Sunday, April 29, 2012

A night in April

Finally I got away on an overnighter again, although a fairly short one. April has mostly been spent with a flu, not allowing any strenous outdoor exercises. But this time the weather seemed fine and I felt good enough to give it a try.

I started at 18:30 from my backyard. The bike was packed with only the necessary stuff for one night and only a single sandwich for the evening and some coffee for the morning. No stove, but instead I took a thermos bottle with hot water.

Riding my local trails...

... before arriving at the 24 km road section.

There is still not much spring green,  only the early spring flowers like the liverwort.

Arriving at the trail that should lead to my planned camp site.

Bushwacking. The map showed probable sparse forest and fairly even terrain, but the reality was different. After a while I turned back, since this was no shortcut. A half hour was then spent looking for the tripod that was lost during the bushwacking.

The sunset was coming closer and I still wasn't sure about the campsite. I continued to the trail I had seen on the map. It was supposed to lead close to a nice spot with a good view of a bog opening up right in the direction of the sunrise. Unfortunately, the trail was overgrown and it was not possible to ride or even walk on it, so I had to choose another spot.

A while after the sunset I arrived at another spot and set up the tarp, after having ridden about three hours. I bought the cheap Alpkit Rig 7 tarp earlier this year and this was the first time I used it. I don't see this becoming my main shelter, since a month from now the bugs will be out and the Tarptent Double Rainbow will be my main shelter, but a tarp has other uses as well. And it proved to be worth it over the simple bivy bag this time, since there was a little rainfall during the night.

The evening was clear and nice. Most birds went silent when it got dark, but the Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago) with its peculiar sound, held out a lot longer.

The night was quite silent, though through the night I heard the characteristic sound of the Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) flying over me. A couple of times I woke to some light rain showers and there was also some wind, but I had pitched the tarp in the right direction to give good shelter from the wind. It started to get light around five in the morning, with the sunrise being a little before six. The birds started to sing when it got light and I could hear the usual species. Nothing special, though. A few cranes arrived just as I got up around sunrise and I could also hear black grouses lekking.

Morning coffee. Coffee was my only breakfast this time, since I wanted to assess my fitness by riding with a good energy deficit.

Under the tarp.

At seven o'clock I started to ride.

Storm damaged on the trail.

A big one.

The Vajosuo bog looks even more depressing in black and white.

Turning back home, a ride on mostly roads.

After a while the I could feel my energy level bottoming out and for the last hour I was a zombie. The fairly strong headwind didn't make it any easier, either. I arrived home a little before eleven. Though this was a somewhat unrealistic test, since you still need some amount of carbohydrates to keep the fat metabolism going, I still feel that my fitness has taken a big hit during this winter, because of a lots of flus and almost no skiing due to the frostbitten toe.

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