Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Free online maps of Finland

It hasn't been happening that much during the last month or so, but I decided to add few recommendations regarding to maps of Finland for foreigners and why not for others too, who might be in a need of checking a trail or even print some free maps for their trip. is maintained by Metsähallitus. From this page, it is possible to print topographic maps in sizes A4 or A3, and there's a possibility to add different kinds of layers to the map e.g. national parks, national routes, wilderness huts, state-owned hunting and fishing areas, and much more. This service is definitely a good choice for any type of outdoor enthusiast, but note that all the newest and smallest paths may not be found, as this is a free service and won't be updated so often. is maintained by National Land Survey of Finland. This site has a quite often updated topographic map and aerial image window, which is though quite small, so it's not that usable for printing maps. Still, it's a good service for checking some small details. is a more complex page, where it's possible to look for several different kinds of thematic maps of Finland not only the topographic or the road one. There are a huge variety of themes/layers available e.g. reverse color infrared aerial images, property borders, soil types etc. There is a free registration system and once you've got that it's possible to create map files up to the size of 1000x1000 pixels.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Scout hut renovation III

On this weekend, we proceeded in building our new porch at our scout hut. We didn't quite finish it yet, but we still managed to do quite a few things. What comes to the new porch; the exterior is now somewhat done (only some finishing touch is still needed), the door and the windows are still to be mounted, the interior is still in a need of wall and ceiling panels and some insulation material for the ceiling.

For the insulation, we used a Finnish wood fiber based insulation material called Ekovilla, which is made out of wood fiber separated from recycled newspaper. We chose it mainly because of two reasons;

A) we didn't want to deal with the glass dust coming out of the most commonly used glass insulation material
B) we wanted to be eco-friendly

Our work party also finished doing the new roof for our storage and some finishing touch for the chimney of our sauna.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Our paddling story on the local scouting magazine

As we had planned, we wrote a short diary kinda description of our paddling trip for publishing it on the official magazine of our scout district, which is called Heppu (freely translated as "Dude").

To be honest, the editorial staff of the magazine somewhat didn't quite succeed in the way we would have wanted it. They took away few best parts of the story and failed in putting only my name as the author of the story and pictures, which is bit sad, but hey you can't always win... In the end, the outfit is though quite nice.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Scout hut renovation II

Since we had nothing else to do on Saturday, we decided to continue the porch project at our scout hut. We just worked couple of hours in the afternoon, but we still managed to finish the front wall and we finished preparing the roof for the coming slats and metal roofing, as we covered the roof section with boards.

In a few weeks time, we'll most probably get it and a bunch of other things done as we're going to have another more official work party weekend in the end of October.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Scout hut renovation I

We spent this weekend at our scout hut doing some renovation work. As I mentioned earlier in spring, we're going to build a whole new porch. We drove there on Friday, but the actual work begun on Saturday by fixing the foundations of our firewood shelter and carrying all the lumber to the hut, as a guy drove there with his fully packed trailer of lumber and wooden fibreboards for windproofing.

On Saturday, a few other leaders/parents got the metal roofing done for our sauna in a blink of an eye, while we were building the frame of the porch. We kept on working with the porch until Sunday afternoon, although most of us left on Saturday. Luckily, we still have another weekend to finish our porch project in the end of October.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Signs of Autumn

I've been picking mushrooms during the last and this weekend, and it most definitely seems like autumn is beginning. Although, temperatures are still quite high, but it has been more rainy, and that's when mushrooms will begin to flourish. And some golden chanterelles can still be found, although the best season for those has already pretty much gone.

A week ago, we got few liters of funnel chanterelles and about a liter of golden chanterelles from a forest in Sipoo.

Today, we got almost 10 liters of funnel chanterelles, a liter of black chaterelles, few golden ones and an orange birch bolete nearby Nuuksio national park. So, there will be more than enough mushrooms for the next winter.

