makes the last bit so special is that there lived about 100 families in the village. I had planned to visit Mändsaar, but as it requires walking through some water and the weather was a bit rough, so I skipped that part.
I continued west along the shore. There’s a nice singletrack, with a view to the sead and all the boulders, which the area has an abundance of. The fact that the trail was often obstructed with fallen trees made it even more interesting. As the sun began to set I reached the end of cape where an old radar station still barely hold together. There a plenty of those in all the capes of northern Estonia, but only few are used now.
Turning south the path became easier and quicker and the pines soon made up most of the forest. Lots of mushrooms also. I made a brief stop at the big boulder called the Sea Monk and then continued south, but now looking for a suitable site for a camp, before it got totally dark. Near Käsmu lake I found one and as the skies didn’t look that promising I prepared my tarp so I could get it up when it really starts to rain. I chose a spot a bit away from the shore to avoid the winds. Mosquitoes aren’t that much of a problem anymore. As it was about 20:00 when I made camp there wasn’t mch of light and after wash and dinner I went to rest. Sure enough it started to rain lightly pretty soon, but I had a roof over my head in a minute.
Time on trail: 4 hours. Distance covered: 17km
Day 2. Saturday (obviously)
The night was OK despite a moderate, but not very long rain. I woke up a couple of times, but that’s usual. Alarm goes off at 06:30 and 40 minutes later I’m on the move. Goal is to go around the Pärispea Cape. Käsmu lake is very nice at the early morning, with bright sunshine and clear skies. the first 10km is mostly on gravel and tarmac. Lots of nice houses along the coast and a boulder 8 meters high. Near Kasispea I make a short brake ’cause it’s past 10am and a bit roughr section through the forest is ahead. At one part the trail becomes unmanaged, very wet and full of fallen trees. Feet are wet, but as the water isn’t very cold, it doesn’t bother me much. Nevertheless some SealSkins or something similar would have been nice. After some time the path gets better and again mushrooms appear. They look very tasty, but I don’t wan’t to carry them around until Sunday evening so I leave them for someone else.
When reaching the tarmac road near Pärispea I have to change my course again, because I cant find the path. It near noon now and although the weather forecast said it could rain some during the day, the sky is almost clear and weather sunny and warm.
Purekari is the northernmost point of Estonia if you don’t count the islands. Again there are remains of a radar station here and some big boulders. Getting to the reef requires some wading in knee deep water. I didnt make it to the point of Purekari, because there was too much birds seagulls and some other birds and I didn’t want to disturb them. I stay until about 2am.
Going south again I choose the path through forest over the one running along the shore cause that’s tarmac. Last part get’s a bit tricky, ’cause it’s overgrown and not very easy to walk. so I opt for a path that takes me out on the tarmac too early, but I still have a lot of distance to cover. I reach the road right in the middle of Suurpea village.
A bit later I arrive to Loksa, which has a big ship building and repairing dock. Unfortunately it has a high fence so I don’t see much of it. What interests me more at this point the shop ’cause I need some water and food. I have used only about 0,5 for the whole day. Some bread, cheese, sausage, mineral water and fruits should keep me covered ’till Sunday evening. After eating the clock is near 6pm and after evaluating the distance to planned end point I decide to leave Cape Juminda for another time and head towards Kolga until it get’s dark. I turn off the tarmac as soon as possible and take a detour to Lake Lohja. It seems to have a path going along the whole shore, but I pass it along the northern shore. Plenty of fishers out on the lake.
The road I’m on gets smaller, but still good enough so one can drive a car on it. I pass some abandoned houses and for a while an unused old power line runs by the path. Again – although it’s late and there’s no wind, there aren’t much mosquitoes around. As the path is good and there are no distractions I make good progress and around 8pm I’m about 3km from Kolga and decide to make a camp. I’m in the middle of a pine forest so it’s quite dry and it really doesn’t matter where to put down my sleeping bag. I go off the road no more than 50m to a higher ground. Again I prepare my tarp for just in case and cook dinner. Stretch and massage my feet, eat and then to sleep. It has been long day and I feel pleasantly tired.
Time on trail: 11 hours. Distance covered 49,5km
Day 3. Sunday (no shit!)
Waking as usual 0630. The night has been perfect, with only a small drizzle during the night. But it was too short for me to get out of my sleeping bag to pitch the tarp. A bivy-bag kept me dry. Breakfast and already walking at 0715. Plans for the day are to cross Virusoo via a plank road, cross the Tallinn-Narva highway and follow Liiapeksi-Aegviidu hiking path until Järvi lakes. Then head west to Koitjärve mire, cross it and check out the lake in the middle of it and then get to Aegviidu, where I should be at 1620 to get on the early train.
After some rougher section along the river I was again in open pine forest with really easy going and soon I was in the start of the planked road leading through the Viru mires. Lovely place in the early morning. Sun is up, no wind to create ripples on the ponds. Funny though. They write on the poster not to swim in the ponds, but they build this perfect ramp right next to one. Some people picking berries and one taking photos. Only disturbance is the sound of trucks passing by one the nearby highway. The tower in the middle would be an excellent place to wake up on a cold clear winter morning.
The road along which the Liiapeksi – Aegviidu hiking trail runs wasn’t anything spectacular until the point I turned off it towards Koitjärve mires. Due to logging and/or fires a big patch of forest was cleared and it looked dried and desolate. Usually you’d see young saplings sprouting up very soon, but not on this clearing. No clouds and the sun is unmerciful. The road is almost straight and so very long. And a longer stretch was flooded.
For a time patch follows Soodla river, but then turns left to an abandoned tank exercise field. We have used a part of it for artillery firing position, But mostly it’s covered with pines maybe 10 or more years old. The plan was to use the southward trail as long as possible as it cuts quite deep into the mire. In the end of the path I find a stash of old TV-sets that some motherfucker has left here. Wonder if it is really cheaper to drive into woods than to leave them into the dangerous waste disposal.
Crossing the mire was easier than I thought, ’cause it was very open and easy to navigate. If common sense is used to avoid soggy looking patches then the chance getting into a quagmire is small. In the middle of the mire is a beautiful lake surrounded by some trees. Really-really nice place with a small island in the middle of it. Another place to wake up in a freezing winter morning I think.
There is supposed to be a planked path out of the mire, but after some search I failed to find it. So I took my bearing to a mobile mast visible in the west and a while later changed course to arrive exactly at a bridge over some ditch. Some chanterelles were waiting for me near the road. And shortly after that I arrived to Piibe highway that led me to Aegviidu. The last stretch was about 9 km of rather boring going. Was feeling a little tired because the last 46 hours had been quite intense, but still managed to keep up the good pace and arrived at the train station at 1600. Quite exactly 48 hours after starting near Koljaku on Friday. Unplanned, but still a satisfactory fact.
Time on trail: 9 hours. Distance covered 35km
Total time: 48 hours. Total time on trail (with breaks) 24 hours. Total distance covered : about 100km
Gear-wise I had about 5kg in my Pinnacle plus food. Main items as usual – ID SilPoncho, RS 1+, Salomon XA3D, Primus EtaExpress, Thermarest Z-lite. Very similar to Via Alpina gear, but without so big first aid kit and extra clothes.