Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Packrafting Liesjärvi

The corona situation continues in Finland and everyone is to stay home, though being out in the nature where there are few other people is encouraged, as long as it happens reasonably close to home and and in a safe manner. Rescue services and hospitals do not need any extra load currently.

Caj Koskinen, one of the main figures on the Finnish packraft scene, contacted me for a trip to Liesjärvi on packraft and I naturally wanted to join, as I had no obstacles this time. Though I live about one kilometer from Caj and his wife Katja, our paths had not previously crossed, even though we roam in the same woods.

We got started from Turku a little over five in the afternoon, and drove for about one and an half hour, dropping one car off and drove to our starting point at Liesjärvi. Packing the rafts commenced.

Probably less than an hour of daylight left when we started paddling.

Picture of yours truly by Caj Koskinen. The others had Alpacka rafts, I was the only one in an MRS.

We were a group of four.

I had a waterproof Ortlieb backpack on the foredeck. Though I'm tall enough to see well over the backpack, I think I will pack it a bit differently next time. Probably half of its content could have been inside the packraft and the backpack compressed down a lot. This Ortlieb Atrack 45 is an excellent backpack. Being adjustable for different torso lengths it fits me perfectly and is very comfortable on the back when riding an mtb. It will be my bikerafting backpack.

Getting darker when we arrived at the camping spot in the National Park.

Up with the tents and hammocks.

And then it was time to eat, drink a little beer and chill around the campfire for well past bedtime.

The night was coldish, probably around -4°C, and the morning nice.

We got going again a little after ten.


I think the MRS Alligator 2S Pro XXL (who came up with that name?) suits me very well. No real whitewater yet, but on flat water I was very much positively surprised by how fast it was. It felt like it glided in 5 km/h without any work at all, except reasonably good paddling technique. Pushing a little harder it went faster, and I wouldn't be surprised if I could have a cruising speed of 6 km/h without the wind affecting anything. Picture by Caj Koskinen.

Katja and Caj Koskinen.

Shelter after tailwind that had turned to side wind.

Even a little ice on the lake.

A short break before starting the 12 km Turpoo river.

The river started out with a nice forest section.

There wasn't any difficult about the river, so I didn't get to try any real whitewater with the packraft.

Taking a pause after a 300 m portage section around a rapid, that probably wouldn't have been possible to paddle even if it would have been allowed.

The next section went through farming country...

... and some boggy forest...

... before coming out on the Kuivajärvi lake.

There was quite a bit of headwind on the lake, but by staying close to land we managed to avoid most of it.

At the camping spot and laavu of the Saari Folk Park around five in the afternoon.

Because a slight miscommunication, or at least misunderstanding on my part, I didn't have good food for a second dinner. I could have made do, but with the car being a little over 1 km away and after that a store withing 8 km, I went to buy something better to eat.

And drink.

And the evening was again nice.

The morning was crisp.

We had breakfast and started to walk to the car around ten in the morning.

An excellent trip and nice introduction to packraft touring for me. Thanks to everyone for the company.

Caj made a video about the trip.

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