Oh and finally, I made some more black crowberry juice and it's damn tasty, again...

Friday, 2 September 2011

Another trip to Lapland

On Monday (22nd August), I suddenly found myself riding an overnight train towards the city of Rovaniemi. Actually, I had known that I would go there for quite a long time, cause I was about to head towards Lapland due to our Northern Finland course, which is all about the special characteristics of forestry in Lapland.

During the next day, we visited a sawmill, which is located in Kuusamo. Afterwards, we headed to a campsite nearby Oulanka national park, where we were going to spend few overnights in simple campsite lodges. We spent the 24th studying mires, but we also had a chance to visit one of the most famous rapids in Finland called Kiutaköngäs. The rapid itself looked pretty nice, although the water level was quite low, and we even spotted a brown trout jumping in the rapid.

On 25th, we started heading further north towards a field station of our university's forest department, which is located in Eastern Lapland nearby the village of Savukoski (well actually still 100 kms away). There's still an 8-kilometer hike on a path from an old border patrol station before you'll find the field station, so it is located pretty much away from everything. We spent the 26th doing group works about old grown natural forests, fell habitats and birdlife. On 26th, we had some spare time, so we decided to take a look on the border zone, which is only few kilometers east from the field station. The border zone is marked with yellow tapes, which are attached to a line of trees.

On 27th, I decided to hike up the highest of the nearby fells with a student friend of mine. The fell is called Sauoiva and it is located 615 meters above the sea level, which is nothing compared to the Alps, but somewhat high on the Finnish scale. The total length of our route was approx. 20 kms.

A rough overview of our route

From 28th onwards, our bus took us further north, where we spent the last days learning about the rights of Sámi people, and forest regeneration in Northern Lapland. And it happened to be rainy pretty much for the rest of our excursion, so we didn't plan to do anything special in outdoor-wise.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Lapland part III

My journey in Lapland is about to end, as we're going to drive back southwards tomorrow.

On Wednesday, we stopped by a place called Äkäsmylly, which is a historical mill nearby the village of Äkäslompolo. It has been a communal mill for grinding grain in the past. It is situated by a small rapid of Äkäsjoki river.

And for last, but definitely not least, we strained our "Love potion" (black crowberry juice) on Wednesday. I have to admit that it tasted pretty good. The proportion, we used, was 3:3:3 (the original recipe can be found from Lapland part II). Finally, we got about 3,5 liters of juice, which is still quite sweet, so we mixed it with cold water (1 (juice): 2 (water)).

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Lapland part II

Kesänki fell

On Saturday, we went for a day hike around a nearby lake (Kesänkijärvi), but we actually continued a bit further way east towards a hut (Latvamaja), which is open only in winter. The plan was to go and look for some cloudberries, although we knew that there would only be few, if any. On our way, we decided to go for black crowberries, which we picked a few liters. Black crowberries are great for making juice. We'll find out whether it's true or not...

On Sunday, the original plan was to hike up the "Devil's gorge" (Pirunkuru) towards the summit of Kesänki fjeld, but it happened to be rainy during early morning hours. In this case, we decided to postpone our day hike, cause the rocks on the path would have been slippery. Finally, we decided to visit another nearby spot, called Pakasaivo, which is a deep lake formed by the ice age and it has been a sanctuary of Sami people. This place is most definitely worth visiting, but unluckily we forgot to take our camera with us, so there are no photos available.

Later on during Sunday, I started to make something to drink out of our black crowberries. I found the easiest looking recipe from a local "what to do during summer" -brochure, and it's actually called as "Love potion" by the locals:

2 liters of water
2 glassfulls of smashed black crowberries
2 glassfulls of sugar

Mix sugar into water, and let it come to boil. Let the mixture cool down, and pour it on top of the smashed berries. Cover the bowl, and put it e.g. under your window (needs sunlight) for three days. Strain this mixture and let it cool down. Enjoy...

