Monday, April 13, 2020

River packrafting

Caj found a nice river for packrafting and we went to check it out.

The corona virus situation continues, so going with the family to visit the kids' grandparents to Ostrobothnia was out of the question during the Easter holidays. No actual restrictions would prevent this, though, other than common sense. The situation is generally not bad in Finland, but the society is still pretty much closed down, with the Uusimaa region closed, restaurants closed, people working from home, kids in home schooling and public gatherings of more than ten persons prohibited. Not being in crowds is not a problem for me, I'm enough of an introvert to not like those kinds of social situations.

My own hobbies and interests are not really affected by all of this, except for what the authorities recommend and which is also common sense in the situation: Stay away from other people and do not cause any extra work for rescue services and health care, as well as don't go to far from home. In my opinion that means e.g that going to Lapland for a week is totally out of the question. Should you get sick there, which is something you cannot know in advance, you would cause a load for the local health care, which doesn't have resources for it. Though the advice is stay home, people are still encouraged to go outside if you can do it without getting close to other people. For the most part in Finland, this isn't a problem, since there is space enough. Differing opinions exist, though, and e.g. British kayak guru Jeff Allen stays home to share the burden of restrictions with those who have no other option. We are not in that situation in Finland, but not thinking about theses things would in my opinion be a bit self centered.

End of rant. Caj Koskinen found a river not too far from Turku that looked very promising on the map. I, Caj and Katja Koskinen drove to Noormarkku with two cars, left one car there and drove a bit further away to our starting point at Vääräkoksi. It was now late enough that it wouldn't have been reasonable to do anymore paddling, so we just erected the tents and started to make dinner.

Excellent picture by Caj Koskinen.

A simple but nice dinner: A fried bacon and onions with crème fraîche wrapped in a roasted tortilla bread.

The laavu shelter was surprisingly occupied by a packrafting couple and their dog, so we didn't stay up for too long.

The night was a bit chilly with sort of a humid cold, the temperature being a bit under freezing. I got up at seven, by eight the other couple were gone and Caj and Katja soon got up. A slow and nice morning followed.

My packraft, a MRS Alligator 2S Pro XXL, tempering in the foreground.


Few real rapids, but occasional features to play with.

Picture of yours truly by Caj Koskinen.

The entire river had lot of beaver felled trees

A nice river with forest almost all the way.

The first river section ended in a lake with lots of birds.

Picture by Caj Koskinen.

After the Inhottujärvi lake the Oravajoki river followed.

After a short while we took lunch at a fireplace.

After lunch we just continued.

The first shelter we checked out for an overnight stay was on the wrong side of the river for evening light, so we continued. At some point the river changed name to Noormarkunjoki.

Shelter for the night at the Torajärvi shelter.

The sun went behind some clouds, so the lights wasn't as spectacular as I had hoped. The temperature soon dropped to below zero.

And hours of chilling by the fire followed. Beer, dessert and so on. Caj and Katja in the picture.

Picture by Cai Koskinen.

And finally pancakes.

The next  morning was white.

We got a fire started, with some effort. It turned out that the firewood in the wood shed was fresh, and as such didn't burn very willingly.

Maybe one hour of paddling left to the car.

It rained slightly, but that doesn't matter when having a drysuit.

And then we were back at the left behind car. Getting the other car and driving for two hours followed. Again an excellent trip in a surprisingly nice river. Thanks for the company.

Caj was again fast and made a little video.

For more packrafting resources in Finland, see Packrafting Finland and the associated Facebook group. In Sweden there is a fairly active Facebook group. Google should also find a lot of material. For packraft video inspiration, see Caj's YouTube channel, as well as Peter Persson's excellent channel.

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