Monday, December 31, 2012

A Midwinter Night

The last overnighter of the year took place one week after the winter solstice. I spent the a week around Christmas away with my family, visiting relatives and returned on Friday afternoon. My original plan was to go on an overnighter on Saturday evening, but the weather forecast changed dramatically and I made plans with Toni to go on Friday evening, though it meant that I would have very little time to prepare and pack my bike.

I started riding on my local trails around seven in the evening. It was about -6C and full moon, but in practice it was too dark to ride without lights in the forest.

After my local trails I rode on roads around 25 km to meet with Toni in Paimio. We soon found ourselves on a uneven walked trail on forest road that had not been plowed. Toni lowered the pressure in his tires, while I still didn't have too much trouble with my slightly bigger Big Fat Larry tires.

The bike was packed slightly differently this time. The seat bag contained my winter sleeping bag, a Marmot Never Summer Long, the left Salsa Anything Cage had my cooking gear and some food, the handlebar drybag held the Alpkit Hunka XL bivy bag and a short NeoAir and some clothes. The frame bag contained a thermos bottle, as well as extra batteries for the lights and some bike repair stuff. On my back I had a Lowepro Photo Sport 200 AW with camera gear, a down jacket and some other clothes.

The route was not entirely rideable and we spent more than one hour pushing the bikes, the last section through some 30-40 cm deep snow.

The clock was almost eleven when we arrived at our destination, the highest point in Paimio, with views in all directions and not too close to any light pollution. I was now very hungry, since I hadn't really eaten anything since lunch, and I ate an outdoor meal from BlÄ Band.

After that it was photo time, taking advantage of the full moon. The temperature was now -8C, with a forecasted low of -11C.

It was a half hour after midnight before we went to sleep. Sometime during the night moon disappeared behind a layer of fog. The night didn't feel cold in my winter sleeping bag, even though I didn't think it was cold enough to warrant two sleeping pads. I was fine on just my short NeoAir.

I started to prepare my morning coffee at 8:15. Since I used most of my thermos bottle water for the meal before I went to sleep, I had to make water from snow. I eventually got coffee, though my old MSR Pocket Rocket stove was a little slow in this temperature.

Toni had a full thermos bottle of water and made do without a stove.

In the cold temperature, the moisture had crystallized on just about everything.

My poor old Canon S90 had been out taking time lapse pictures (ISO 400, f2.0, 15s with 50 s interval) until its battery died.

Toni enjoyed the crisp morning.

Going back. I tried to ride the downhill parts, but had to give up eventually.

Toni accepted that the bike had to be pushed this section.
A tractor had been out making an uneven, but rideable, surface for us.

Putting more air into the tires before the road section home. I had around 25 km to ride, which proved to be enough. With only a small sandwhich for breakfast I again got the opportunity to ride with a very low energy level.

My final trails just outside my home.

I got home in the early afternoon after a very nice trip. Thanks, Toni, for the company. Check out Toni's report here.

I even managed to finish a video of the trip, thanks to the miserable weather outside, and I think it turned out quite nice.

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