With colder weather rapidly approaching, I decided to take advantage of a fairly warm and dry Saturday to visit the Mustavuori area in north-eastern Helsinki (part of which is a Natura 2000 nature reserve). This forested area is only 2 km north of the Vuosaari Metro station, and I covered the distance quickly on my bike.
My plan was to do some exploring, figuring out if there were good spots for birding, picking mushrooms and berries, and hiking. I decided to head to the more distant eastern part of the forest, passing under Ring Road III and past Porvarinlahti (a lovely little lake that appears like it would be a good place for birding). I first stopped to look for mushrooms in a rather damp patch of Spruce, and found a few good patches of Funnel Chanterelles. After a while I noticed a small structure close to where I was picking – it was a target for archery, which rather bizarrely had a target in the form a hyena on it…
I then continued through the forest, emerging to find myself surrounded by agricultural fields. It was a bit of a surprise that within 5 km I had completely left the city behind. I was keen to get a good view of the sea, so headed down two dead-end roads (Kantarnäsintie and Ribbingintie) hoping to find a lookout spot. But easier said than done – seafront was claimed by mini-mansions (including one with a private tennis court – not something I’ve seen around here before), so it would not have been possible for me get onto the beach without traipsing through someone’s yard. Nonetheless a lovely route to peddle along.
Turning back towards to Mustavuori forests I explored along the top of a little hillock, hoping to find a route to the sea from there. No luck with that, but I did get my first good views of a Hazel Grouse – a species which I’d glimpsed a few times previously. I found a few large patches of tati’s (Boletus spp.), including a nearly perfect porcini mushroom (Boletus edulis). In the middle of nowhere I was passed by a series of people who’s orienteering route ran along the ridge.
After a few hours in the forest I headed back to the city – a short bike ride and a few minutes on the Metro and I was back home again. I’m glad that I now know that Mustavuori is worth visiting again… and just hope that we can have a few more dry weekends before the cold sets in!