Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Overnighter with the kids

The kids wanted to go to Mathildedal for an overnighter again, which suited me fine. I didn't want to go with them in the worst bug season and it then took this long to find a suitable weekend. Mathildedal is about one hour from Turku by car, unnecessarily much in my opinion, but the area is great. Compared to the areas north of Turku, there are a lot more lakes, which I happen to like.

The weather forecast promised good weather and one of the warmest nights of the summer. We packed the backpacks, got in the car and started walking about 18:30 in the evening.

The preferred camping spot was not much over two kilometers from the car, but when going out with the kids the distance is secondary. And the progress is far from linear...

There are obviously not enough stones in the lake.

The wild rosemary is starting to get some color.

The bog bilberries were unusually sweet and tasty. Usually they just have a diluted blueberry taste, but this time they tasted great.

Nearing the tent spot. I had actually planned to seek out a place north of Matildanjärvi, since I assumed that the best spot at Puolakanjärvi would be occupied, but we met a couple of day hikers who told us nobody was there.

We had some fishing gear with us, but since the kids do not yet handle the gear independently we did not do much fishing. I had my hands full with putting up the tent, doing some photography and preparing the food.

It was a beautiful evening.

Pancakes, a most noble outdoor food.

After the sunset a surprisingly large number of mosquitoes appeared. It was a lot worse than in Lapland three weeks earlier. The kids went into the tent while I took some more pictures, testing my new camera.

We went to sleep sometime between ten and eleven in the evening and slept until seven in the morning. The night was warm and I just had a thin silk liner instead of a sleeping bag. The kids slept well in their fleece blankets.

The morning wasn't entirely bad.

I don't see much enthusiasm over the porridge.

Exploring the surroundings unnecessarily close to the water while I took down the tent and packed the backpack.

Heading back.

Taking pictures of cranberries.

More berries.

A short break with müsli bars.

White Waterlily (Nymphaea alba).

It is still at least a month until the cranberries are ripe, even though some have a nice color already.

The fall is coming.

A small island in Matildanjärvi.

Almost there.

We arrived at the car just as it started to rain. The outing was great and the kids have been asking (numerous times) when we will go again.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tour de Pöyrisjärvi part 2

The first part of the write-up is here.

Around 4:30 in the morning I was woken by the sun shining right on my face. With the side panel open there was nothing but the bug netting in between. I took a photo of the beautiful sky and then shifted my position in the tent to get some shadow and slept for another three hours.

I now noticed that the bugs had bitten me quite a bit on the legs the previous evening. During the whole trip there were very few mosquitoes, but on this place and that of the following night there were midges around. Not enough to be really irritating, but this was the kind that bite without you noticing it before it's much too late, like the following morning.

I made my usual breakfast and started riding a little before nine in the morning.

The route first took me up to Palolaki.


And then down again.

It was fun going down, but I went a little too fast and didn't have time to avoid a very sharp rock in my way. I heard the stone hit the rim and immediately braked to confirm the snake bite puncture.

Pumping up the a fat tire takes its time.

The route continued soutwards towards Vuontisjärvi and was occasionally very rocky. When crossing a creek I found this nice flower:

I filled my water bottles in the creek and went up the following hill for lunch.

After lunch the landscape closed in and the trees became taller and taller. Near Vuontisjärvi I saw two guys fly fishing and two paddlers dragging their canoe past a rough part of the river Pöyrisjoki.

I arrived at Vuontisjärvi for a 45 km road section to Kalmakaltio. My map showed a store in Peltovuoma, but it was fortunately closed. Otherwise I might not have been able to resist the temptation to buy a Coke, something I don't drink otherwise. In theory it would have destroyed the self-supported nature of the trip, though in practice it would not have mattered much.

It started to rain quite a bit and thunderstorm closed in. The thunderstorm went towards southeast while I rode more in the northeast direction, so I managed to avoid most of it. The temperature quickly went down to about 10ºC (50ºF), but I had no problem keeping the warmth in shorts and the very thin Haglöfs OZO rain jacket.

Again I pushed on for a few hours more than would have been really comfortable (notice a pattern here?) and came upon a suitable camping spot around 19:30. Still, I wasn't as tired as the previous days and it actually felt like from now on the body had adapted to the insufficient energy content of the food and really turned up the fat burning mechanism of the body.

The dinner, a Real Turmat Chicken in Herb Sauce, tasted very well and was complemented with a Ridderheims Red Devil beer sausage afterwards. Delicious. During the evening and night the weather changed between sun and rain showers, but the amount of rain was still quite small.

I got up in the morning and made my usual porridge and coffee. By now I was pretty fed up with the porridge, but had no other option than to eat it. Maybe rice porridge from some sort of rice flakes and milk powder would be a good variation.

The riding started with fairly dull weather, but no real rain. The goal for today was to arrive at Maaterlommol, which would mean a long day. The trail was more like a road in the beginning, so I made good speed.

At this time of the year, the heather brings a lot of color to the landscape.

I still took the time to enjoy the landscape.

Soon the sun came out and brightened up the landscape.

Beach riding.

There was even sand without a beach.

Some (for me) unknown toad species.

