Korpijaakko

– my personal views on all walks of outdoor life

Microadventure with Northern Lights

I’ve heard that routine is deadly so this time, I didn’t go for an overnighter. I went for one these very fashionable microadventures as this time my trip meet the five-to-nine and other criteria. Or it could’ve been a Browernighter as well… But it doesn’t really matter. The important thing is just to get out!

A friend of mine, visited me on Sunday evening to borrow an electronic blinking and beeping super high-tech torque wrench for attaching some accessories to my bike and we decided to go for an overnighter. And soon a plan emerged: leave Monday evening, cycle to nearby lean-to shelter for fire, food, beer and so on and get back home to catch work on Tuesday morning.

I managed to pack everything on the bike and could ride without a backpack! Maybe not big news for established bikepackers with special kit but I only had straps and roll-top bags (and a 9,90 euros beam rack to help). And maybe not big news for UL enthusiasts but I had my winter sleeping bag, three beers, bag of buns, a family size bottle of bbq sauce and so on… I thought all of it was very essential, unlike the Gorillapod I left at home.

Riding was quite chilly but good on the dirt roads in the moon light, and with little help from my new improvised bikelight (Fenix HP10 headlamp strapped to the bike with some p-cord). The ride took only about an hour so I should really do this more often…

At the lean-to we chopped the one-meter logs to smaller pieces, hard work which warmed us a lot more than the fire meters away from the lean-to, as it often is on established shelters…

Sausages were grilled, beers were enjoyed and muffins (this time from a local bakery) with minttu-kaakao followed. The beer of the trip was Founders’ All Day IPA which I saw Mark, the father of Browernighters, mentioning in one of his tweets so I had to give it a try. It comes in lightweight bikepacking-friendly glass bottles (pack inside woollen socks and stuff bottles in the middle of you sleeping bag and fear for the worst…) I also had to drink the beer straight from the bottle as I saved some weight by leaving my cup at home… But it was still very good: crisp and light with hoppy and bitter (in a good way) aftertaste. Recommended, but maybe not for bikepacking on bumpy trails.

Later in the evening I was on the platform trying some moonlit long-exposure shots with the little Canon S90 I had for this trip when I noticed something weird in the horizon…

And yes! Sometimes you don’t have to go all the way to the North to get lucky. Auroras on the sky in South-East Finland!

The light show was quite short, maybe 10-15 minutes but quite intense and lively for one this fas South. It was mostly grey and green but the lights moved vividly and occasionally pillars rose all the way to the zenith. I was, once gain, quite sorry for not bringing a tripod. And also little sorry for not having my EOS 550D. But happy that I had something more appropriate than the camera-mimicking function of my phone.

After the light show it was time to hit the sack. My bag was very warm which was welcome after the long and quite chilly evening. It also helped to balance the lack of full length sleeping pad, although the cushioning on biking shorts also works as a micro-pad under your heels during the night…

In the morning the friend of mine had to bolt to the work and I enjoyed the grey morning with more relaxed pace having breakfast and coffee before heading back home. I checked a couple of pieces of local history (a re-built wooden chute used back in the days to float logs from lake to another, and piece of anti-tank obstacle of the Salpa Line). It was a grey morning but riding was nice as I could choose the smaller and more bumpy trails now that I didn’t have to fear for my beers and sleeping bag.

The autumn is coming to the end again. It’s still lingering there in the form of thick carpets of dry leaves on the trail and in the silhouettes of bright yellow maples but winter… Winter is coming. But I hope to squeeze in few more of these little overnighter before I get on the skis again.

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6 responses to “Microadventure with Northern Lights

  1. surfnslide 18/10/2013 at 18:24

    That’s a great idea, never thought of a weekday overnighter, I need to give that a go 🙂

  2. korpijaakko 20/10/2013 at 13:50

    It offers a nice getaway. For me the feelign is always different if I stay overnight, even though if I wouldn’t travel much. Recommended, especially when longer trips are not possible!

  3. Pingback: Northern lights in Finland - Shops in Asunción | Trails and Tours

  4. Alastair Humphreys (@Al_Humphreys) 22/10/2013 at 14:02

    What a cool country you live in!
    And “three beers and a bag of buns” always sounds a good idea…

  5. korpijaakko 22/10/2013 at 21:43

    Thanks for dropping by, Alastair! Beers and buns is always a good idea. It doesn’t really slow you down on little overnight trips.

    And when you find the time to visit Finland drop me a line. Maybe in winter so we could built quinzees and maybe go dogsledding? 😉

  6. Pingback: Outdoor year 2013 in pictures | Korpijaakko

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