I wanted to go on one final overnighter this year, to realize my (revised) goal of thirty nights out in 2011. The grey and rainy weather in December and November had not really invited to this sort of activities, but for the winter solstice dryer weather was forecasted. Since this would pretty much be my last possibility for an overnighter this year I decided to go, even though both Wednesday and Thursday were workdays for me. With a time of 5 h 43 min between sunrise and sunset, most of the outing would have to take place in the dark.
I left home a little over eight in the evening. The temperature was around freezing and trails not directly in dense forest had hardened up a little.
The few millimeters of snow or frost on the ground made everything a lot less dark.
My goal for the night was the shelter at Vaarniemi, which would be about 45 minutes away from my home the fastest way possible. I did however not take the fastest route, opting to ride some forest trail sections in addition to multiuse urban trails like this one.
I arrived at the Vaarniemi shelter around 22:30 and had planned to make a fire and enjoy it for a while before going to sleep. Unfortunately, the shelter was already taken, so I had to look for another alternative. I did have a bivy bag with me, so I just continued for a half hour to a ridge with good view to the sea in the south, hoping the the cloudy weather would give way to a clear and crisp morning. In clear weather the sky should begin to lighten up a good time before the sunrise at 9:38. By the time I went to sleep, a little before midnight, the stars became visible and everything looked great.
I slept fairly well until I got up around 7:35. Inside my bivy bag I had my 600 g down bag, a short Thermarest Prolite 4 and my down jacket between the sleeping bag and bivy. I was warm and comfortable in the -2°C night. I made a cup of good coffee from hot water in my thermos bottle using a light coffee filter mounted directly onto my cup and ate a small breakfast before starting riding. The morning was cloudy.
As I got closer to home the darkness gave way to the day.
I got home a little over nine in the morning after around one and a half hour of riding. After quickly unloading the bike and I rode to work and was only one minute late for our Daily Scrum-meeting.
That's it. Short, but nice.