Visit to Korkeakoski in Tuovilanlahti
Kaapro Jääskeläinen aka August Bernhard Mäkelä tells (Iloisia juttuja III, 1908):
"It's best to go now if you're going to go there. And you have to go there. If it's not already too late."
One morning I received that advice from my friend Heikki from Kuopio, who is a member of the Tourist Association, familiar with the local conditions, and whom I blindly trusted in something like leaving to Korkeakoski. It was a pity that Heikki himself did not say that he could come with me.
"We, people from Kuopio, have been there so many times," he added with a smile.
"And you don't need a guide there. You just sit on Tähti (Star in finnish)."
The first days of June, thunder in the air, sharp clouds on all the shores of the sky. But the day was still shining, and it was shining "sweet", as Heikki said. If I had had more time to stay in Kuopio, I would have expected more steady travel weather, but now I had to be content with this. At 3 o'clock I went to the harbor and searched for "Tähti" like those three kings of the eastern land. I went back and forth on the edge of the dock and looked at the departing ships, all of which had their own entourage. But there was only "Kaino", "Neiti", "Lempi", "Sukkela" ... aha, there is "Tähti" peeking from behind. Yes, but how to go there! There was water in between.
"You have to get to the other side" I heard someone say.
It was already 3 o'clock on the other ships, as one after another began to leave, but fortunately the "Tähti" stood still for so long that I got to the other side. You see, it always includes leaving later than others so that you then get to drive past them. After all, it is a big honor for the ship, and also passengers feel proud. There was already "Sukkela" left behind, and now "Lempi" is left behind ... no, it is not; it turned to another route.
We are hardly getting around Puijonniemi. The water feels quite cold. The lake has not had time to warm up since it just got out of its ice cap. The wind pushes against, along the water's back. The speed is getting higher and higher. The surface of water is all black, looking terribly angry. A thunder rumbles from afar and it begins to rain.
No one goes down to the Salon from the deck. Everyone just faithfully sits and takes water on their necks.
"When tickets would be given!" sighs the person sitting next to me so earnestly that it aroused my curiosity. "What's the hurry about that?" I asked. "We would get out of here from freezing," was the reply. After researching the matter in more detail, I found out that the fee from Kuopio to Tuovilanlahti is on the deck 1 mk. 25 p (former Finnish currency), on the front salon 2 mk and in the back salon 2 mk. 50 p. - and that the place is determined by where the skipper meets each passenger when distributing tickets. After receiving the ticket, you are free to stay anywhere.
But this time the skipper was not busy at all about giving the ticket. There seemed to be coming a heavy downpour, and he probably thought it would forcibly drive passengers to the Salon. And he was not wrong about that. After a few minutes, we were in the middle of a storm. It rained and the wind blew like it would be the last days of our life. One by one, the deck passengers pressed into the Salon. And when there seemed to be as much crowd as possible, the skipper stepped inside with his ticket bowls. Only the bravest were on deck. I, along with them, was already delighted to have received the bravery award, 75 pence of money saved.
However, our joy was premature, as the skipper was more cunning than us. After getting up from the salon, he stopped making money and did not care about us on the deck. He just went to calmly twist the rudder spin. There seemed to be a major turning point going on.
I knew he had to have money before the first stop, and I tried to suffer like a man. But there had already gone back of the lake after other and strait after strait, and there were no signs of a stopping place. Cold moisture passed through the bones. I wouldn't have lasted long in this 75 pence fight anymore. That's why I decided to stop by the salon for a while, while the skipper was making a turn. Maybe then I could take it, after I stealthily got an increase in my heat resources.
But I barely had time to feel the warmth of the salon in my body, and my teeth settling from the cold, when I saw in front of me the skipper circling the ticket strip from his mysterious cone. Perhaps he had left the ship in the middle of the turn or had the paddler continue that maneuver.
Then, in the very last moment, another spark of hope flashed to my mind.
"Will the ticket be sold back and forth?" I asked. "All I do is visit Korkeakoski and return to Kuopio in the morning. Isn't there a discount for that?"
"Is Mr. an amusement tourist?"
"Yes - as long as the air would give in."
"Amusement tourists only have a fee of 2mk 50p back and forth, in the salon."
And I, when I had stayed in vain on the deck, suffered the cold and perhaps forever ruined my health! For the same fee, I would have been free to stay in the salon. Wisely, they do not publicly announce anything about their rates and discounts. From the newspapers I had only seen the voyages and departure times of the ships. But about everything else "the skipper gives information about on board."
Now I had a good time again. The warm felt so sweet. "Warm and bread" - these are the basic tunes of human life. Yes, everyone remembers the value of bread three times a day, but the importance of warmness is forgotten, unless you ever get such reminders. I started to wait for a stop if anything like that was even coming. Finally came Kehvo, which was supposed to have an orphanage, and soon after that Hirvilahti with its elementary schools. So, the people seeking education here behind Kuopio.
As we then approached the low-lying areas of the Ruokovirta and slid down the beautiful canal of the same name, many stopping places started to come. The sturdy, stern speaking Pielavesi host explained that the reason is, that the ship had now reached the boundaries of Maaninka Parish, and the people from there were so contentious in their municipal affairs that no more than three people would fit on the same pier; and even though the piers are so dense, the best troublemakers must be taken by boat to the ship. That seemed to be the effect of municipal self-government on shipping there.
