As the year is ending soon, I thought it would be nice to share some of my favourite outdoors moments along the year and I thought that photos would make nice variation to the thousands-of-words posts that I’ve been writing lately. But I couldn’t help adding few words in between… And there are way too many pics but try to tolerate and stop to stare only the ones that interest you – or grab a cup of coffee and go through all of them.
The year began with a nice five-day skiing trip on Lake Inari during the polar night. Great Northern Lights on several nights, easy-going and good company.
The beginning of the 2011 was mostly spend on preparations for the Ultima Thule 2011 a three-week ski expedition to Svalbard. As a part of the preparations I did few weekend trips and skiing but on the other hand, didn’t have time for longer trips because of work and preparations. But, the weekends were nice and I had some time to continue experimenting with snow shelters and I had a chance to try kite skiing which was great fun!
The Ultima Thule 2011 expedition in Svalbard was the main trip of the year, my biggest trip yet. We had good luck with the weather (though more challenging weather would have been welcome), the scenery was incredible and the expedition was a success on personal level and in general.
In the beginning of the summer I did few short trips with friends but mostly I was working after three weeks of work to catch up.
I had tried packrafting in the end of 2010 and in 2011 I pulled the trigger and bought myself a packraft. My friend rented one from a guy living in Rovaniemi and after a day of training we headed to the possibly “most wild and distant river in Finland” the Valtijoki-Poroeno-Lätäseno river system. We hiked in about 45km packrafting a bit on the way and then paddled down some 140 km doing even class 4-5 white water as the water level was low. In the end we were accompanied by friend paddling the river with a big traditional white water raft.
The packrafting trip was immediately followed by a hiking trip (with a bit of packrafting in the end) to the Western side of Kilpisjärvi with my girlfriend. A nice relaxed trip and in the end of the trip I packrafted down most of the Kummaeno river. The water level was too low and the raft too cramped for two to effectively travel the river but we tried also that for some kilometers.
In August I quitted my job at the university and started a one-year wilderness guide course. We did several trips on the guide course during the autumn but unfortunately I didn’t find any time for longer trips of my own. Couple of weekends had to suffice.
In December I started a four-week internship period working at a small husky company in Taivalkoski. For the first two weeks I’ve been mostly taking care of the 60 dogs, done some dog sledding and now that I know the dogs I’ll be hopefully doing some real guiding during the next two weeks. I also managed to do a short overnighter with my girlfriend to the Syöte National Park nearby and I’m hoping that we’ll get couple of days of in January for a longer skiing trip.
The year 2011 was very good outdoor year in general. I learned a lot of new skill and did many things for the first time in my life. I also slept more nights outside than on any other year. The number of night spent outside is somewhere over 60, I haven’t been really counting, but it still doesn’t feel like too much or even enough. So there will be more coming in 2012.
In the beginning of the year we will have a four-day winter trip with the school and I will be doing some extra work practise periods for Vaiska KY working as a junior instructor and assistant guide (or something) on weekend courses about expedition style winter trips. In the beginning of March I’ll be again working as an assistant guide for Vaiska but this time on a one-week skiing trip to Sarek National Park in Swedish Lapland. And at the end of the winter I’d hope to do a two-week skiing trip to some cool place…
My spring will be spent mostly kayaking, canoeing and rafting with the guide course and on June 8th I should qualify as a wilderness guide. What happens after it is a mystery at them moment. But I hope it would involve lots of outdoors and wild places: packrafting, hiking, canoeing, guiding, skiing – anything goes!