Once again, Pekka, the 24 years old Finish geophysics student/packrafting/hiking enthusiast, is contributing to the European scene. This time with an area description from his backyard, the Helvetinjärvi National Park in Ruovesi, Finland. The same report can be found in Finnish language on his own Blog Reppulautta. Enjoy the guest post and thanks Pekka!
Helvetinjärvi National Park
There are plenty of lakes that are formed in deep gorges and a nice 10km Haukkajoki river that flows through the forest.
If you want to get the most out of this route, make sure you have 4-5 days to spare. The route is also very easy (if not easiest) to travel by using public transport to get in place. It starts in the bus stop of Ruovesi town, where you have to hike roughly one kilometer of asphalt road before getting to the nearest forest path. Several paths run through the forest and they are the most pleasant way to get to the southern point of lake Kovero. Kovero and the adjacent lakes are located in one deep tectonic chasm that runs through the whole national park.
A small creek starting from the northwest tip of the lake connects Kovero and the next lake Luoma together. The whole waterway is not passable, but it's nice anyway. At Luoma there's a camping area and cooking shelter. After Luoma there's a shortcut using roads to get to lake Haukkajärvi where river Haukkajoki starts but the gorges at Iso Helvetinjärvi are really worth seeing.
Haukkajoki river is a serene float in the woods. There are a few class I rapids and one class I+ depending on water level. The river is at it's best during floods of after heavy autumn rains, although not bad at normal flow too. After the river you can either hike to west to get to a bus stop or continue south through several lakes and another small river (Karjulanjoki) after another 10km of paddling. After arriving to road number 337 there won't be much to see any more. You may either hike or hitch-hike to village of Kuru to get to bus.
More information: www.outdoors.fi/helvetinjarvi