Friday, June 24, 2011

Midsummer overnighter

It's been a while since I last got out. My intention was to do a few overnighters in the beginning of June, since I would have needed the training of a few long and hard days for the Tahko MTB 180 km in the beginning of July. Some interesting developments at work and a failing wisdom tooth prevented me from that, though. I finally got out for two nights around the summer solstice. I would have preferred to take my fatbike to test out a few things before a longer bikepacking trip in the end of July, but I'm currently waiting for a new bottom bracket. The current one generates so much noise that it probably fails soon.

I quit work a little earlier on Monday, packed my bike and jumped on the train to Karis/Karjaa. The weather forecast promised mostly rain, which together with unusually large amounts of mosquitoes was a guarantee of at least some misery. I took with me full rain gear, except of course rain paints. The plan was to ride for at most four hours on Monday evening to a lake on the Hanko peninsula.

The trains are great with a free WLAN and the possibility to buy coffee and stuff. The bike space is very limited and cramped, though.

Arrived at Karis/Karjaa 18:06.

The sand ridge towards Ekenäs/Tammisaari contains both poor roads and great singletrack.


Arriving at my childhood woods west of Ekenäs/Tammisaari.


Wild rosemary (Rhododendron tomentosum)

A short boardwalk section at Långmossen.

No rain yet, but it's on its way.

I continued towards Vitsjön (white lake), one of three lakes with the same name in the area. The rain soon started. During the final bike pushing section towards my planned camp spot I started to wonder why some people use vodka to relax from the stresses of work. There should be no need to use alcohol for that: Nothing could be further from my thoughts than work, being surrounded by lots of mosquitoes and being rained upon.

The camping spot was nice and I started to put up the tent in the rain.

A refreshing bath.

Enjoying the evening in bug proof clothing. I've had the Montane Lite-Speed jacket for a couple of years now. It is very light (150 g), packs small and is windproof. The new Haglöfs Shield pants are equally nice, being windproof, light (184 g) and slim enough for cycling.

It soon started to rain again. I had pitched the tent in rain and no wind configuration, meaning it was very airy.

Indeed a nice scenic camping spot.

Sunset at 23:05 and sunrise at 04:00 meant that there was plenty of light throughout the night, especially since the sun only went a short bit below the horizon. It rained a lot during the night and at one point the wind picked up enough for me to release one of the lines keeping the windward vestibule high to tighten it down closer to the ground. This I could do from inside the tent without leaving my sleeping bag. Because of the rain I saw no reason to get up to watch the sunrise and instead opted to sleep until seven in the morning. The usual morning routines commenced...

My preciouss...

I delayed my leave a little to let the sun dry the tent (after first have wiped it with a PackTowl).

On the move again.

Another view at the camping spot.

I managed to ride for maybe one hundred meters, before being forced to push the bike for half an hour. It was wet and the mosquitoes were abundant.

Everything has its end and I arrived at a faint trail that soon became better.

Another Vitsjön. These anti-tank blocks were meant to stop Stalin's tanks 70 years ago. Despite some people calling my Fargo a tank, I managed to ride through here.


Making clean water. The Katadyn Hiker water filter still works great.

The anti-tank blocks continued through the forest on the other side of the lake...

More fortifications from the war.

There are also long stretches of ditches like this. Maybe also supposed to slow down the tanks?

From war to flowers: Moorland Spotted Orchid

I had planned to ride a small forest road along the border of the military training area, but the signs telling about them practicing with sharp rounds and danger, as well as guards on several of the roads, made me rethink that plan.

Lunch break. No mosquitoes due to the hard wind. The lunch was provided by Korpijaakko. Check out his blog for some really interesting outdoor stuff.


Getting a flat now and then is part of the cycling experience, though it does not happen very often to me. Riding a fully rigid bike does need very active riding and weight shifting, but in this case I did not see the sharp rock hiding in high grass and hence did not take the weight off the front wheel. A snakebite flat followed.

Västerby Storträsket provided a good place for a coffee break.

I continued back towards Karis/Karjaa with the goal of finding a nice tent spot fairly close to the train station.

Svedja träsk.

White lingonberry leaves. Albinism or plant disease?

Tent spot half an hour from the train station.

The Real Turmat series of outdoor food is still superior to anything else.

The next morning. I got up at 5:00 in the morning and took my time with the morning coffee and porridge.

At one point I noticed that time flied and packed up everything in a hurry to get to the train station.

I arrived at the train station just two minutes before the train was to leave at 6:45.

One hour later I arrived at Turku and rode home to leave the gear before continuing to work. A nice trip which covered about 165 km of bike riding and pushing, as well a two night outside, all for the price of one work day and train tickets.

A slideshow with more pictures.

A video from the outing.