/ 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. /
Foggy views from early 2014 at Taivalkoski.
It’s time to look back on the past outdoor year and like in 2012 and 2011, photos are my media of choise.
The year 2013 started as it ended: with guiding work at Husky Center Kolmiloukko at Taivalkoski in North-East Finland. This is also the reason for this post being a week late. In early season the work consisted mostly of full-day safaris with nice lunch break by the fire but there were also overnight safaris with clients sleeping in log cabins and me sleeping in lean-to or quinzee or sometimes also indoors. I was working together with N which was great and I’m missing that this season as she’s in the South doing better paid academic work… But early 2013 was a blast with the cute huskies and great clients and I even wrote more about that in the blog.
In addition to guiding husky tours I was also arranging and guiding my own ski expedition courses and tours. As I wrote back in January I was prepping two ultra-runners for the Siberian Black Ice Race at lake Inari in Finnish Lapland. Later in January I was guiding Basics Course in Arctic Ski Expedition on frozen lake Saimaa in Southern Finland and in early March I guided the same group in Sarek Narional Park in Swedish Lapland on an Advanced Course. We had mostly good but cold weather in Sarek with temps constantly below -20C leading to one small frostbite but other than that the course was a great success.
Later in March and early April I was back at Kolmiloukko mostly guiding week-long husky tours. I really like guiding longer tours where groups of individuals turn into teams and you see people learning new skills and adapting to the new environment and challenges. Oh, and we also had some kick ass auroras!
In addition to work I also managed to squeeze in a short overnighter at the sea ice near Oulu and celebrated the end of the husky guiding season with N by doing an overnighter to a nearby log cabin with the dogs but without clients. After that we headed to Käsivarsi region in the very North-West of Finland for a five-day ski tour on the fjells. The weather was great the whole time and we enjoyed the spring sun and easy-going.
After the Käsivarsi ski tour we returned to South with car crammed completely full of stuff. It was spring in the South and I was mentally ready for summer and some holiday! But even though the snow was long gone in the South, there was one more expedition to guide for the winter. My main trip for winter 2013 was an 11-day crossing of the Vatnajökull glacier in Iceland, this time from East to West via the Grimmsvötn volcano (1725m above sea level). Once on the edge of the glacier I didn’t regret at all having to postpone my summer for two more weeks. I had an awesome group to guide and we had a great expedition with proper 30+m/s storm, whiteouts and sunny days. There is a little story about the tour in Finnish in Outa online outdoors magazine.
For me the summer consisted mainly on kayaking and canoeing trips in the South-East Finland. It started with a three-day kayaking trip around the Kirkkosaari island (where I’ve spent first 18 years of my life) and continued with overnighters here and there with my good friends and even alone for the summer solstice. I also did a little upstream packrafting overnighter with a friend swimming (!) along the way…
In addition to paddling me, N and Perttu also did a nice early summer overnighted to the wide trails of Repovesi National Park.
The main trip of the summer turned out to be a bike-hike-and-paddle tour to Pöyrisjoki in Finnish Lapland. I did the trip with Antti, a fellow wilderness guide and awesome outdoors person, who was paddling a big traditional raft with some friends at Lätäseno river in 2011 when I was packrafting the Valtijoki-Poroeno-Lätäseno with Tuomas. Now that Antti had his own packraft it was time to hit a remote and wild river and as we had already paddled the most remote and wild river of Finland we choose one of the other three big wilderness rivers and planned a nice multisport round-trip to Pöyrisjoki. There is even a trip report about it! On the way back I did a quick Brovernighter near Rovaniemi with Mark of Backpacking North.
In September I guided a packrafting tour from the village of Kilpsijärvi in the very North-West Finland to the magnificent valley of Reisadalen in Northern Norway. We were again lucky with the weather (Which seems to be the common nominator for my trips in 2013, or it’s my memory playing tricks on me?) and I had again a great group I’d be happy to go out again with. Autumn colours and auroras, and good packrafting on easy fast flowing river. There is not much more to ask.
Later in the autumn I did some overnighters with N and clients in South-East Finland. I also bought a bike, a 29er hardtail mountain bike, and did a lot of cycling and also couple of bikepacking overnighters also meeting the bikepacking specialist of South-West Finland: Toni Lund and Peter Nylund. There is still a lot for me to learn about bikepacking but it’s great fun already!
As October turned into November N had some holiday and we went for Shoulder Season Chill Out. The first trip was a two-day packragfting trip that had to be cut little short due the frozen section in the river but we had good time packrafting part of Savinajoki and breaking ice at Savilampi. The second trip was just a day trip along the classic trail of Pieni Karhunkierros which sparked a great urge to go packraft the Kitkajoki…
In December I headed again back to North to guide husky tours for a little while before concentrating on ski expeditions later in the winter. I spent the Christmas week in Ivalo with 20 of the Husky Center Kolmiloukko’s dogs, doing crazy long days filled with short loops and safaris to serve the well greased wheels of the tourism industry. The good thing was, once again, the great people of Extreme Huskies I had the chance to work with. As the end of the year approached I was back at Taivalkoski and getting for ready of one-week husky tour but that’s a different story as it happened in 2014. 😉
All in all, 2013 was once again a good outdoor year. During the year I got only (?) little under 50 nights out (compared to the about 60 in 2011 and 2012) on tours, not counting the husky tours I was guiding. But when counting also the husky tours the number increases close to 70 which is not too bad after all and sets a good target for 2014.
Big thanks for the co-workers, the huskies, all my clients and friends, and especially for N for another great outdoor year. May the next one be even better for all of you too! 🙂