The areas might have been very charming if there had been beautiful weather and a full summer. But now they still lacked the final touch: the leaves were just beginning to grow, the grass was variegated, and hardly even natural scientists would have found any flowers. Thus, it may be quite true what my fellow guideline from Pielavesi said about these landscapes, that "they are not as ugly as they seem" - although it sounded a little strange.
The Ahkiolahti or Vianta canal was no longer used. They turned from the door and started looking for the mouth of Tuovilanlahti. It would have been a miracle if it had not been found. It is so different from other bays of Savo. It was neither smiling nor flickering, neither grassy nor leaved - nor, ruined by glory, but it was a little of each. It most resembles the beautiful bays of Laatokka. The naked rock walls rise steeply out of the water, but on their shoulders the lawns and budding fields on the surroundings of the houses. The bay is quite long and narrow. When you look from inside to the "mouth", you see landscapes that - whether they are "reiniläinen" or Alpine looking - are downright festive at home.
In a side of a cliff, a short distance above the waterline, is a man-sized hole that is said to spread inside the mountain into a spacious room. This place is called "Pirun pesä" (Devil's nest). Man from Pielavesi, who was now in his own municipality, asked the skipper to drive close to the mouth of the nest to test if the devil would grab our ship. But it did not. Probably was not at home because it didn't seem to have appeared for many years.
"If the priests have expelled it?" I thought to the man from Pielavesi. "It does not care about the priests of our parish - it has gotten familiar with them. I thought more about that new bishop from Kuopio - it might have ran away from the bishop to another parish."
Tuovilanlahti is a strong business location. The beach is full of booths, barges, and barrels; the village has shops and dairies; in the fall butter is bought a lot. Aha, I thought, it's no wonder if in the middle of that kind of movement, the devil of the mountain doesn't have time to lie in his nest. It had to keep swinging if it minded getting something done.
Once you got to the beach, you first had to get material strength from the inn to continue the journey. You still had to walk about three kilometers. And it was obtained when done. In Savo you obtain "when you do".
While eating, the innkeeper said that the Tourist Association had not yet started building the nice stairs under Korkeakoski. He, who praised himself as an avid friend of tourism - possibly not without material side effects - said he had kept the stairs in there for twenty years at his own expense. But looking at both the man's age and the nature of his eyes, I could not believe that the time was that long.
The lands here are hilly, and in the distance, there are ever higher hills. The river or stream or ditch - what you want to say it - where Korkeakoski is, runs along the way to the bottom of a rather deep and steep-crust tomb. The noise of the rapids is heard, to be precise, less than a kilometer away, and a weak call is not clear near it.
And now we are in Korkeakoski. At high speed, the water plunges from top of the rock down the rocky slope to a gloomy depth. It has once broken a mill, as a couple of millstones and a bunch of wall logs stick out from the water. There is a hustle and bustle: water as a white foam, and a fine mist rising towards the sky. We step down the stairs under the rapids, hoping every step of the way that the Tourist Association would have already made the better stairs it intended. The heavy man from Pielavesi was especially hoping for it, as he said he was afraid of death because he was in bad relations with the clergy because of the election of the mayor.
"How is there a lot of docks in your parish?" I asked.
"There are them because there many ships"
Under Korkeakoski, a deep, wide "boiler" has eroded into the wooded ground over time, from which only water can escape without wings or stairs. The rapid must be watched from the bottom of this "boiler". There you can see all of its surges and dark pillars. The area is beautiful, almost makes an dreary impression, which is strange in Savo.
It would be a great place for a bigger rapid if there was more water. The height is more than necessary, but there is too little amount of water.
"I was supposed to come two weeks earlier, then the water was at its highest," comforted the man from Pielavesi.
I believe so! I barely standed the cold now.
For painters, this is a great place to make paintings. It is easy to add water to their canvas, and there is enough else in this landscape. So peaceful yet sit there at the bottom of the "boiler" and paint.
That is when a bold thought came to my mind. If my technical ability was as great as my natural ingenuity, I would make a detailed proposal to the Tourist Association to put Korkeakoski in hands of guests. Could it be possible to save spring floods and summer rainwater in a large reservoir above the rapids with the help of shut-off facilities and then once a week, for example on Sundays, let water go very wildly? That would be great. It would be worth coming from afar to see and would not be prohibited from paying a small entrance fee to reimburse costs. - Maybe they have been just as wise before me, and maybe the idea has been found to be impractical - but a good idea it would still be,
The man from Pielavesi was also inventive. During the summer, he thought it was best for him to leave Kuopio on a ship going to Iisalmi in the morning and stay on the Ahkio canal. In the vicinity there is the Vianta rapid with lots of water. The area is wonderfully beautiful there too. Then would you have to come to Korkeakoski by foot or by boat along Tuovilanlahti and think, "let this be Vianta's water!" - Oh, oh, you Heikki my friend, why you did not advise me!
"Tähti" left Tuovilanlahti and returned to Kuopio early in the morning. Good thing that you got onboard. Now it is the time to see that bay in all its glory. Now it was both smiling and flickering in the gold of the rising sun, as the beaches were reflected deep into the calm water, and nothing of its glory had disappeared. Incomparable bay.
The same traces go to Kuopio as they came from there. The only difference in the trip was now that, because of the beautiful weather, it would have been possible to sit on the deck and admire nature, but now we would be mostly in the salon, from which we only got off at the last stop. On the way back, you see, the money was carried and tickets were given right before entering the city.