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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Mid-March overnighter

We got first snow in late October 2012. November was mild without any snow, but then the winter started with a bang in the end of November. December was fairly cold and very snowy. January and February were slightly volatile months, but still very much wintry. Now, enter to March, and the winter's end is getting near. Or is it? No! This month is shaping up to be the greatest month of this winter. We have had even more snow and several cold nights, with temperatures as low as -25°C here in South-Western Finland (winter's record was in Taivalkoski, -38.2°C). And what is really incredible, looking forecasts there is no end in sight!

It was clear to me that on Friday it was time for an overnighter, and the Wilderness of Marttila was on my mind. I did a great overnighter there last year too, on 6th of March. -25°C was again forecasted for the night. On Friday I got an email from Peter that he was also going to Marttila, but this time with skis. Anyway, the manuscript was the familiar one: two guys, cold night... :)

I started riding from home right after the sunset.

The temperature was going down rapidly, but riding felt awesome.

On the trail to Karhunmäki laavu (shelter), from where I would continue to Hirvikallio where Peter's campsite is.

To my surprise, I was able to ride almost all the way to the shelter.

There are not many signs from the Karhunmäki shelter to Hirvikallio, because the route crosses the mire on duckboards. Therefore I was a little unsure about my direction, but I knew that Peter wasn't far away, so I called him and actually I could hear his voice from the distance.

Peter had the tent ready...

...and he made and ate pancakes!

I was hungry too, and I was prepared with a freeze-dried meal, but I was a little envious about the pancakes.

The sky was clear.

Soon it was time to go to sleep. Peter's bigger tent is already familiar to me, we spent two nights with it on the Ice Journey trip in 2011.

To make sure that I would be warm during the cold night, I had the full winter sleeping system with me, including the new Brenig outer bag.

And warm I was. I slept the night fairly well. The morning was very cold.

And the morning was very beautiful. We deciced to do a little photography session on the mire before breakfast. Click on the photo to see them in full screen!

Back on the campsite for the breakfast.

As the sun was rising higher, it was getting noticeable warmer. We packed our stuff and headed to the mire.

The plan was to follow Peter's track, but they weren't strong enough, so I rode on the side of the groomed ski track.

Peter continued to his car, while I enjoyed the stunning day on the mire. It takes some skill to ride on the side of the ski track, but it's possible and fun.

Then I followed my nightly tracks back to the shelter.

And more great riding to the forest road.

A short break, higher tire pressure, and I headed home.

What a great trip, March at it's best! Thanks again Peter for the company, check out his blog report here.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Skiing of Immaisi

I finally purchased my first classic style XC skis last week. I've had skate skis from 2001, which have seen a very little use. Living in a Nordic country, and in  a place which has several groomed ski tracks, it's makes sense to have classic skis. Actually, It's a little bit of shame that it has taken so long to re-enter the world of skiing. When I was a child I did a lot of skiing and have nice memories from it.

The weather was crappy in the middle of the week, so I had to wait for the weekend with better weather to try the new skis. My brother asked me if I would like to join him for the Skiing of Immaisi (Immaisin Hiihto), a ski event in Paimio's Suksela village. The answer was of course yes, although it has been over 20 years since my last classic style skiing.

The weather did a complete turnaround on Saturday, as the temperature dropped safely below freezing and snow was falling heavily. On the Sunday morning it was still snowing and there was about 15-20 cm of new fluffy snow, and temperature was -7°C.

The 'battle' of the day, Finland vs. Norway. My skis on the left side, the Karhu Ski Centra Classic Sr. with Karhu Unica poles.

My bro Tatu cleaning the soles of his ski boots.

As usual, I had one of my cameras with me. My plan was to not get this too seriously and take some photos. For the first two kilometres my skiing felt slightly awkward but then it started to feel much better.

The route of the track was really great, with nice shortcuts through forests and open areas of the fields.

It snowed from start to finish, and the conditions were fairly slow, but my skis worked fairly well.

The best section of the track was in the end with the beatiful scenery of the Valley of River Paimio.

According to RunKeeper, the 14 km loop was 13.39 km and it took me 1:42:39 to complete.

In the finish we enjoyed hot juice and sausage.

And a nice medal for a souvenir.

It felt good to be back with skiing after so long break, and I hope to do this more often in the future.

Thanks Tatu for the company and logistics!


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