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! 🙂
You seem to have had a good year.
Hyvää Uutta Vuotta!
You had an excellent outdoor year – I am envious!. Get it while you can, before family and work slows you up 🙂 Great photos BTW.
Happy New Year
To echo Mark’s comment, you have had an very good year of outdoor experiences. Long may it continue.
A very good year! Glad to see someone getting out and having fun! Seems like a lot fo us have had other obligations this year.
So many great trips, blog posts with magnificent photos! Svalbard of course was outstanding journey above all, but my favorite was your trip to near Kilpisjärvi, rivers and hiking.
Happy New Year!
Thanks for the comments, folks! The Svalbard and packrafting in Käsivarsi ragion were the top trips of the year. So different that it’s hard to compare them so they both are my best trips of 2011. 😉
Concerning future and other obligations… I believe to the free will and choise (or destinyt, hard to say). I am now closing to 26 years and I’m seriously thinking about really skipping all the traditional work & family stuff to have time for things I love. It’s not simple and I’m not sure about it. And if I find a job (that is not related to outdoors) that I love or feel a (surprising) need to have kids, then it’s another story…
I have enjoyed following your trips this year and the Svalbard looked incredible. All the best for the coming year and thanks for sharing via your blog.
Beautiful and exciting outdoor year – I like this compact reviews!
I am still waiting for this packraft trip report … 😉 and I will even follow you when on my big hike.
Wish you a year full of adventures out there!
Thanks Martin! Svalbard is definately worth a visit in the spring/late winter and might be also interesting also in summer, at least for sea kayaker. Walking might not be that good but I hope to do a summer trip to Svalbard someday…
Thanks Sabi! I might actually write the packrafting trip report at some point. It will be different but it will still be written… at some point. 😀 Btw. if I’ll be heading to Näätämöjoki river area next summer, I’ll drop you an e-mail about tips and details. Your trip there looked awsome!
truly beautiful mate… what time is the worst with mosquitos in Finland?
Thanks! Mosquitoes depend on the area but in general mid or late July are probably the worst. In the far North short cold periods (temps around or below 0C) can kill the whole population at any time during the summer providing a week or so without any mosquitoes. Also cold Northern winds at the open fells help.
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