Sunday, October 30, 2011

Late fall bike overnighter

Toni expressed interest in going out for a short bikepacking overnighter. I had nothing against the idea, and since the weather forecast for Saturday was not entire depressing we decided to give it a try.

Due to a somewhat pressed schedule we could not get going until after sunset. I had time to pack the bike during the day, though.

In order to save one and a half hour of time I took the car to Paimio, where I met with Toni. I unloaded the bike from the car and we got going about one hour after sunset. The first hour would be spent on small roads.

When we arrived at the Marttila area, the singetrack began. The nice trails were mostly new for us and I suspect the surroundings are excellent, though they remained unrevealed in the darkness.

The world is reduced to a small tunnel of light when riding in the darkness.

The first thing to do after arriving at the Lotikonkellari shelter was to start a fire. I took care of that...

... while Toni chopped firewood.

A single quality beer...

... and toasted sandwhiches.

A fire is essential now that the days are getting shorter (sunrise at 8:42 and sunset at 17:39).

Clear sky. Nice.

We went to sleep around 23:30. The temperature had dropped from about 8°C when we started riding to 4°C, which is quite warm for the season. We got up again about one hour before sunrise.

The shelter.

Sunrise. The weather proved far better than forecasted. Clear sky in the evening and very few clouds in the morning.

On the move again.

The beauty and the beast. The ugly one is mine.

It would take skill to get lost with trail markers like this.

The fall with many colors is gone. What is left consists mostly of shades of brown.

Ok, I confess. I have a new lens with a large aperture for the camera.

After a little more than an hour of trail riding, and some photography, we turned back home on small roads. Around 80 minutes of hard riding was left. The nice weather soon changed to the normal fall greyness and we even got some rain.

A great outing again. Thanks to Toni for the company. Check out Toni's report here.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Fall overnighter with the kids

We really wanted to go out on another overnighter before it would become too cold for the gear I have for the kids. However, we had only a few available weekends and the unusually rainy weather several times prevented us from going. The evenings and mornings are also getting increasingly darker, and while I realize that going out for an overnighter in the rain and darkness provides a good way to practice misery, I think the my boys won't appreciate that for another few years. Still, the rain finally stopped and the weather forecast showed a few days with no rain and crisper temperatures. Time for an overnighter.

We chose Mathildedal again for an easy location where there would be several possible fire places, should one already be occupied (which at this time of the year is unlikely). We got into the car a little over five in the Friday afternoon and started walking at 18:15. Sunset was at 18:30, so there was not much daylight available, hence the need for a fireplace (the everyman's right in Finland does not allow you to make a fire except in designated places).

After checking out the first possible tent site, we decided to continue to the one we used five weeks earlier. That site is on a small island accessible by a boardwalk and provides a view in all directions except north. The light disappeared rapidly and we soon had to put on our headlamps. I set up the tent and then started a fire for warmth, feel and to grill our sandwhiches. We spent a nice amount of quality time next to the fire.

The boys then went into the tent and read a little, while I took a few pictures. The moon was full just a few days earlier, so there was some potential for photography. This time I brought one of my bicycle lights to illuminate the tent, so there was no problem reading inside the tent.

We went to sleep some time between ten and eleven in the evening. I had brought a down west and down jacket to put on top of the kids sleeping bags for extra warmth, since the forecasted night temperature would be slightly low for the sleeping bags. The temperature did probably not go below freezing and was slightly higher in the tent, but the lake was close enough to keep the humidity high, making the air feel chilly. Luckily, the boys were warm and comfortable the entire night.

I got up and checked the weather a little over seven in the morning, but there was enough clouds to prevent any meaningful photography. Instead we just ate our breakfast consisting of coffee / hot chokolate and sandwhiches.

A little before eight (sunrise was at 8:07) I went out to see if the sunrise would be interesting. Often when there are lots of clouds, but still not a full cloud cover, the sun can give some interesting cloud colors for a short while.

For a few minutes the sky was on fire.

The tent spot.

The morning was chilly, so the boys got to use my down west and down jacket.

Surely I will be kicked out from the lightpacking communities now. The 80 liter Berghaus Extreme backpack was almost full.

On the move again.

The cranberries were finally ripe and very tasty.


Gissa bajset! ("Guess the poo", a recurring theme in a popular Swedish nature TV program for kids).

Chanterelles at the same place as last time.

Just a short walk back to the car. Again I had some real quality time with the kids and I think we can aim for something a little more advanced next summer. We've already talked about doing some walking in the Norwegians fjells...