The crust conditions of last week's overnighter were fantastic. So good, in fact, that the thought of doing it again was inevitable. I studied the map and found a good route that would traverse four or five rather large open bogs in a circular manner. The crust is strong enough only in the open areas, hence the need for open terrain. The place is around here. In addition, I would estimate that snow crust strong enough for riding a bike only occurs once per three or four years and then only for a little over a week. The current weather forecast showed a time window of four more days for this. All this led me to take a vacation day off from work and go out riding.
I started from my home in Turku 17:00. Ahead of me was 40 km of mostly roads to the start of the crust riding. This took me almost 2.5 h. I had mostly head wind and the Pugsley is no racing machine on road.
Arriving at the start of the Vajosuo bog around sunset at 20:05 (I love daylight savings), I had some 700 meters of bike pushing through deep snow...
...until the bog opened up and the crust became nice and strong.
At first the back wheel broke through the crust a lot, but after releasing some air from the tire I stayed on top of it.
It got darker.
After crossing the bog there was a short bike pushing section before I arrived at the Vajosuo shelter, where I was to spend the night.
I started a fire to grill my delicious sandwhiches and to melt snow for drinking water.
I was in no hurry and went to sleep some time before midnight. The next morning I started to wake up when it got lighter around six o'clock. The thermometer showed -11ºC (12ºF).
The usual coffee and morning porridge. I always arrange the stuff I need in the morning to be at an arm's length from me. That way when I wake up I just put on the down jacket and keep the lower body in the sleeping bag, and can handle the breakfast while being totally warm and cozy.
My goal was to get going around sunrise (7:05) and I almost made it. The morning was nice and crisp.
I explored every corner of the bog.
Island hopping. I naturally had to check out the small island on Vajosuo as well.
Leaving Vajosuo. First some bike pushing through breaking crust...
... followed by a nice hard field...
... and finally almost 2 km of mostly rather hard bike pushing through deep snow.
Finally the Laidassuo bog opens up for riding.
After Laidassuo there was again a short traverse to the next open bog.
I'm not sure about the name of this bog. It could be Lammenrahka, but the map is not clear on this.
I found a nice spot for making lunch. This time I tried a Blå Band meal. The list of additives was a bit long, but it tasted quite ok. It still had the freeze dried taste like all the other alternatives (except Real Turmat), but I could eat it again. My favorite outdoor meals are the ones from the Norwegian Real Turmat series, but most shops in Finland have stopped taking it in, since it is so ridiculously expensive. I also melted more snow for water, this time on the stove. The water melted on the open fire tasted rather smoky, a trait I like in a good Scottish single malt, but less so in water.
No lunch is complete without coffee. The filter thingy works great.
Yet another bog. Takaniitunvuori in the background, where many short breaks have been spent when riding in the summer.
The lake Lakjärvi.
Another lake, Savojärvi.
The last bog section, Kurjenrahka.
Only a short bit of bike pushing to a road the leads home.
Just 40 km of road riding back to Turku. The precipitation, which consisted of the entire spectrum between rain and snow, did not bother me much. I did ride a little too hard, in order to get home in time for my wife to go to her Tuesday hobby and not leave the kids home alone. When arriving I was somewhat nauseated and was probably pretty near a total bonk. Nothing that an hour of sleep and some food didn't cure, though.
A slideshow with more picture is found here.
And a video:
This concludes the winter season for me. It has been a fantastic winter, with the highlights being the full moon overnighter in February, the ice adventure and these two crust riding overnighters.