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Lapland update

For now, I've been in Lapland since this Tuesday. From Wednesday onwards, I've been helping at my uncle's cottage construction site, where we've been taking some left-over materials away, chopping some boards and tree trunks for firewood.

Luckily, we've also spent some time in the nature, so I've got something to write and show on my blog. I just have to admit that the scenery couldn't get any better here in Finland. During this evening, we went for a short walk and saw few great spots, and we even saw a reindeer passing closeby. I'll bet there will be more stories and pictures to share, but this is it for now.

And finally, even the temperature is getting towards the right direction, cause it's around +5 C degrees during evenings. It's pretty nice, cause I got really sick and tired of those +30 C summer days in southern Finland.

Kellostapuli fell

Monday, 1 August 2011

Hiking in Nuuksio national park

A rough overview of our route

It hasn't really been happening anything during this summer in outdoor-wise, but during the last week I got a call from few scout friends, if I had time for a hiking trip to Nuuksio national park. I hadn't planned anything else outdoorsy, so I decided to go with them. We planned a few spots worth visiting from a Finnish ultralight blog called Grammari , but otherwise we started from the bus stop at Kattila (bus no. 85 from Espoo) and we were going to end up to Pirttimäki (and take bus no. 86 back to Espoo).

On Friday, I would say that the weather was pretty much not good for type one fun, cause it rained almost the whole day, so we decided to call it as type two fun on the fun scale. We started heading towards Ruuhijärvi, and then towards our final destination of the day, Kattilajärvi. The rain finally stopped during the evening and we had a chance to chill out without having our waterproofs on, while we were cooking some dinner. We even went for a swim before we decided to call it a day.

The view from Pääskyskallio cliff

On Saturday morning, we had some porridge for breakfast, and we filled our water bottles/bags at the nearby hut. Then, we started heading towards Pääskynlahti, where we hiked up to the highest point of the cliff (Pääskyskallio), where we chilled out for a while whilst enjoying the great outdoors with some really fine weather. Afterwards, we headed to Sultingträsk, where we had our lunch and just chilled out for a while. Our next spot was the nearby pond (Hynkänlampi), and its cliffs, which were again a nice spot to chill out and take some pictures. Finally, we headed further south to Sorlampi, where we spent the next night.

Our lunch break by Sultingträsk pond

My friend's diy lean-to shelter

On Sunday, we only had breakfast, and started heading towards the final destination of our trip, Pirttimäki.

During the weekend, we were also talking about the true meaning of ultralight backpacking. We ended up planning some gear for the future, like few "must have things":
a shorter and lighter sleeping mattress (maybe a 120cm one)
a diy Primaloft blanket/sleeping quilt

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Paddling 206 kms and testing my DIY ultralight pants

Finally, our paddling expedition (6 - 10th June), which we've been planning for a while, has been paddled through. And what comes to my DIY ultralight pant project, I just finished making them before our trip, so I could wear them on daily basis (check them out from my profile picture).

We started our trip from a small place called Porras, and during the first day we had to paddle through two lakes before getting to the starting point of Loimijoki river. There was a pretty nice downwind for the whole lake section and some of the waves came over the decks of our kayaks. From the beginning of Loimijoki river, we started to paddle towards two nearby towns, Forssa and Jokioinen. During this section of our trip, we had to face three mills, which blocked the river so, that we had to carry / cart our kayaks to get past them.

The second carrying spot of Forssa, a nice old mill

The third carrying spot at Jokioinen (and probably the most tricky one), "How to fit two tandem kayaks through this locked gate, which is the only way to go?"

Then, we only needed to paddle towards the town of Ypäjä. A few kilometers before it, we found a nice place to spend a night at. So, the first day (41 kms) of paddling was gone.

