Sunday, March 10, 2013

Out skiing

Still no crust strong enough for riding on, but there are of course other ways to move on snow. I wanted to go out on a little trip to enjoy the March winter, which can be the best part of the winter, and chose to do it on skis. When the weather forecast also showed cold and clear weather, I took Friday off from work to. The plan was to do some 40-45 km of skiing through forests and on mires.

I started skiing a little before four in the afternoon, after my wife drove me to the south end of Rehtsuo. After a short while I arrived at the mire. Somewhat surprising, I had to ski a little uphill to get to the mire. Usually mires are lower than the surroundings.

The weather was sunny and nice.

It was very easy skiing with the pulk (a Paris Expedition pulk) and a lot nicer than having a backpack.

Continuing across the frozen Rehtsuo mire. This kind of skiing is pure enjoyment.

Somewhere here the boardwalks of the summer trail should be.

Sunset at 18:15 was getting closer, but there would still be good light for onen hour after that. I thought I felt a little weaker than I should, which probably was due to my donating blood the day before. In my experience, donating blood affects you for several days afterwards and a bicycle trip with its higher intensity would probably have been a poor idea.

I soon ran out of mire and continued through a short forest section before crossing the fields near Vahto. At Myllysuo I again came to the forest. I looked for a place to stay, but recent logging made the area less desireable and I continued towards. It was now quite dark and at one point I thought I saw a flashlight in the middle of the forest for a second. Quite spooky. I later checked the map and there was a cabin about one hundred meter from where I was and my own light was probably reflected in a window of the cabin.

I continued and succesfully orienteered to a nice spot next to the Kangenmiekka mire and put up my tent a little before nine in the evening, drank two cups of hot chocolate and ate a few sandwhiches before going to sleep. It was now noticeably colder.

I slept fairly well through the night. It was a silent night, and the only thing heard was the cracking sound from trees in the cold. No owls (a slight disappointment), no wolves (I have yet to hear wolf howling) and still too early for the Black Grouse.

It started to get lighter before six in the morning. I took my bag of remaining sandwhiches into the sleeping bag to make them softer and slept for another hour. At seven I got up and had breakfast.

A eight o'clock I continued skiing. It was now a crisp -17C, but the sun would soon make it warmer.

My track from yesterday.

I explored the open mire of Kangemiekka. The pulk and the new skis made for very good skiing. I think this is the ultimate ski setup for the terrain I traversed.

The next section was through a forest. At one point I went through the ice crossing a ditch, getting my skis wet.

The water immediately froze to the skis preventing any glide and I had to scrape it off with a knife.

I continued though the forest and checked out some places that looked interesting on the map.

I mainly preferred to find my own way, giving more interesting orienteering, rather than follow the marked (summer) route.

The history of snowfall and thaws during the winter is visible on this fallen tree.

More snow art.

Just when I arrived at the Vajosuo mire and started thinking about lunch it started to snow and the wind picked up.

I had looked forward to a sunny, warm and long lunch break and even brought a book for the occasion. That didn't happen, but otherwise the lunch break was nice with a traditional Finnish liver casserole instead of the usual freeze-dried food. The advantage of having a pulk and not having to save weight...

After the lunch the cloud cover became thinner, but there was still some dramatic clouds.

Entering the Laidassuo mire.

Dinner for one.

Soon the clouds blew away and the sun came out. The wind kept the perceived temperature chilly, though.

Animal trail.

The Lammenrahka mire.
Nearing the lake Lakjärvi.

Still some open places on the Lakjärvenrahka mire.

The Lakjärvi shelter looked very inviting, but I still continued.

Finding a good tent spot at Lyyttärinkallio.

Pyttipannu for dinner.

It was to be a nice cold night.

I woke at half past five in the morning and decided to nap for a short while, but I overslept and it was almost half past seven before I got up. It was again a crisp morning with a temperature of -17C.

Mystery tracks near the tent. A largish animal had followed my pulk track and turned away only six meters from the tent. It went through the crust several times, meaning it was quite heavy. Unfortunately I took only this picture and thought the animal could be identified from it, but it is far from clear. The filter box is 90x72 mm, making the tracks quite large. Anyone know for sure?

Packing up and starting to ski at 8:30.

The Kurjenrahka mire.

A familiar rock. I've slept there twice.

I still had time for some skiing before catching the bus that would take me back to Turku.

I arrived at the bus stop with 20 minutes to spare. This had been an excellent trip in fantastic weather. It doesn't get much better than this, unless travelling a good distance to the big wilderness areas in the north.

And finally a video I made from the trip:

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