German students testing nature trails with DigiTrail app

Finland is known for its beautiful scenery and nature and that’s why many foreigners come here for hiking. Currently HAMK is developing an app called DigiTrail – it is designed to help hikers navigate and decide which trail to choose. We, three  forestry students from Germany doing part of our internship in Evo, had the chance to test this app. The idea was to get an opinion about the trails and the app from the point of view of German hikers. Germans are a main target audience for finnish nature tourism, so this was the perfect opportunity to get it tested by us. 

We met Heidi Kerkola – the Project Manager –  at the Evo Camping area, where we were given a first introduction to the app. We discussed how to proceed and which trails we would test. We decided to test all three trails in Evo and one in Tammela. In addition Heidi gave us a test phone with internet access, so we could use the app without any problems. An internet connection is not required to use the app, except for starting it. 

We started with the medium trail in Evo. With the app, it was easy to find and since the app shows the length of the trail and how much of it you already have walked it is also easy to estimate the time it will take you. For the medium trail, we recommend hiking shoes. This was our favorite trail, as it shows some beautiful scenery that is just what we expected from Finland: a plankway led us directly through swampland, a path up a stony hill and there was even an area flooded by beaver to see for us. This is exactly what you imagine when hearing of a finnish nature experience! 

The next trail we tested was the short one, and this we can also recommend to elderly people and families with children. It’s an easy to walk and not very exhausting trail that only requires light shoes and it not very time-consuming. This trail is also suited for people that are interested in forestry and dendrology, because it also includes a part of the educational path of the Evo forestry school. 

The third trail in Evo is about 15 kilometres long and does take some time to walk, but the last part of the trail which goes around a big lake makes it totally worth it. The highlight of this trail was definitely the cozy fireplace at the Savijärvi, from which you have a very nice view over the lake. This makes it the perfect trail for hikers that want to enjoy the nature a whole day long and take a longer break or make their own lunch at the fireplace. Hiking shoes are recommended for this trail, and don’t forget to bring some mosquito repellent, as long parts of the trail go along lakes and swamplands. 

When visiting Mustiala for a few days, we also took the chance to test the medium trail in Tammela. Light shoes should do for this trail. While we did like the start of the trail at the wilderness center – which gives visitor the chance to buy a snack before hiking or take a break after having finished a trail – the second half of the trail leading over the sports institute was a bit boring. However, walking over the plankway was really fun and you could even include a canoe trip over the lake to your journey if you rent a canoe at the wilderness center! 

All in all, we enjoyed testing DigiTrail and it was a lot of fun! 

 

Teresa Aschenbrenner, Gwendolin Hartman ja Christian Kappich

 

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