Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Vigu Gathering 2015

It was time for the annual Vigu gathering, where current and previous students and instructors of the Axxell Wilderness and Nature Guide education get together. This time I had no course associated with the gathering (last year we had a food course and made an excellent dinner for 150 persons), but I wanted to take the opportunity to get a few exams done. I also was in real need for some cycling training, because of the Mammoth March two weeks later. Almost 1000 km in a kayak does little for the cycling power of the legs, and a flu that took three weeks to recover from had prevented any cycling training.

I started my ride to Ovanmalm in the late afternoon on Friday. It was a fine day, but not very warm.

I took about one hour extra on small roads, to extend the trip a little.

After the sunset, when I still had more than two hours of riding left, the temperature soon dropped to below freezing, which could be noticed by the ice in my drinking bottles. The riding still felt good, though it felt like I ran out of energy a little too quickly, which might also have had to do with the temperature. With one hour of riding left I had to visit a gas station to buy chocolate for energy. My energy levels were restored quickly and the last section went well. The distance was around 95 km.

I arrived to find the food course participants in place and after something to eat we went to the sauna. No real swimming this time, since the water was now rather cold. I spent the night at a shelter near the sauna.

I woke around 7:30 and had arranged everything to be in order, and therefore could make coffee and breakfast while still in the sleeping bag.

I had mentioned that I would sleep in my own tent, so I erected it in good time, in order not to take the sleeping place of someone else in the shelter. The food group managed to use only half of the needed coffee powder in their coffee, so I had to make another cup of my own coffee before walking to the place of the exams. The bird exam went without problems, as went the GPS and the invertebrates.

After lunch I had time for a stroll around the area. There are some real gems there.

The sauna is definitely one of the best I've been in.

I bought the Shimano MT-91 boots, a sort of hiking shoe with SPD cleats. Excellent to walk in and great on the bike as well.

These double shelters are great and I don't understand why we don't have more of them in Finland. The give good protection, while still having the outdoor feeling, and even a pretty small fire gives some warmth.

Back at the first lake people had started to arrive for the gathering. The adventure course group had put up the Jacob's ladder, which really is a lot harder to climb than one would think.

The price, a candy bag, within reach.

It became darker and the official program was to start.

Course mate Simo.

The ladder still gathered interest.

The students who had taken their final exams were called up and got special Thermarest Wilderness
Guide chairs and then I was, to my great surprise, called up to receive a diploma as the adult student of the year.

Soon there was food...

... and general socializing.

The evening ended with sauna. I withdrew to my tent around midnight.

The official breakfast time the next morning was 9 am, but I didn't have time to wait for that. I made my breakfast at the tent, before getting up to check out the morning and pack my gear.

Some others also got up in time.

I got going a little over nine. The weather was crisp and cold.

The riding went well until around three hours, after which I started to run out of energy. A 50 g chocolate bar didn't suffice to keep my energy levels up. I still had almost a half hour to a gas station, where I took a coffee and something to eat, but my energy levels had sunk too far and I didn't recover any more. I got home, but I hadn't bonked this completely for two years or so. Still, good training for the Mammoth March. And the Vigu Gathering was fun as always.

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