Sunday, February 15, 2015

Levaneva Ski Overnighter

In the middle of February the schools have their spring break, which in Finland is timed to the statistically probably best winter week. I took a few days off from work and went with my family to visit the kids' grandparents in Ostrobothnia. The weather forecast was also wintry enough that I brought some skiing gear with me. A short skiing overnighter to Levaneva, which I've previously visited once by bike, was planned. I tried to get some fellow Vigu students with me, but still ended up going alone.

I started skiing around sunset at five in the afternoon on Saturday and immediately started skiing on the open mire.

The light was quite dramatic with very dark clouds in the west.

I had a tent and the rest of my gear in my pulk, which I much prefer compared to carrying a backpack.

A selfie.

In the other direction the sky had a different color.

There wasn't much snow on this part of the mire, but it was packed very hard and the skis stayed on top of it.
It got darker. The orienteering was becoming difficult, since I hadn't remembered my compass. About two hours after the sunset it was dark enough to make using the map without a compass difficult, and I had to check my smartphone GPS now and then. I first checked out a possible tent spot just outside the nature reserve, but discarded it since it was not scenic enough and instead continued to a laavu shelter. (As a sidenote, there is a really good free offline topographical map over Finland, which works very well with the Android OruxMaps app).

The mire and the occasional small waterbodies were mostly frozen and safe. On one occasion I actually came upon an open one, but detected it two meters before getting wet. The final approach to the shelter also crossed some ditches and I almost got wet once.

My surprise was big when I arrived at the shelter after 10 km and three hours and found no laavu there. Instead there was this small shed there, which was open for occasional overnighters. I generally prefer to sleep in a more open shelter like a laavu, or in a tent or just a bivy bag, but this one looked quite cozy and I decided to stay there.

There was a small stove in there...

... and a table with chairs.

I made pancakes, the most noble of outdoor food.

The stove was nice, but didn't actually make the shed any warmer, since it was not very tight and the warmth soon disappeared. I slept on the loft and was happy for my winter sleeping bag.

The next morning all the water in the shed had frozed solid and it was surprisingly cold, about -10C inside. According to the closest weather station it had been -19C during the night.

It was a splendid morning...

... especially after the morning coffee.

The shed and the sunrise.

Excellent and crisp weather.

Animal tales.

It was excellent skiing and the skis stayed on top of the snow.

Remnants of the summer, a cloudberry leaf.


Mire trees.

The next mire is visible behind the trees.

Finally some other tracks. I was quite surprised that the area seemed to be so little frequented.

Yet another selfie.

My waxless Fischer E-77 skis from the end of the nineties still work very well. Some people say waxless skis only give a good grip for a few years, but I disagree. I still have excellent grip with these skis, and they certainly have seen action, having been my skis for if necessary almost snowless conditions for many years now.

I got through the small forest section and only had one kilometer of mire left. The Paris Expedition pulk also work very well. It is big enough for about a week of self supported solo trips and very light. The Ikea bags work surprisingly well, but are not waterproof. For a longer trip I would probably back them up with some sort of ground cloth or similar. I've also contemplated getting the Fjellpulken poles for it, but I don't think anything is better than just ropes for going on ice and flat mires.

There was another shelter 600 m from where I parked the car. It probably would have been an excellent place for the night, but it would have felt stupid to be so close to the car.

I skied about 10 km and a little less than three hours in the morning and got back in time for my mother's lunch. An excellent overnighter again and a good way to make the best of the winter, which might not be here for long.

No comments:

Post a Comment