"Ziemļu purvi" Nature Rezerve is a beautiful remote area on the Latvian-Estonian boarder. It takes some three hours to get there from Riga. So, it is better get-up early.
Our small group gathered in the parking lot around 10 a.m. As it often happens in Latvia and in Nordic states in general, people are rather shy when they meet first. However, people are curious beings especially about the upcoming adventures and new foreseen connections with other like-minded people. Therefore, it is known that just a small push can break the thin ice.
People can turn from strangers to friends in a fraction of time. Knowing this we apply our original improv-travel approach for small groups, which helps breaking the already thin ice even faster. So it happened this time too.
Our small friendly group of 7 people started our hike around the Ramatas Lielezers lake around 11 a.m. and finished around 3 p.m. It was a rather short (15 km) hike around the lake that is believed to be the biggest lake in the bogs of Latvia. The lake has some small islands. It also attracts local fishermen, but we did not meet anybody on our way this day.
The most unknown factor while traveling in the Nordic countries, is, of course, weather. So you always have to be prepared for rapid weather changes. This day was, however, beautiful. Besides, we all know saying that "there is no bad weather, there is only inappropriate clothing".
Real Latvian bog is the place, which is always wet. It is wet in the summer and much wetter in the autumn. Thus, hiking shoes or boots are not an option for waking there. Hiking boots with Gore tex membrane and other analogs will not be of great help as well. You need much cheaper version of footwear to get ahead: ordinary rubber boots! Even the rubber boots will not give you the guarantee that you will stay dry in the bog. However, do you really need such a guarantee while being on an exciting adventure?...
There are occasional drops in the bog pools. As a rule you step on a thin soil at the moment you are about least to expect it. What you get is your rubber boot full of water and a wet leg or probably both. This depends on how successful was your "struggle" against the sucking effect of the bog. Nevertheless, it is guaranteed to award you with lots of fun moments to your group mates and eventually to yourself as well.
Above all that a true raised bog is a place to feel the presence of nature. It's landscape is so mesmerizing that nobody can resist this beauty and tranquility.
We had wonderful group mates with lot's of fun on our way. We all agreed to repeat our hike in the late autumn. So, no it's time for the next hike! Autumn is beautiful here. The leaves become colorful, and the cranberries are bright red and full of vitamins, "asking" a hiker to pick them up...