Guided Paddling Escape into the Wilderness in Eastern Finland

Guided Paddling Escape into the Wilderness in Eastern Finland

Guided Full-Board Paddling Escape Into the Wilderness in Finland
5 nights and 105 km

The five-night guided paddling adventure starts in Finland's smallest national park and ends by Finland's oldest lake taking you through diverse waterways - winding rivers, narrow lakes and finally wilderness lake Koitere with one hundred islands.  The route runs mainly along protected shores in Ilomantsi, North Karelia, away from the hustle and bustle of cities and roads.

This is an easy way to start experiencing multi-day paddling since the route, accommodations, equipment, and food has all been planned and are fine-tuned to meet your wishes. We first make use of indoor accommodation and the services of a wilderness chef. Your guide will help you with the routines of paddling several days, gradually making you more self-sufficient in the wilderness. The first days we only carry snacks with us, and eventually we set up our tent camp ourselves and prepare a luxury dinner that we spice up with ingredients collected from nature.

Your guide can give you advice on paddling techniques and how to pack your equipment, and will reveal amazing locations, local stories, and layers of history.

You can swim every day in the clean waters, and twice you have the opportunity to enjoy a traditional Finnish riverside sauna to thoroughly wash away the sweat and dust. The sounds of nature - the lapping of water, the singing of birds, and the hum of the wind - form the music of the journey.

To join you should have average basic fitness and know the basics of canoeing or kayaking, and foremost be eager to experience several days and nights in the wilderness.

What is included?
Arrive in your basic outdoor attire with personal belongings, and we will handle all arrangements to ensure you have a wonderful relaxing guided tour in the beautiful nature. The Guided Full Board Paddling Escape includes:

a guide for all your paddling days and while camping outdoors.
paddling equipment: kayak or canoe, paddle, life jacket, opening cover, drying equipment, and dry bags or barrels for equipment transportation.
camping gear: tent and sleeping pad and bag.
camp kitchen including burner with fuel, cutlery, and plates.
full board including breakfast, lunch, and dinner including water, coffee, and tea.
safety equipment and rescue plan.
What do you need to bring?
Clothes and shoes suitable for paddling and camp-life and a change of clothes for camp evenings
Towel and swimsuit
Snacks during the paddling days
A power bank to charge your phone (electricity available the 2nd and last nights)
Mosquito repellant or hat (local insects are not dangerous, but can be very distractive)
Possible additional beverages
If you want to fish, you must obtain a fishing permit in advance from the website (alternatively, we can purchase the permit for you)

Kindly note
Designed for adults, this tour welcomes individuals aged 15 and above.
The tour is not recommended for individuals with disabilities or those with limited mobility.

Below is the basic itinerary, which can be modified depending on weather conditions and the participants’ interests and experience. We will meet online a few weeks before the tour to discuss details, equipment, and interests. Breaks will be held every few hours, and as the sun sets late, there is no time pressure.

Day 1: Petkeljärvi National Park – Muokonsaari Island, 17 km
We meet in the heart of Finland's smallest national park, Petkeljärvi to pack our equipment. After lunch in the small café, we say goodbye to civilization for a few days.

The tour starts north on narrow lakes by pine-clad esker ridges formed during the Ice Age. The lake widens to lake Nuorajärvi, which can either be crossed directly or time permitting a break can be taken on the deserted sandy north shore of the protected island Jänissaari.

The first evening you will be met by our cabin host on his island Muokonsaari. He is a master chef and will prepare a delicious dinner for us from local ingredients.

Day 2: Moukonsaari – Huhus Cottage, 29 km
After having enjoyed breakfast prepared by our chef, we are off to an easy start with light kayaks for the longest paddling day.

We first go through a historical narrow canal before entering the river Koitajoki passing by spacious swamps, majestic pine ridges, and some summer cottages. Several camp sites and fireplaces along the river allow us to take frequent breaks. The river passes by lake Mekrijärvi at the Ristiniemi camp site before meandering through the Kesonsuo swamp. The 9,000 hectars (22,200 acres) wetland is protected and home to many birds such as wild geese, cranes, swans, eagles, and ospreys, and even a rare peregrine falcon has been seen nesting there.

The long day ends at a cottage with indoor accommodation, a sauna, and dinner ingredients in the fridge. The group will independently prepare the barbeque dinner while heating the sauna with wood.

Day 3: Huhus – Kangaskoski Camp Site, 20 kmOn the third day we will pass the only small rapids on the route. Everyone can decide to pass them by the shore, paddle straight through them, or play around for a while. If the group wishes and the water level allows, the guide can teach the basics of whitewater kayaking, taking participants’ skill level into account.

The third night is the first one that we spend outdoors at a camp site where the only structures are a dry toilet and a cooking hut. The guide helps prepare the dinner over open fire. As a touch of luxury, the tents have already been pitched and food brought when we arrive at the camp site beach next to the protected Viitasuo swamp.

Day 4: Kangaskoski – Lammassaari Island, 23 km
The fourth day is the first one that we start by disassembling the camp and packing all equipment in the kayaks or canoes. After breakfast, of course. By this time everybody is already more familiar with paddling and packing and are ready to start the real wilderness adventure.

We will pass old log driving structures and farms, and might see stone-aged rock-art, which all prove that humans have lived by and travelled on these rivers and lakes for centuries. Perhaps they have rested on the same beach where we prepare lunch on open fire?

We will paddle on two different rivers and one artificial lake before crossing lake Koitere to the sandy beaches of Lammassaari Island. The tents must be pitched before we prepare dinner adding ingredients that can be found on the island or that we have caught on the way.

Day 5: Lammassaari – Käenkoski, 16 km + transportation to Huhus Cottage
The last day starts in the beautiful archipelago with sandy beaches and lagoons showing proof that this is Finland’s oldest lake formed by the Ice Age. The third and last gently flowing river of the tour is the narrowest one which we can paddle upstream until the Käenkoski rapids, where ground transportation will meet us.

When we have made the entire 100 km tour and learned a lot about paddling and the wilderness nature of Eastern Finland, we return to the cottages by the river, where everyone's luggage is already waiting. The dust from the trip is washed away in the sauna. At the dinner table, we will recapitulate the highlights and perhaps even mishaps of the trip, praise each other, and raise a toast to our performances and the magnificent nature. Perhaps you immediately start planning the next adventure with your new friends?

Day 6: Huhus Cottages - Departure
After breakfast and a good night’s sleep, we are ready to leave the Koitajoki river and Huhus village.

Summer season 2024, 2 departures: 
June 3rd – 8th 2024
August 5th – 10th 2024
Booking one month before the start.

Price 5 nights: 1840€/person
services according to the program
For an additional fee:Travelling to the starting point of the paddling tour, Petkeljärvi National Park, Ilomantsi and from the end point of the paddling tour, Huhus, Ilomantsi.