Viru bog is without a doubt the most popular bog we have here in Estonia. During the sunny weekends, you could spot dozens if not hundreds of cars in the parking lot. Plus some 50-seated tourists buses.
Reasons behind the popularity of Viru bog are straightforward: it’s close to Tallinn (40+ minutes according to Google Maps), it has a boardwalk and a watchtower, you can go there in a wheelchair (the boardwalk leading up to the tower is wide enough) and it’s visually very attractive thanks to numerous bog pools.
BUT there is a price to pay for all of this. Bog is one of the most silent landscapes in this region. There are not too many species that live there and most of the trees and spruces are evergreen (so they don’t make too much sound when the wind blows). In fact, because of this silence and minimalistic landscape, Estonian swamps and bogs are surrounded by mystery that has been the inspiration for our folktales. But it’s difficult to get a glimpse of it in a crowded hiking trail. In addition, the nearby highway wipes out the original soundscape in Viru bog. So at best, you could get just a visual side of it.
But you have 4 more senses and to experience the bog in a way our ancestors did, specific conditions need to be met:
- Find a bog that is away from highways and industrial facilities
- If possible, hike with bogshoes on (in other words snowshoes, that will keep you on the wet spongy surface of the bog). In this way you can ensure you will not meet other people. Just you, the landscape and animals – the whole package.
- Best time to visit a bog is either sunrise or sunset.
- During the warm period be sure to take a swim in a bog pool as well. Make sure that someone would help you out of it as well. Imagine a sunrise or sunset swim? 🙂
- Sit down and take yourself time to just be and listen.
Let’s be clear – we have a lot of different bog trails here in Estonia. Viru bog is just one of them. The further you drive from Tallinn, the less crowded the trails will be. Another popular (but less crowded) trail is Kakerdaja bog trail. Another option is Loosalu bog trail. Its about 1-hour drive from Tallinn.
If you’re interested in getting maximum out of the bog you can join me. In this case, we will put on the bogshoes and find “a refuge” somewhere further away from other people. We will listen the silence, have some tea and share some great stories. You can find my contacts here. 🙂