We did two different trips with Soomaa. The first was a night canoe trip on the Raudna River that began at 7:30 and lasted two hours. Aivar was a wonderful guide in our canoe. We began with a bit of fast canoeing, then, after about 15 minutes, we slowed down as we approached the possible beaver sighting area of the river. From then on, the river took us in a light flow. We were able to sit and enjoy the scenery and the light as it faded. We stopped once to look at a beaver dam as Aivar explained more about the beavers’ life. Back in the canoe we just listened to nature as the wind blew in the trees. We were so quiet we were able to see a large beaver swim from one bank to another without even noticing us. Later we spotted another, and, even later, we heard several as they detected us and slapped their tales and dived. It was dark at this point so we enjoyed listening to them. We also roused some ducks and were visited by several bats enjoying their nightly meal.
Our second trip was the bog and forest hike with Edu as our guide. Edu knows this area well, and is wonderfully experienced in the bog and forest. He had many interesting stories to tell. He imparted his knowledge of the bog, its waters, its growth, its terrain, its fruit, its mushrooms and the wildlife the entire landscape supported. We lunched pleasantly at the gorgeous bog pools near a boardwalk. Then we ended our hike with an hour canoeing the river during the daylight.
Both of our trips were enlightening and enjoyable. The only glitch was communication between the guides about our vegetarian lunch needs, so do be clear with them and confirm any special needs if you have them. Timing can be variable on the two trips. The night canoe was shorter than we expected at two and a half hours versus the four we had thought (and perhaps might have started earlier for better light as it was far too dark to see anything during the last part of our trip) and the second day was far longer that we had been told, as we finished at 16:30 rather than 15:00, although both were great experiences.
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