Canoeing at Joutsijärvi


I’ve been thinking about canoeing for long time. Because i was going to write about this Joutsijärvi area, only parts i haven’t been here are the small isles. Last and only time i have used a kayak, was 2012 in Miyajima, Japan!

It was last week of July and so we were heading to the Joutsijärvi. I had arrange us a canoe from local Evänräväyttäjät RY (transl. Paddle Swingers Association) for 2 days. Wasn’t so expensive, 30€/day + 20€ for bringing it to us. So 40€/person wasn’t bad at all.


We arrived to Tammen Leirikeskus (Tammi camping centre) on time, and only 5 mins later we got the canoe. My friend didn’t have any experiences about canoes and i had only used a kayak once. We both been watching videos from youtube, so we knew something…time to put knowledge on practice! Canoe was for 2 person with 400kg limit.


At first it felt like bit unstable. Waterline was 10cm from railing with two 120kg guys and 2 backpacks with total weight around 280kg. I was a bit worried first, but it was really beautiful day and no wind. Clouds reflected well from the surface. And we got used to it fast so paddling started to go well.


We decided go to the Vohla isle first, about 5km paddling ahead. (Vohla is one old name for a sheep, this isle used to be a summerplace for sheeps long time ago. So it got name after that) Took a bit over hour to get there. We followed the shore and went between other isles. This is fun, i thought! One point i stopped paddling, because wasn’t sure if i saw right. Looked like water has a big bulge! But then i noticed that branches were so low, that they were in the water. So that caused a bit of an illusion.

Vohla fireplace
Vohla fireplace

When we arrived to the Vohla, took some time to find a place were we can go ashore. We found a place which was quite steep and i had in mind that my friend jumps off, i turn the canoe and backup there. But my friend jumped off and immedialty started to pull cane to ashore! So canoe went under water behind me and flooded. Lucklily my friend is strong and kept pulling. My pants were soaked haha!
But when we check our backpacks, there were soaked too. I had some drysacks there, so was glad i used them, but…still some were soaked too. My small Nokia phone was dead. Also iPod and small speaker got water. (iPod still works, but speaker died later). Took 2 hours to dry my gear.

TTTM for relax and Abisko LW1 tent
TTTM for relax and Abisko LW1 tent


We made camp first, friend had his Hennessy hammock and i had this time my brand new Fjällräven Abisko Lightweight 1 tent. I also took my Ticket To The Moon hammock with me, just for lazy time. I also had my DD tarp with me just in case. I decided to set it up to cover my tent, just because i wanted to have cover for the rain. This was great idea, which i noticed later. Also some of my friends gear was safe under it.


After 2 hours, we went for paddling. One place where i wanted to visit, was Makkaraluoto isle (sausage islet). It is very small, you can walk around it in few minutes. Isle has a good space for camping, toilet and good campfire place. My friend found lot’s of mushrooms, collected them a lot, so we can have a nice dinner later.

Rocky shore
Rocky shore

Back in the canoe and we paddled to the Kronkisto campfire place.Kronkisto shore was full of big rocks. We had difficulties to find a place to get in ashore. We found a good spot soon, between 2 big rocks. This area was part of the trail and boy this had lot’s of rocks around. North side of the lake has lot’s of sight of ice age. And terrain is a bit difficult to walk.

Paddling back to Vohla with mushrooms
Paddling back to Vohla with mushrooms

Took some photos and rest a bit before going back to our canoe. Slipped a bit when i was getting in the canoe, but big rock saved me for falling to the lake. After few minutes paddling, check the phone…and screen was broken! So when i slipped against the rock, phone was in my pocket..and took the hit. This doesn’t look good. Almost all my electronic gear was broken! I had to take sim-card away, because phone started to open apps etc and i could do nothing because screen didn’t respond anymore.


Rest of the day we relaxed in the Vohla. Made some fire and friend made good food from meat and mushrooms, which he collected. Went for a walk later, walked around isle, took about 15 mins only. And i found a toilet too, which i thought this isle doesn’t have. It was 50 meters from our campsite.


It was quite warm, sun still peaked behind trees so i went for a swim. Water was warm enough too, washed away my sweat. After that got hot cup of rooibus tea. ”Life is good”, i was thinking. Loss of phones etc didn’t feel so bad anymore, after all, i have insurance. Went sleeping after midnight, first night in the tent for looong time.

Morning glory, spider got neat web
Morning glory, spider got neat web

We woke up after 9 am and made some breakfast. This day will be quite rainy and thunderstorm was heading this way too. We decided to stay here in Vohla. Picked more mushrooms and this isle had lot’s of blueberries too. I collected almost one litre of them.

Storm approaching
Storm approaching

Small showers started after midday, so we had lazy time. My friend slept away his lack of sleep from day before. Made some food just before thunderstorm hit us. I could see it approaching, big dark clouds on horizon.


Thunderstorm passed the lake, but didn’t go above us. I was amazed to listen thunder sound, which echoed around the lake. It got only 2 km from us, but sounded awesome! Rain rattled to the tarp, i really love that sound. Kinda regret that i didn’t take bugnet with me, i could have enjoyed resting there. Lot’s of angry mosquitos here, so i didn’t hang my TTTM.


We went for a swim again later in the midnight, sky was getting clear. After i got back into my tent, i was annoyed about really noisy mosquitos. They were between tents layers! There was maybe over 50 mosquitos there. Luckily i fell in sleep fast.

Breakfast for champions
Breakfast for champions

Next morning we woke up 8am, breakfast and packed all fast. Weather forcast said, that it will be raining heavily around 10am. I wanted to visit on one isle on our way back, but we passed by that place by accident. We got back where we started around 9.30am and guy came to pick the canoe. It started to rain immediately, so we got back just in time!

We agree that will do this trip again someday. Hopefully we don’t lost nothing then. Also this trip taught a lot to us. Fir example, i will get better drysacks haha! Insurance paid me new phone and other things, so no worries. Didn’t lost my Fuji X20 camera, that would have been worst thing.

I want more experiences like this, future shows 🙂


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