I soon met a backpacker who had been walking a week on mostly the same route I was going today and tomorrow. I was the first person he met in a week. He confirmed my assumption that the south part of Maaterlommol would offer a very good camping spot. He also recommended a camping spot between Pöyrisjärvi and Näkkälä for my final night in the field, one which I later would find very nice.

Nearing the Norwegian border the landscape again opens up.

I took lunch here. For lunch I had a British Fuizion rice pudding provided by Korpijaakko. Bad timing, I should have taken a Norwegian Real Turmat now that I was in Norway again.

It felt like it took longer to boil the water now. The wind was probably the main reason for this, but the thick layer of soot on the pot might have contributed.

The blueberrys were ripening, three weeks later than in the south part of the country.

The trail continued along the border between Finland and Norway. The fence visible on the picture is not the border, it is a fence meant to keep the reindeer on one side of it.

A fairly flat open landscape.

A view into Øvre Anarjohka National Park in Norway.

The trail continued along the reindeer fence for a few hours until it turned towards Kalkkujärvi.

This section had some good parts, like the one below, but was in places also very rocky and hard to ride.

And then there was mud.

Bog water is good for the skin.

In the evening I entered a sandy region again.

A slight detour up to Dihkkecohkka.

The view south with Pöyrisjärvi far back.

The ordinary place to cross Maaterlommol.

I continued to the south part of Maaterlommol to find the nice camping spot. Again it was getting a little late and I came to have another twelve hour day.

It was nice indeed. I put the tent some 30 m from the beach.

I took a refreshing bath in the lake before dinner. The water was actually not very cold. After dinner I ate the last of my beef jerkeys, something I will bring more of the next time.

The night saw some rain and hard wind, forcing me to close down the tent fully until the morning. At this point I had mostly run out of trails to ride and had no hurry anywhere. Kare Eskola had told me about a possibility to continue westwards and at some point turn south to Kaaresuvanto, but I concluded that it would have been a little too tight. Hence I had a lot of time and decided to enjoy it slowly. After the morning coffee I went out for a walk in the surroundings.

My tent spot from another direction.


Checking out the route for today. The map showed no trails, but I found a good route starting with the sandridge going inwards from the right in the picture.

Máderjohka would be no problem to cross.

My tent is in the middle of the picture.

I decided to eat lunch before leaving. For lunch I had very special plans: A Real Turmat Pasta Vegetariana, which have an excellent tomato sauce taste, spiced up with pieces of a Ridderheims beer sausage with chili grade explosive. I was actually warned in the supermarket about this one, but it turned out to be great. In addition to the normal stuff it contained habanero, ginseng, taurine and guarana. Just what a mountain biker needs!

This turned out to be the best lunch of the entire trip.

Around noon I started riding. After the crossing the creek I soon came to the sand ridge.

Clearly I was not the first one here.

The fatbike worked well without a trail.

A pair of long-tailed skuas in their natural environment...

... an environment I was clearly not a part of according to them.

An interesting looking creek. There are obviously a lot of rocks under the bog.

Easy terrain.

After a while I came to a trail again and turned south. Pöyrisjärvi seen from west.

More and more trees crept into the landscape as I continued.

After I little over three hours I arrived at the camping spot recommended by the backpacker. I put up the tent, made coffee, studied the map and finally spent almost two hours listening to the fantastic melodies and orchestrations of Luca Turilli from my smartphone, not asleep but not quite awake either.

After resting I went out for a walk, going up a hill to get reception for calling home to my family. The evening and surroundings were nice.

Dinner time. Until now I had eaten only Real Turmat meals, with the exception of the Fuizion rice pudding, but I had one Travellunch Chili Con Carne with me and decided to try it. It was a true disappointment after the Real Turmat meals: It tasted artificial, the bag did not keep the warmth and it did not even seem to reconstitute properly.

My last night went without problems. Friday was here and I was to return to the civilization. But not before breakfast.

The "road" between Pöyrisjärvi and Näkkälä.

Arriving at Näkkälä.

I decided to take the road to Hetta, which was about 40 km of asphalt, instead of riding the trail I had ridden last Saturday. I wanted my impressions from the trip to end with the landscapes of the last two days, instead of that of the Hetta-Näkkälä trail.

I arrived in Hetta early in the afternoon and rented a room at Paavontalo. After a shower I went for a pizza. A plate of fresh vegetables tasted fantastic, as did the beer, but the pizza was a slight anti-climax. While it tasted great with lots of garlic and blue cheese, I found it hard to eat the entire pizza. Though I had fantasized about eating lots of food, my body had adapted to the smaller portions of the trip. Before going back to the room I bought some food for the evening and later managed to eat a delicious large piece of smoked Atlantic halibut.

My bus left for Rovaniemi at 7:30 on Saturday morning, took some four hours and then I had a long wait for the night train to the south in Rovaniemi. I got on the train, slept and got up around five in the morning to change train in Tampere, but was told to go back to sleep since the train was four hours late. I got back home just before noon on Sunday.

Here is a slideshow with a lot of pictures.

How do you sum up a trip like this? In one word, just fantastic!

I will discuss the gear I used in a final installment.

A late addition, the video: