Sunday, June 17, 2012

Pirkanmaa Tour: I

After a long break from bikepacking (over two months), it was finally a go-time. This time there was a bigger plan: me, Peter Nylund and Hendrik Morkel of Hiking In Finland decided to do a trip together in the Pirkanmaa area, around the city of Tampere. This was to be exciting: a new area to be explored, and meet the ultralight evangelist who certainly have some UL tricks to show.

The train is nice way to travel, but in the recent times of economy, the railway company VR has fallen to all kind of problems, which usually means late trains etc. And surprise surprise, our train was 30 minutes late! A good thing was that they have a 2-in-1 discount campaign going on so the tickets were cheap.

Peter already planning his next trip:

The train had further difficulties in Toijala, so we had to wait about three hours in Tampere. In the meantime I charged my phone in the railway station. The new 'ultra capacity' battery was just the opposite. Our going looked more like the TV show 'Amazing Race'.

My fatbike got a lot of attention again:

We were not the only cyclists on the train, and the new InterCity trains doesn't have much space for bikes:

But a good thing is that you can charge a phone and use a laptop if you want:

Finally we arrived in Parkano and met Hendrik:

Checking the map:

We found very soon ourselves in a military area. A military police escorted us to other road:

The gravel roads and views were really nice:

After a mandatory asphalt section we arrived at the National Park of Seitseminen. We ate hamburgers, chatted, and planned our route.

Refilling water bottles...

And then to the trails...

Checking the right direction:

The trails in the Seitseminen are absolutely fantastic! Not too difficult, lots of twists and turns, ups and downs. Hendrik in full speed:

And the forests are beautiful. The early evening sun created great light:

The boardwalks were also in good shape. Peter in his element:

Seitseminen is not only beautiful, it's magnificent:

Hendrik's bike is great looking with the color matching Porcelain Rocket packs:

Yes, we all like photography...

And riding continues...

Every stop was worth it, even though horrible amount of mosquitoes were biting us:

A little break in Kovero. Seitseminen is really a paradise for outdoor people. Great trails, several places to have drinking water, huts, lean-to's.

Back to the gravel roads that were excellent:

The evening was setting in:

Finally at our camping site:

The mosquitoes were really giving us a hard time. But we had proper gear for protection:

Hendrik the firemaster:

Our intention with the campfire was to evict some of the mosquitoes:

An evening meal and tea after calorie-burning session:

Hendrik helped to set up my mosquito net in the lean-to. How well I would sleep? To be continued...