Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Finally a ski overnigher

There have been limited opportunities to ski on natural snow in Turku during this winter, but I had hope for a better winter during this week when the kids have a vacation from school. Southern Osthrobotnia seemed to have more winter and I took the skis and overnighter gear with me when we went to visit the kids' grandparents. I did also take the fatbike with me in case there would be less snow than anticipated.

The weather forecast showed that the Monday/Tuesday would be a good night. Safely below freezing and a light snowfall. I hence packed my stuff and drove 60 km to Levaneva, which I've visited a few times before. It is a nice mainly open mire area. I had to leave the car some 4 km before the actual parking place, since there was too much snow on the road and my car seems to perform particularly poorly in snow. Maybe my next car will have 4WD.

I started skiing around sunset at 17:30 and had about forty minutes of road skiing before the actual mire area would begin.

Closing in.

A view from the bird watching tower.

Skiing. There was some 10-50 cm of snow on top of another 10 cm snow layer, which barely didn't carry the skis. Slow going.

The almost full moon is there, barely visible.

It got darker, but not really dark. There was a peculiar light. The cloud cover was thick enough that you could barely guess where the moon was, but it still provided a diffused light which enabled skiing without using the head light. It was very quiet. The only sound I could hear was from my own skis and a willow ptarmigan, which laughed at me a few times.

The hut I intended to spend the night in, after three hours. Just a little before that I skied into a hole from and old cellar, a fall of around 1.5 m. My lower back didn't like it.

I put a fire in the stove, even though the heat escaped almost right away.

Some sort of nasi goreng for dinner.

I went to sleep quite early and was much too warm in my winter sleeping bag. It was just a few degrees below freezing in the hut. My back ached the whole night and I noticed that I lacked muscle relaxants in the first aid bag, something I must remedy.

I got up around seven in the morning and made a simple breakfast of coffee and bread.

I got going again one hour after getting up. My back was now quite stiff and sore, but after a while I could ski pretty normally again.

The landscape was quite wintry.

I tried to make the orienteering a bit more challenging, but had no problem finding the spots of open mires I wanted to traverse.

Open mire seen again, after a tighter section.

The sun!

The kota shelter at Maalarinmaa. A nice place to spend the night, but too close to the car this time.

On the five km section on road back to the car I stopped to chat a bit with a hunter who hoped that his dogs would find a fox. I continued and saw a fox just a few minutes later.

I skied about 2.5 h before arriving back at the car and was quite satisfied with an overnighter in the wintry landscape.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

A short February overnighter with the kids.

The winter has been a roller coaster this far. We've had great winter weather interrupted by rain and too warm temperatures. Hence every opportunity has to be seized and this Friday was no exception. The weather forecast showed wintry weather with a night temperature around -10C and snowfall turning to slush and possibly even rain on Saturday afternoon. Since the kids have only been out a few nights wintertime, I thought it would be a good opportunity for a tent overnighter with them.

I decided to go to Marttila, since I know a nice tent spot there with a good view, and I hadn't been there for a few years. It would be slightly less than an hour of walking from the car to my tent spot.

There would have been enough snow for skis, though not the best pair, but it wasn't still too much for walking. On snow I prefer a pulk, unless the terrain is very hilly or the vegetation dense.

I immediately erected the tent upon arrival, and the kids started to occupy themselves while I started to prepare to promised pancakes.

My trusty old Primus Gravity MF still works great. I run it on canisters during the summer and liquid fuel during the winter. On liquid fuel it can't be adjusted to a really low simmer level, but otherwise it has been very reliable and has a low center of gravity, good power output and a nice wide flame. I've since bought a Primus Omnilite Ti with a silencer unit, which should be a really good stove, but it just doesn't work well on liquid fuel.

Pancakes are always appreciated.

After some reading we went to sleep.

Though the day is still quite short, we've gained two and a half hours of daylight since the winter solstice, which you can't avoid noticing. If you sleep a little longer, in this case to half past seven, you have some light for the morning chores.

The kids had to do with hot chocolate with their bacon sandwhiches, but I wanted coffee.

This tent spot is one of my favorite ones. It has a good view and is even better when the day is longer.

A nice mire.

We might have fit into the nearby shelter, but the place isn't as nice and the kids wanted the tent anyway.

Following a marked route.

Nice and wintry.

That's it. We packed our stuff into the car and I tried to start it. No success and I started to try to figure out an address or something to tell the service centre, which isn't so easy in the middle of the forest on a small forest road. Ten minutes passed and I tried to start the car again, this time successfully and the 45 minute drive home went quickly.