Saturday, 26 April 2014

A year in review

It has been quite a while since I've been posting, but nevertheless it's better late than never, right. At the very moment when I heard this blog was listed in, where some of Finland's outdoor-related blogs are listed, I decided that maybe I should be more active in updating the blog. In a year, it has been happened quite a few things, but here's few of them in a review.

The greatest project in scouting has most probably been the vast process of harvesting, splitting and stacking firewood, because we're aiming towards changing our oil-based heating system with a wood-based one. We figured out that there's no point carrying heating oil, as there's lots of firewood potential nearby our scout hut. And even better, we got this old stove called Porin Matti for free from a girl scout group, whose hut is located really close-by. Well it didn't cost us any money and even better we had chance to do some friendly recycling, but nevertheless it was pain in the ass to haul that few-hundred-kilo stove by manpower.

What comes to the other bits of outdoor life, I've been hanging around in Lapland few weeks during the past winter. In Lapland, I've been skiing cross-country on prepared tracks and in the backcountry as well, when I gave a go for OAC's backcountry skis. They have solid skins on the traction zone so it's easy ski uphill with them, but it decreases the gliding function. But in the end, they're designed to fill the gap between traditional backcountry skis and snowshoes. I gave a go for both the wider (OAC KAR 147) and the narrower (OAC XCD 160) version and here's few pros and cons on both models from my perspective.

really good uphill traction due to larger skin area
better flotation in deep and soft snow
heavier to ski
even with a higher hiking boot it caused minor pain in my ankles, when skiing on spring-time hard-pack snow

easier to ski and felt more like a traditional backcountry ski
more ankle-friendly on hard-pack snow
less flotation
less traction in steep uphill-skiing, but one can always do more zig-zag to find more traction utilizing lower climbing angle
[Yours truly on OAC XCD 160 skis.]
Besides chopping firewood and enjoying Lappish nature, I've got some time to do few microadventure type of outdoor spurts. In early January, we got our-selves to Nuuksion national park for a small ponds microadventure, as I spotted few nice small ponds from the map and created a route around them. It wasn't really yet winter back then, but it was quite wet and dark, so after hiking we enjoyed rain and night-time in our lean-to shelter by sleeping around 15 hours or so. This was a two-day trip and about 20 kms.

About a week ago, we cycled a route around Nuuksio national park called Reitti 2000 (Route 2000) that starts from the central park of Helsinki and finds its way to Luukki, from where the route makes a loop around Nuuksio national park and returns the same way back to Helsinki. The route was quite cyclable the whole way as it's mostly based on roads and gravel paths, but there are few sections where it's better to have both a mountain bike and some good trail-riding skills. The section from close to Rinnekoti to Kämmenlampi is quite tricky terrain, but it's still partially cyclable even with a cyclocross bike. Even with a hardtail mountain bike, it wasn't totally cyclable at least on our skill level. Another difficult section is from Högbacka to Haukkalampi, where there are lots of rocks and roots on the way, but we actually skipped this section by using a road, because we new it would be just pain in the ass to walk through that with a bike.

The Route 2000 is around 110 kms long and the loop around Nuuksio is marked at least on the newest map of Nuuksio national park. Well, the route is marked with blue-white-blue-striped bands, but I would still recommend a map just in case. There are good possibilities to refill one's water bottles at a few places, but we decided do a refill at Salmi recreational area that is located around the halfway of the route.

There are probably even more stuff I've been doing during the last year, but they're holding a minor importance so I probably forgot to write about them. Well yes, I bought a second-hand closed-cell sleeping mattress, Therm-A-Rest Z-lite Sol, but it was pretty much unused, so I'd consider it as a new one for me at least : ).