It took this long to get to do the first overnighter for the year. Sickness and some family events prevented me in January. This time there was something special planned, though. Peltsi from YLE, the Finnish national broadcasting company, contacted me and this resulted in me, Toni, Peltsi and the photographer Juha going out on an overnighter during a cold February weekend. I managed to take some photographs, though this was not a priority during this outing.
We arrived at the Vajosuo parking place about 9:30 on the Saturday morning. The thermometer showed -27C (-17F) when we started unpacking gear.
Filming packing the bikes.
On the move, starting with the Vajosuo trails, which were in hard and fast shape.
A really nice winter day. In open places there was about 25 cm of snow.
Excellent fast trails.
Peltsi riding a...
Cold weather ninja outfit. The face mask with a simple heat exchanger works well.
The Pukkipalo trail was no option, since the forest road section had too much snow on it to be rideable. Instead we rode directly to the Savojärvi trail, which was in good condition.
Mounting a GoPro camera.
There were some snowmobile trails on Kurjenrahka, probably meant as a base for skiing tracks. It was possible to ride on them with a fatbike without leaving any mentionable tracks, as opposed to walking on them.
Don't forget the small details. The wild rosemary is not entirely covered with snow.
I'll have to do an overnighter on skis here soon.
Packed for a cold overnighter.
Big Fat Larry track.
From Kurjenrahka we continued back towards Vajosuo on the hiking trail. It was rideable with a fatbike, but it was very hard work and in many places technically demanding to stay on the very narrow and uneven trail. It took almost two hours to cover the 5 km leg. The weather was nice, though.
Still riding after the sunset.
The Zefal Arctic bottle keeps the water in liquid form suprisingly well, though it is no real thermos bottle. The weak part is the lid. It freezes much too easily and is very hard to open. Here I managed to get the entire inner bottle out when trying to open it.
We arrived at the Vajosuo shelter sometime around 18:30 and immediately started a fire. This time we had lots of food. Though the bikes were packed with everything needed for an overnighter, Juha had parked the car just 1.5 km away and brought a good amount of food. We ate with good appetite after a rather hard day.
Time to go to sleep. The temperature stayed around -22C (-8F) during the night. I was warm and comfy in my Marmot Never Summer sleeping bag with a Ridgerest and short NeoAir under, but tt took more than an hour for my feet to get warm again. My footwear was totally inadequate for the temperatures and I got a slight frostnip on three toes on my right foot. That same foot has seen some frostbite before and is hence more sensitive. I need to take care of it better and get some warmer footwear in the future (*).
At around six in the morning Juha got up and started a fire. His sleeping bag and ground pad were not warm enough for this temperature. It was nice to wake to a warm fire for the rest of us, though.
The short filming session in the morning took us out on the Vajosuo bog.
Peltsi rides the narrow uneven trail on top of boardwalks without problems.
The Sunday morning saw varying weather with both sun and snowfall.
Just a short bit left.
This was a really nice winter overnighter. Thanks a lot to Toni, Peltsi and Juha. Check out Toni's report here.
The film should be shown in the outdoor program Erätulilla, though it is not clear when.
(*) Update: The actual frostbite damage seems to be quite small, but it does mean that I have to be very careful with the toes for the rest of the winter. I went to my local Partiovaruste outdoor store and bought these electric insoles to make sure that I don't get the toes cold during the healing process. I will also have to look at some warmer boots. The current ones were warm enough in similar weather last winter, but is it possible they have shrunken? The don't seem to have as much space for socks anymore. Anyway, this was a very stupid error for me to make.