Do you like to contemplate immense things, those that make you aware of your own littleness? If the answer is affirmative, in Finland you have the opportunity to feel vertigo when you look closely at Kummakivi.
Kummakivi in Finnish means 'Strange Stone' and it is in fact a true whim of nature. An authentic silent show in the middle of nowhere to delight those who love to walk through the woods, get to where the cars cannot reach and with the shoes full of dirt.
Kummakivi is an immense rock placed in balance on top of another smaller one since the Ice Age (about 11,000 years ago). What makes it so special, apart from its immensity, is that it has been resting for thousands of years on such a small base compared to its surface that it seems that at any moment it will slide and crush everything in its path.
A visitor to Kummakivi. Photo by Foreigner.fi
Walking under Kummakivi is an exercise of humility. Why? because the mother of all Finnish stones reminds us how insignificant we are next to the vagaries of nature. And best of all is that it is a little visited attraction, so if you go looking for it alone -or with your family- you will probably enjoy its contemplation without anyone else around. If you have children you can be sure they will love it.
Seven metres wide, five meters high
Kummakivi is located in the middle of a forest in the western side of the municipality of Ruokolahti, near the border of Puumala, in the Finnish famous region of Karelia (Karjala, east of the country). For the locals it is a mystical place, which most in the area have heard about but few have seen.
The rock is more than 7 meters wide and five meters high. It is estimated to weigh about 500 tons. It rests on top of a soft convex surface made up of stones poured from the rainwater.
The supporting surface is quite small, but the weight of the rock itself gives to it a firmness that makes it impossible to be moved by human force. It has been protected as a Finnish picturesque place since 1962. To make it even more wonderful, a pine grows on the rock's surface since the decade of the 1980s.
Kummakivi is not a well publicised place. To get there, the visitor must find the right road in Ruokolahti (better if it has a satellite navigator) and squeeze it to the point where the asphalt disappears and becomes a narrow dirt track (Kummakinventie). Soon will reach a crossroad where the car can be left. Then, take a path marked by a wooden sign.
Kummakivi. Photo by Foreigner.fi
Better with trekking shoes
The visitor must still travel a 500 meters walk, sometimes in ascending direction. Do not worry, it is not much, it will take less than ten minutes. Sometimes the terrain will be firm, sometimes wet, so it is advisable to wear comfortable trekking shoes.
If the visitor does not deviate, soon finds him/herself in a small descent. At that moment, just when will start wondering if s/he has lost the right track, the huge stone will appear in front of the eyes.
It is worth to do the effort and go to see Kummakivi. If you are planning to do it, it will probably useful to know that its coordinates are: N=6818585.328, E=576101.029 (ETRS-TM35FIN). Before travelling there it can be a good idea to search the place on a map of the National Land Survey of Finland (Maanmittauslaitos), you can do it HERE