In the beginning of our second day (Tuesday), we ate some rye bread and started paddling towards Ypäjä, where we stopped to buy some groceries and to fill our water tanks. We also had some porridge for breakfast at the same spot. After getting everything done, we started heading towards the town of Loimaa, where we faced two mills blocking the waterway. Our goal for that day was to paddle to a waterway blocking mill nearby the town of Alastaro. Finally, we got there and had some evening exercising, cause we had to really carry them over without using our cart. So, our second day (40 kms) of paddling was gone.

The first dam and mill at Loimaa, where we had some lunch on Tuesday

Getting ready for the third day (Wednesday morning)

In the beginning of our third day, we had no idea, where that day was going to take us. For breakfast, we had a similar plan as on Tuesday, and we paddled the first kilometers to the town of Alastaro, where we bought some more groceries and had some porridge. From Alastaro, we started heading towards the next bigger town of Huittinen and there were two mills blocking the waterway. The first one was quite a big electricity production plant, which we skipped by carting our kayaks through a nearby farm. Afterwards, we had lunch at the crappiest place ever, which seemed to be a really nice sandy beach, but it turned out to be really soft mud/sand. After spending quite a while washing our feet (not to get all that mud into the kayaks), we started heading towards the next carrying spot. Carrying and carting through a small sawmill with some advice from a local motor-biker, and we were able to continue paddling. After we had paddled for a while, those last few kilometers of the day were supposed to be easy and nicely flowing rapids, but then shit happened. The water level was far too low and we got stuck on top of rocks, so we had to cart our kayaks for a couple of kilometers on a road to skip all those rapids. Finally, we found a nice spot to go back to the river through someone's backyard. We got a permission to do that and we decided to ask whether it would be possible to camp that night on their grassy yard (after we had seen their kayaks : D). They even let us use their shower, which was pretty nice after all what we had experienced within the last few hours... The distance of that day stayed under 40 kms (37 to be exact).

On Thursday, we started heading towards the ending point of Loimijoki river, but on our way there we had to stop for shopping groceries. Finally, we ended up to the point, where Loimijoki and Kokemäenjoki rivers meet. From that point, we started paddling towards our final destination (the city of Pori). Kokemäenjoki river is far wider, so there were even some islands in between of its many channels, and the landscape was generally much nicer due to larger forest areas. We navigated our way through the tightest channels and had our lunch there. After we had paddled the "loop" before the town of Kokemäki, we had to cart our kayaks around quite a big dam, which was though pretty easy, cause there was a good road to use for carting. During the evening hours, we paddled through the town of Kokemäki and few kilometers after it we decided to call it a day (45 kms of paddling).

In the morning of our last day, we started to realize that our trip is really about to end, but we didn't know that it was about to be the best day in paddling wise. After having breakfast, we started heading towards the town of Harjavalta, where we filled our water tanks before we needed to cross another big dam. Again, there was a pretty good road to use for carting. Then, we started to paddle towards the town of Nakkila, and we were thinking about the rapid to come for the whole journey (whether there would be enough water...). The rapid of Arantilankoski was quite great, cause there was enough water and the current was quite strong too, so we just enjoyed the ride (after paddling over 170 kms without any doable rapids). And of course there was another rapid just a few kilometers away, where we had lunch on an island just by the rapid. The trip was really getting towards of its end, cause there was only the town of Ulvila to paddle through, and then we ended up to the city of Pori, where we decided that we had earned some kebab meat with french fries. Finally, we paddled few kilometers away from the city center, where we landed our kayaks and decided to call it an expedition (206 kms paddled).

Washing our pots after Friday's lunch

We got picked up by a car from that point and we started heading towards the town of Klaukkala to return the kayaks, and then towards Helsinki.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Paddling arrangements II and scouting

On last Friday, we had a meeting with the sponsor of our paddling expedition. We basicly just checked out the tandem kayak model and how we can fit all our stuff in those kayaks. It seems that there should be plenty more space than we supposed, although the kayaks are PE ones, which are about a meter shorter than the fiberclass ones.

