Friday, June 14, 2013

The first bikepacking overnighter

It was time for the first bikepacking overnighter for Tor, who turned eight in March. Though the boys haven't ridden that much singletrack yet, it seems like they are getting the hang of it this year. Still, it takes some practice, since the singletrack here around Turku contains lots of technical sections, which can be quite difficult for kids and beginners. In addition, bikes for kids are usually also quite heavy, probably mostly due to the price point. The boys have Kona Hula 24" bikes, which are fairly ok, but they still weigh as much as my XL sized fatbike (with the summer wheelset).

Anyway, this week I went out for a short overnighter pretty close to home with Tor. We started from our backyard and rode a short bit on the multiuse exercise trail...

... before entering the singletrack.

Stairs like these are more difficult for kids with their relatively heavy bikes.

Easy singletrack went well.

Going a bit off-trail...

... to erect the tent.

The dry pine forest doesn't contain that many colorful flowers. Most are small and dull, but there are some exceptions, like Melampyrum sylvaticum (couldn't find a name in English).

I wanted a hot brew and needed some twigs for the wood stove.

Tor then escaped the mosquitoes into the tent...

... while I had fairly bugproof clothing and had my hot beverage.

Some evening reading...

before going to sleep.

The night was pretty warm at 12°C. Tor had a new down summer sleeping bag, which he had half open, while I tried my new 600 g Enlightened Prodigy X quilt. At this temperature it was much more comfortable than my equally light, but warmer, summer sleeping bag.

The morning was nice and clear and the mosquitoes mostly gone.

Breakfast consisted of coffee and hot chocolate as well as Digestive bisquits.

I mostly recorded video during this outing and most pictures are just stills from the video stream, which is visible in the slightly lower quality. (The two really poor picture are stills from the GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition.)

Finding something to do while daddy takes down the tent.

And then we started riding again.

A little mishap.

Continuing home without problems.

A successful little outing again, according to the participants.

And finally, a little video from the trip:

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Savojärvi backpacking overnighter

In the middle of May the summer arrived. It came rapidly and in just a two weeks the summer changed from having been at least one week late to being maybe a whole week early. I was unfortunately sick at the time and could not enjoy it to the fullest. After not having even a small flue since the fall, I did get a slight flue for a week followed by fever and  middle air inflammation. As a result, I was off the bike for three weeks, though I did commute to work by bike. Now I'm slowly getting back to doing some training for TahkoMTB 180 km. A little training is certainly necessary, since two years ago it took me 14 hours to complete the race.

I had plans for several overnighters in May, but due to the aforementioned reason it did not happen. I had also hoped to get one or two overnighters with the kids before the mosquitoes would be out in numbers. Now that the kids' school was out for the summer we decided to give it a go, despite the rather hot weather. The area chosen was the lake Savojärvi, a 30 minute car ride from home.

We started walking a little over five in the Sunday afternoon, beginning with the new trail on the north side of the lake.

Lily of the valley.

The progress was slow, since the kids saw so many interesting things, this time a beetle being attacked by ants.


The bog rosemary has already had its prime time.

Something else interesting.

Unusually big ants.


A bridge.

A young photographer.

The wild rosemary lights up the bog...

 ... and is also liked by insects.

 Continuing. The lake is now visible again.

Cloudberry blossom.

The trail continued along the lake.

Lake Savojärvi.

A wetter section of the bog.

It was still hot, around 27°C (80°F), so the water tasted great.

After two hours we arrived at Rantapiha and spent some time in the water cooling down. The water was rather warm, probably around 20°C (68°F).

After this little break we continued for a short while until we came upon a suitable place to put up the tent.

The mosquitoes were now becoming more active and we were happy to retreat into the tent for dinner.

This time the dinner was tortilla. While pancakes, as we all know, is the most noble outdoor food available, I thought cold tortillas would be better in this hot weather.

After dinner we all had something to read.

I went out a little before sunset, which was at 22:50. This time of the year it doesn't really get dark during the night. The number of mosquitoes was now very high

The night was warm and the coldest temperature was maybe 15°C (59°F) around sunrise at 4:10. We didn't bother to bring any sleeping bags. The kids had fleece blankets and I had a silk sleeping bag liner.

The next morning. (Rather cute, I would say).

The insects tend to go to the highest point in the pyramid tent.

The breakfast was hot chocolate/coffee and flatbread.

The temperature rose quickly in the morning, but there were now only a few mosquitoes active

The bug inner tent would actually have sufficed this time. For this kind of use the Golite Shangri-La 5 is an excellent tent. It has lots of space inside and is big enough for a family of two adults and two kids and it weighs only 2.7kg with some extra groundstakes.

We got going again at half past eight.

After a while we arrived at the Kurjenrahka bog at the south side of the lake.

More interesting things. I think this was the insect that looked like a small pine needle.

Wild rosemary again.

The forest trails had been "improved". I guess it is ok in a place like this where there is a lot of traffic, but I'm still somewhat ambivalent about it and from an mtb rider's point of view the trail is a lot less interesting.

I don't think the old trail was in too bad shape.

A short break.

Incy, wincy spider.

The final boardwalk section.

That was it. A nice little overnighter in very warm weather. And I wasn´t even terribly late for work at Monday.