/ A word of warning: This post includes a lot of photos. They are nice and varied outdoors photos but there are many. You have been warned. /
As the year is about to end (as it didn’t end in 21.12.12), it’s again time to share some of my favourite outdoors moments from the past year with you. And just like last year, I thought photos would be a nice way to do it. I’ve been quite lazy writing trip reports the whole year so this also kinda fits the theme. But I’ve added a few words in between the photos to give some context…
And there are again way too many pics and 1200+ words but try to tolerate and stop to stare only the interesting ones – or grab a cup of coffee or tea and go through all of them.
The year began while I was doing my wilderness guide internship at Husky Center Kolmiloukko at Taivalkoski. In addition to taking care of the dogs and guiding safaris I had time for an overnighter at Syöte National Park and a skiing trip at Lake Inari with N. This time it wasn’t especially cold at Inari and instead of pulkas and tents we had backpacks and we stayed in huts. There’s even a trip report available.
After the internship period it was time to return back to the guide school where we did some hunting, winter fishing and generally enjoyed the winter. Something worth of a special mention is the trip to Patvinsuo National Park as it happens to be my coldest trip yet. I wasn’t cold and it was actually very nice, but the temps were low – down to -38,5C at coldest. There is also a trip report of this.
On my coldest trip yet and trough out the whole winter I was also testing Altai Hok 125 skis which proved to be very handy tools as I told in my first impressions. I have high expectations for the Altai Skis Kar 147 I’ll be testing later this winter!
In addition to the internship period with huskies I decided to do some more and helped Vaiska on his Arctic ski expedition courses to get some extra experience to arrange my own in 2013. I worked as an instructor on two weekend courses in Southern Finland and as a guide on a one-week ski tour to Sarek National Park in Swedish Lapland. The weekends were damn cold (below -30C) and the trip to Sarek damn stormy but it all provided good outdoors experience, especially on guiding a big group in challenging conditions in challenging environment.
After Sarek I started the last preparations for Vatnajökull 2012 expedition and at the end of March me, N and two of our friends headed to Iceland and spend 16 days skiing across the largest glacier in Europe (Vatnajökull) and climbed the highest peak of Iceland (Havannadahlsnjukur, 2109,6m) on the way. It was miserably wet and cold at times, very windy (up to or over 30m/s at worst) on few occasions but generally an awesome little expedition and great success!
The spring at the guide school was filled with tests on nature lore but also with a lot of water sports: kayaking, canoeing and rafting. And as we were on the waters I naturally had to do some packrafting as well. On June 8th the school ended and later in the summer after getting the last assignments done I graduated as a qualified guide (Erä- ja Luonto-opas). During the guide course I wrote a “Monthly highlights” series of monthly posts on the school but it’s still missing the last few posts and I’ll try to do something about it.
I celebrated the end of the course by going for a hike in Lapland. On the map me and N had planned anice 12 days 200-250km hike through the wilderness areas of Muotkatunturit and Paistunturit but due an embarassing scale mistake we had only 165km to walk in real life and did it in 10 days. Still very nice walk in the early summer with days of nice weather and days of bad weather.
Due several reasons I was quite lazy doing overnight outdoors stuff in the summer even though I would’ve had time for it. I have to say that I regret it a bit. Instead I spend quite lot of time in the woods around the house foraging and enjoying the free delicacies fresh from the nature. The foraging madness continued later in the autumn topped with the best apple year for, ehm, years.The main reason for the lack of trips was that I was preparing to spend the academic year 2012-2013 in Svalbard on Arctic Nature Guide program. I had applied there earlier the year and got approved but financial reasons (five-figure sums of euros required) crushed my plans and I ended up doing quite a lot of useless work and not being out in the wild experiencing and learning.
After the Svalbard related plans went busted I decided it was time for some comfort hiking and put together the Social Hiking in North plan with speed hiking and peak-bagging trip (and some packrafting) West of Kilpisjärvi (trip report), a six-day hiking oriented packrafting trip from Kilpisjärvi to Reisadalen in Norway (trip report) and a nine-day hiking trip in Sarek National Park in Swedish Lapland (sorry, no trip report).
A few weeks after returning from Lapland me and N headed back to meer friends and to do a little three-day trip as Pyhä-Luosto National Park. Nice trails and cozy wilderness huts and very silent national park.
I also managed to do one more packrafting trip as we still had full-on flood in October after very rainy summer and autumn. Me, Xavier and Alpo (on an airmatress instead of an Alpacka packraft!) headed to Kymijoki to enjoy the big river white water and little exploration in the tiny Valkmusa National Park.
As the winter season was setting in it was time to head again back North for seasonal work as guide. Instead of guiding snowscooter tours at Luosto I ended up guiding husky tours at the good old Husky Center Kolmiloukko at Taivalkoski. Before I started the work I had time for a quick but relaxed overnighter with an old friend. When closing to Christmas the season really kicked off and I had to scratch the plans of little overngiht trips to Syöte National Park and concentrate solely on the work but luckily I like my work so can’t complain. In addition I launched my own ski expedition courses, tours and expeditions that are turning out to be very popular. Interesting work to come in winter 2013.
Again I can say that the passing year was a good year outdoorswise. I’m a bit sorry that the Svalbard plan went bust but that opened new possibilities instead. Again I learnt a lot new things and got more experience in other things. I didn’t end up spending more nights outdoors than in 2011 but hit again the 60 nights out or so. (I don’t still really do counting.) On the latter half of the year I was a bit lazy spending nights outdoors as I found it hard to be inspired by little trips close to home. Partially this was due the big uncertainties with the Svalbard related plans and later getting work for the winter season. But it was good year none the less. As a closing remark I’d like to thank the teachers and fellow students of SELO11, people involved in the Vatnajökull 2012 expedition and especially N.
The winter of 2013 is pretty much set involving guiding husky safaris at Taivalkoski and also running ski expedition courses and tours in Finland, Sweden and Iceland. What happens in May and thereafter is somewhat a mystery but once again I try to include a lot of outdoors to the upcoming year.