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.