Saturday and Sunday were spent at our scout hut by just hanging outdoors, sleeping in a big army tent and ripping our entry module off for some more renovation to come. The plan is to rebuild a corner, which is badly rotten. Underneath the surface boards of the entry, we found quite a few old bees' nests.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

DIY ultralight pants

I've had this pant project going on for a while with some ups and downs. I started to figure out some good pattern for these ultra light windproof pants already during the first half of 2010. At first, I checked out a Shelby's freeware pattern for underwear/tights, but the pattern was far too weird for pants and my project stopped for a while.

During this spring, I found a freeware pattern designing program, which included some built-in patterns. There happened to be a pattern for pants, in which it was possible to choose a pocket-less version with a rubber band waist. This time, I also built a paper version of the pants to see whether they'll fit (well it's a bit different to build them out of the daily newspaper than ripstop nylon). For now, it seems that I might have those slightly transparent ultra light pants on me during some day in the near future...

the newspaper version

And of course, I had to add a few photos of some past projects...

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Paddling arrangements


We've been planning this year's paddling expedition (see the story of 2010) with our scout group since last autumn. Finally, it starts to look like more and more sure that our 200 km paddling expedition is going to happen. In the beginning of this year, we sent some emails to a couple of paddling companies and outdoor magazines. Luckily, we got one answer from a company called Welhonpesä Ltd., which promised to support our paddling trip by letting us use their tandem kayaks and gear during our trip. It's just simply awesome...

The "thing" is that we are going to paddle with tandem kayaks from Tammela (South/Southwestern Finland) to Pori (Western Finland) through two rivers, starting from Loimijoki and then continuing Kokemäenjoki all the way to the coastal line of Baltic Sea in Pori. The length of the trip is approx. 210 kms and we are aiming to paddle it within five days, so the goal is to paddle about 40 kms a day.

A rough overview of the route

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Some more telemark skiing

This time, I'm going to report a short story of our teleskiing day in southern Finland. Generally, today was just quite awesome what comes to the weather point of view. Sun was shining nicely in the beginning (around noon) and temperature staying bit above 0'C degrees, but the slopes were still in pretty good condition, cause there weren't that many skiers around.

During the first couple of runs, we spent on memorising "hmmm, how should those telemark turns go smoothly again..." Finally, we started to remember the basics after few runs, and then we spent time on rehearsing those. All in all, quite some development has happened, but there's still a lot to do (looking those "big boys", who can really rip it fast with smooth looking edge turns).

After our pizza break, we skied a couple of runs taking some pictures and few videos of our teleskiing. We still skied few runs after our multimedia sessions, but then it was time to call it a day.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Snowy Tuesday

After a few days of above zero degrees and wet snow, a snowfall hit during the early morning on Tuesday. I tried to figure out something to do, but it would have been shitty to cross-country ski, so I took my snowshoes out of their bag. Then, I went to nearby woods for a quick and fun session, which included some "climbing with snowshoes" and few "locked heels" drops into fresh and untouched snow. Well, for the "climbing" part I had to choose another route, cause the first one was too icy. Finally, the one I climbed had some old and well packed snow, which "bent" into nice juggy hand holds after a bit of fisting.

The first line, which was bit too icy...

And by the way, I just realized that my blog is going to have its first anniversary on 13th February. Quite a bunch of things has happened during the first year and luckily the statistics show that some people have found/read this blog (a few times in a day, on average)

Saturday, 5 February 2011

First bits and pieces of telemark skiing

For now, I got a chance to practice telemark skiing for the first time. I've never really been so much into downhill skiing, but being an enthusiastic cross-country skier, I decided to give it a go. Well, it's not that easy and won't go so smoothly, but I'll most probably go and practice more during this winter.

During our journey back from the ski resort, we realized that we didn't take any photos, but hopefully we'll remember next time. So there would be some stuff to watch on my blog, not only this "Finnish rally driver English" to read.