a kind of joy in the bogs of Estonia

Only a fool would approach a bog without due caution. And yet, three hours later, I was halfway across the Kuresoo experiencing a kind of joy in the bogs of Estonia.
To the extent I gave it any thought, my own antipathy lasted until I encountered a bog for the first time. My corrective was Soomaa, literally a “land of bogs,” set amid the nondescript farmlands of southwest Estonia. A national park since 1993, it’s a tranquil region patched with pine forest, where beavers swim in lazy streams and mushrooms proliferate along bosky walking trails. It is also, famously, smeared with some of the largest bogs in Europe. And it was here, one day last summer, that I found myself wrestling a pair of red snowshoes over my walking boots and teetering on the northern rim of the Kuresoo, a giant, putrefying sponge almost twice the size of Manhattan.

There to guide me on a traverse of the Kuresoo was Aivar Ruukel, a local expert, redoubtable in camo fatigues and a knee-length poncho. “People are always surprised when they see how beautiful it is,” he said, beckoning me onto the sphagnum

© Henry Wismayer, a travel writer and essayist based in London
Full text on https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/20/magazine/letter-of-recommendation-bogs.html?_r=1