2 October: The travel agent arranged a guide to take me to Nuuksio National Park, a tiny park (barely over 50 square km) northwest of Helsinki. We canoed across a small lake, hiked for a couple hours, and canoed back. I usually feel intimacy and affection for places in Nature where I can quietly be even for short periods, and this was no different. Average rainfall around Helsinki is only 27” so it’s interesting to see how much difference even that makes in landscapes not dealing with heat, and at a time like now when they’ve not had as much rain as usual. I am strongly drawn to the groundcover in places like this: multiple varieties of berry, plenty of moss (several inches thick in places), and lichen of species I’m not acquainted with; some are in the cup lichen family and stand a few inches high and, according to my guide, are a favorite food of reindeer farther north. So the cover is rich and damp and seems anxious to surmount anything around it, including large boulders, many of which are completely enclosed in moss out of which grow many of the same plants as when it’s on ground. Wondrous! The trees are mostly Scots Pine, which is new to me (not surprising since it doesn’t occur at home) despite acquaintance with innumerable Pinus species I’ve met around the U.S., birch, and spruce. Most of Finland was logged over the centuries and it does not appear to me there’s anything left big enough to turn into lumber, although they call forest that’s achieved much age old growth. In short, the trees along my hike were abundant but not tall and the groundcover rich and beguiling. There were ravines and granite outcroppings as well that added to the overall interest of the place. A good time was had. I should also add that the lake was the kind I’ve always loved: surrounded by forest growing to its edge, clear water, only a few docks sticking out, and because it’s national park for most of its circumference, only a few cabins, a quiet meditative place.