Alam-Pedja tales: Umbusi children’s winter hike to Rehessaare

Text Mirjam Grosberg, supporting editor Ann Marvet
Photo Merlin Grosberg
Translation Liis
When will we go hiking? – When  Emajõgi has frozen. – I can’t wait any longer! – Well let’s us go then! Let’s go  before only snow crumbles are left. One way or another, we have to go!
There were lots of discussions: that we simply had to pick a weekend, shake off the school stress, get away from the city racket, enjoy the sounds of the forest and drifting snow. We decided to head for the place where our soup got burnt and stuck to the pot bottom for the first time - Rehessaare.
Ready to start the hike. From left Epp, Kärt and Merlin
Thaw weather was in full force, with swan-white snow on the ground. Our hiking companions had left for Palupõhja already on Friday. The three of us went by bus on Saturday to the Laeva forestry stop and took the measure of the distance to Rehessaare, the others would go to meet us.
It was cool to walk by foot, weighty rucksack on back and dear friends around. Wow, a siskin flock flew past over our heads! We were not the only hikers on this wintery road. We had got through the long straight, and made a rest stop at the first large spruce along the path. Our backs were already sweating and we hadn’t had a bite of food yet. Now we had tea and bread with banana spread. We lay on our backs under the big spruce and saw  the snowflakes falling down from the tip of the high spruce.
Swan-white snow
On the Selli–Sillaotsa trail people were thronging. The cold started to creep to the skin. To conquer it we played hopscotch and catch-as-catch-can and made jumping exercises and things like that. Then we heard that the others had only just started their trek. Knowing this we didn’t have the patience to wait any longer and prepared to get going. Plastic bags on socks and coconut fat on boot toes and away we went. We really had picked a slushy day but who knows for how long this snow will be here this winter, Granddad Weather can play any trick on Estonia.
The marsh was so miraculous ... One moment we threw ourselves into the snow and let go into the hands of the bog. A minute of blessed silence, then I noticed that one of my dreams got fulfilled: I have dreamt of scrunching snow and lying there I heard how it creaked in my ear. Walking after that the sound stayed in my head! But be that as it may! That the snow crunched and creaked like that meant that the weather had turned colder.
Oh, already from far away the nostalgic Rehessaare was visible: the story-tale hideaway. So much has changed. The big-hearted husband of the house has come very far with his building work – a joy in the middle of forests and bogs. The surprises were many: a splendid large table in the room and a nice little kitchen corner. We are really and truly grateful to the owner!
Quite soon the others also arrived. We tried to light the sauna fire but for some reason there was no draught at all in the fireplace. At length we got the fire going. We made a fire in the campfire place too so that our head chef Jakob would conjure something wonderful for us. Darkness fell all around but luckily the rice with curry got cooked. Everything was just so right. We had a sauna bath in the moonlit night. Narnia. Snow angels. Icicles. Massage. Just being.
Sharing real hiking food: above to the right, rice in the pail and below in the pot curry with cauliflower added
In the morning there was a swooshing snowdrift. We postponed the breakfast: there was so much snow that we decided to eat at Palupõhja, to save time, and started moving on just water and fresh air.  As good husbandry requires we said goodbye to Rehessaare.
An enchanted house in the middle of a forest: all in one photo
The hike took a pleasant turn into the gangly pines: we chose a direct route to get to Palupõhja earlier. We trampled among the bog pools, melted snow in our mouths, squelched in water and moved with nature. Finally we reached the main road, what relief! I am on my back, cheeks glowing, I tick quietly in the middle of the bog, the snowdrift blows thoughts away. Huh, after a brief breath-take we begin to move again along the familiar path.
Sun peeking from between the bog pines
We moved along, playing: the last in the row always had to go up to the first position and so until Palupõhja. By and by all kinds of  weird tricks appeared: moving up before the others jumping, bounding, wheeling etc, etc, until we arrived and at last, in the evening, could continue our breakfast. A snug feeling of tiredness and the pleasant knowledge that we would be fetched by bus.
Content and light-footed we move between the Alam-Pedja forest walls
Thank you, dear Alam-Pedja!
Sunshine, joy and true hiking experiences!
Mirjam, Merlin, Jakob, Kärt, Epp, Märt, Pelle, Jaan and  Kail went on the hike .




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