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Tips for hikers

Good old-fashioned common sense is essential for walkers, whether they are setting off on a gentle 2-3 hour stroll or a week's hike. A twisted ankle is possible even on the easiest of trails. A full day's walk is worth planning carefully if you intend to enjoy it, rather than suffer: clothing, packed lunch, drinks, compass...? Note! Hiking trails are not open in winter.

Hiking boots
In this guide 2 diamonds mean hiking boots are recommended, 3 diamonds mean essential. In particular on the longer trails waterproof (PROOF, not resistant) boots are recommended! because many of them run through wet spots, while on others beavers may have caused flooding!

Equipment
For a full day's walking we recommend the following minimum: map and compass, mobile phone (may be some difficult areas near the eastern border), first aid pack (including snake bite pack), sheath knife and matches, drink, food, cup and mess tin, sensible clothing, portable stove (essential if there is a forest fire warning in force, when camp fires are prohibited). Your rucksack should have adjustable shoulder, chest and waist straps. Note! Hikers should be self-sufficient regarding food and drinks. Shops along the trails are rare or non-existent.

Rafts
On some routes there are self-operated rafts for crossing waterways which are hauled ashore for winter. Early spring and late autumn hikers are advised to confirm usability before setting off! contact: kareliaexpert@kareliaexpert.fi

Water
Natural water sources can be used after boiling.
Particularly in early summer use of insect repellents or even insect netting is recommended. From August to October in areas where moose are found in large numbers moose fly repellent/netting is essential. On longer routes use a frame rucksack, and sleeping bag, groundsheet, and some dry firewood to get a fire starte!d should be added to your list. Dried food packs are handy and light; dried fruits, nuts, fruit and nut chocolate bars make good snacks.

Bells on your fingers and bells on your toes
(or somewhere on your equipment), and the bears will hear you wherever you go, and avoid you. But if you do happen to run into one the recommendation is to remain calm and withdraw slowly and quietly in the direction you came from, avoiding eye contact, which can be taken as a challenge.
Many of the trails described run through country where hunting is permitted. Bear and duck hunting seasons begin on August 20, hare and wildfowl in September. It is highly recommended that you wear colourful clothing (preferably bright red) from the last week in September onwards, when the moose hunting season begins.

Good manners
On most of the routes described firewood is provided at certain sites for campfires. Exceptions are mentioned in th!e text. However, it is best to be prepared - sometimes firewood has run out, or is wet. So it's worth taking along your own firelighters, dried birchbark or a few sticks.
There are some basic rules concerning use of forest huts and lean-tos: use them freely, but don't set up camp in one spot for days on end; be sparing in your use of firewood; make room for others. It is also good manners to sign the guest book - with your comments or suggestions.

Toilets and Rubbish
There is no rubbish collection service along the trails except where specifically marked. It is therefore essential that all walkers observe the general rule "if you pack it in, pack it out again", or at least as far as the next waste disposal point.
Almost without exception stops along the trails are provided with basic toilet facilities. Trails serviced by the National Forestry Board are always provided with toilets (where you can also dispose of other bio-d!egradeable waste). Trails without toilets are mentioned in the text.

Forgot your compass?
Some tips if you find you've forgotten your compass:
  • ant hills are usually found on the south side of tree trunks, the sunny side.
  • dry lichen covered slopes are usually south facing, slopes facing north or east are usually covered in greenery (in summer!)
  • most chains of ridges in the province run north-east to south-west.
  • sunrise is in the east, sunset in the west, at midday the sun is in the south. NOTE: for several weeks around midsummer the sun rises and sets just east or just west of due north!

    Be prepared for surprises
    Most of the trails described are serviced once or twice each summer. Nevertheless nature is full of surprises: fast-growing bushes can hide signposts, which can also rot, fall or be deliberately broken; or a beaver dam can cause flooding which might make the marked route impass!able. For two day and long trails the appropriate National Survey map number is given. They make trail finding much more certain, and they also provide information on points of interest within reach of the trail.

    Further information
    For further information regarding equipment rentals, services, connections, accommodation etc contact: kareliaexpert@kareliaexpert.fi


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