Lauhanvuori mountain is an ancient island
The top of Lauhanvuori Hill, at 231 metres, rises about 100 metres above the surrounding lowlands. That is why this region is sometimes called the Lapland of Western Finland. On top of the hill there is about 1 sq.km area which has never been under water, and was exposed about 10 000 years ago after the Ice Age. In the beginning it was a lone island in the middle of open sea.
During the sea stages, water washed the slopes of Lauhanvuori Hill. The waves, ice and wind shaped the landscape rising from the sea. The marks can still be seen as various formations on the hill sides: shoreline terraces and embankments, erosion banks, and gullies made by melting water. The probably best-known formations are the barren stone deposits of the ancient shoreline. These hundreds of metres long and tens wide belts circle the lower parts of the slopes. They are the only places where it is possible to see the sandstone bedrock of Lauhanvuori. Elsewhere it is covered by thick layer of moraine, turf or sand.
The sea water did not extend to the peak and the soils were not washed away. That is why the top of Lauhanvuori Hill is fertile, but the slopes are now barren and low in nutrients.
Ruggedness and old trees
At the foot of the hill, barren bogs formed in the depressions on mineral soils. With just a thin layer of turf, they give Lauhanvuori Hill its individual appearance. In the spring, the mire is full of noises made by the Western Capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) and the Common Crane (Grus grus). The cackling of the Willow Grouse (Lagopus lagopus) can also be heard.
The lichenous lower slopes are dry and barren, and the stunted pines (Pinus sylvestris) grow there with difficulty. This is a habitat for northern species, such as the Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla), and the Bohemian Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus) which usually spends summers in the north, but lives at Lauhanvuori also during the summer. There you can also hear the Mistle Thrush (Turdus viscivorus) singing, and in the summer nights the churring of the European Nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus). An interesting plant is the Yellow Bird's nest (Monotropa hypopitys) , which decorates the slopes in the autumn. This non-chlorophyllous plant receives nutrients from the roots of the pines.
On the top of the hill, the vegetation becomes more luxuriant, deciduous trees and the spruce (Picea abies) dominating it. The Moose (Alces alces) eats the top leaves of the Aspen (Populus tremula) and the Rowan (Sorbus) saplings. In lush places grow the Wood Crane's-bill (Geranium sylvaticum), the Chickweed Wintergreen (Trientalis europaea), the Bracken Fern (Pteridium aquilinum) and the Mountain Melick (Melica nutans) .
The location of Lauhanvuori at the Suomenselkä watershed region can be seen in the vegetation; both southern and northern species are found there.
Especially on the south side of the hill you can see so called family spruces. In the middle there is the mother spruce, the branches of which have become rooted in the ground, forming like a family around the mother tree. These rare spruce formations can usually be seen on sunny slopes, where there is lots of space for the spruce to grow a family around itself.
The stoat at Lauhanvuori
Quick moving stoats live on the slopes of Lauhavuori and a lucky hiker can spot one on the trails or in the camping site’s wood storage. Stoats mainly hunt small rodents, but will also catch small birds, insects, molluscs and frogs for food.
The babbling of streams and springs
The Lauhanvuori Hill, being 100 metres higher than its surroundings, stops the rain fronts, which is why it rains at Lauhanvuori more than in the surrounding areas. The rainwater is absorbed fast into the rough surface of the hillsides, under which the sandstone bedrock is easily permeable to water, so the rainwater goes deep down into the groundwater. Lauhanvuori forms plenty of groundwater, and therefore the water resources of the area are excellent.
On the lower hillsides the groundwater come close to the surface, and shows up as beautiful springs and brooks. The surroundings of the springs and brooks are like oases in the middle of the dry rugged environment. The vegetation includes several rare spring and mire species. In the clean spring-fed brooks lives the Brown Trout (Salmo trutta fario), which hides in the shadows of the bank when you walk by on the duckboards.