22-Nov-2003 -- If you have to spend three hours time at the countryside that is not familiar to you and where you know nobody - what to do? Well, in my opinion visiting a nearby confluence is a good option.
My wife had to make a visit to Töysä in the Pohjanmaa district this weekend because of her work and I took the opportunity to get familiar with that part of Finland as she asked me to go along and be her driver for the journey. After leaving my wife near the church of Töysä I had three hours time on my own before we should head back home. I started to drive north to Alajärvi where the N63 E24 confluence is situated about 40 km from Töysä.
When driving slowly along these county roads through the woods I realized soon that maybe confluence hunting this weekend was not so bright idea after all. I noticed by the road several groups of people with maps and compasses and GPS devices with them just like me, but they had also bright orange vests and caps, walkie-talkies and - powerful rifles.
In Finland hunters have a license to kill 86 000 elks this season. As the weight of the elk is commonly over 300 kg the amount of flesh that is dragged from forest to refrigerators in Finland this year, several millions of kilograms, is incredible. During autumn and winter weekends there is quite a shooting festival going on in the woods of Finland.
Finding the way to the starting point, south of the confluence, where the distance was about half a km was not very difficult. But when I got out of the car at the remote narrow country road I heard from forest, not so distant, a barking dog. There was probably a chase going on nearby.
Although visiting a confluence can be a pleasant experience it is still not worth getting shot in a dusky forest as an elk. My outfit was dark but luckily there was a bright red and orange colored (Winnie the Pooh) shopping bag in the car. With that bag on my shoulders I dared to step in the woods.
The temperature has been below zero for a couple of days and all the small lakes I had seen when driving here at Pohjanmaa were frozen and so was the wet terrain where the confluence is situated. A thin layer of snow made the scenery pretty and was not a hindrance to walking. I walked easily under the power lines, beside THE car wreck in the middle of the forest, reached the confluence and got back to my car within about half an hour - and without bumping into either hunters or elks.