The blog has been quiet for about two months. That’s a long time. Of that time I’ve spent about five weeks on my longest expedition yet, skiing 27 days across the Greenland icecap. It was a wonderful tour and I had great time. But the price to pay seems to be the worst expedition hangover I’ve ever had. Some sort of post-trip torpor is typical to me but this time it feels exceptionally bad.
Yours truly enjoying life at the Greenland icecap. Photo by Matias Utriainen.
I was physically fine after the trip. I had to catch some sleep and took it easy for the first couple of weeks after the skiing but I lost only 2 kg of weight and it was solely fat so my body was fine. I didn’t have any bigger aches except for minor cold damage on the tips of my middle fingers and big toes but basically after a week of rest I was ready to go and ski cross the thing again.
And actually, I was also mentally more than eager to return to the simple life on the icecap. Back home I was initially interested mostly in sleeping and eating. After some time reading, sauna by the lake, sitting by a fire and walking and biking in the forests also started to appeal but most other things felt repulsive. And they still do. I’d rather be in some remote and wild place than back home with the myriad everyday responsibilities. This is what I call expedition hangover and that has also kept me away from the blog…
But in addition to longing for another expedition I’ve been also going through the huge amount of photos and video we shot on the expedition. I alone took over 1800 stills and nearly 50 GB of video. And I wasn’t the only one with a camera.
The first patch of photos is now ready and published and you can find them from my gallery. The photos are accompanied by short captions and I think they are best browsed in full screen view (click the icon on top right when browsing the photos) by clicking through the photos one by one. But you can watch them also as a slide show and also hide the texts if you want. You can get to the gallery by clicking any of the photos in the post.
Oh, and if you know cure for the post-trip hangover feel free to share it! 😉
PS. I also gave some interviews about the expedition. You can find the list from a post in the expedition blog but the only one in English is on Explorer’s Web and can be found from here.
The blog has been little quiet, as has unfortunately been the way this winter. So, what have I been up to?
Mostly I’ve been busy guiding husky tours ranging from full-day safaris to over-night tours but there have also been other things…
On the tours we spend the nights at huts but being out in the wild gives a good excuse to sleep outside and this week I decided to sleep in a quinzee as the night was expected to be a cold one. (The record low for this winter was recorded at Taivalkoski at the same week, -38,2C.) I was a little hasty building the quinzee and made the pile little too small and decided to go without the sticks to mark the wall thickness. The end product was livable but little too short with too big doorway and I had to patch one hole in a wall. But it still added apparently quite a lot of warmth as I managed to sleep most of the night comfortably in my sleeping bag rated to -18C (Tlim) and only woke up chilled a few times after 6.00 a.m. The cabin doesn’t have a thermometer but it’s in a cold place on low-lands next to big marsh so the temperature was likely colder than at the village of Taivalkoski… Snow shelters make sense! And there is still time to make some so don’t miss the chance!
The little free time I’ve had, I’ve used for arranging the guided ski tours. The last week I was guiding a group in Sarek (along the route mapped on Social Hiking, though the distance listed there is little optimistic). We also made snow shelters in Sarek as a training and they were not bad choise as the night was cold. Snow caves are especially nice shelters if you happen to find pile enough pile of hard snow. It was an awesome tour with good group and well worth sitting in the car for 21 hours – each way.
Sarek. There’s a feeling of real wilderness. And beatiful mountains as well!
I’ll write a separate post about the tour in Sarek later as this post is about northern lights! As the winter has been unusually cloudy there hasn’t been much auroras to be seen at Taivalkoski. I saw a good show here on early December, little faint lights every now and then here and at lake Inari and nice but little grey light show at Sarek. But this evening was different. After several cold and cold nights without a trace of the northern lights the lights at the sky were on a big time! Here are some photos of the showon Sunday evening. Hope you enjoy the photos in case you missed the show!
For those interested in the techy stuff all photos taken with my trusty Canon 550D (with a battery grip with dual battery for the cold), the cheap but stellar Samyang 14mm 2,8 lens and of course utilizing a tripod (a heavy Manfrotto 055). The only problem with this setup is the Samyang lens being fully manual, which shouldn’t be much of a problem but the markings on the focus ring are all totally wrong andgetting it focused in the dark is not too easy. I think I should make some new marking on it…
On the weekend we also had the pre-expedition meeting with the Vantajökull 2013 expedition and I can’t wait to get on the ice for with the group as it’s likely to be a great little expedition… But before that I still have some weeks of husky safari guiding to be done, including two nice longer tours. I’ll try to get some nice photos to share from the tours.
I finally got all the photos from the recent “Hiking North” trips sorted out and a selection of them is available in my online gallery!
The trip report from Sarek National Park is still a-work-in-progress and won’t be online at least for the next week or so because… I’m going hiking instead. 😉 As I’ll be going to Lapland anyway I thought I might do some hiking aswell. This time I’ll be heading either to Pyhä-Luosto National Park or to Urho Kekkonen National Park for a little four-day trip. The trip is cut a bit short to my liking (I prefer week+ long trips while hiking) but there is a good reason for that: The Banff Mountain Film Festival in Helsinki on October 3rd where I’ll be meeting Hendrik from Hiking in Finland and hopefully some other cool dudes. It’s an open invitation so feel free to join us and enjoy the festival!
But now back to the topic!
The first bunch of pictures is from a fast packing trip in Norway and Sweden on the Western side of lake Kilpisjärvi. The trip included also some packrafting along the Kummaeno river with very low water. Here is a trip report from the trip and here would be more photies.
The second set is from the hiking and packrafting trip from Kilpisjärvi in Finland to Reisadalen in Norway. We didn’t get to do as much packrafting as planned because of too tight schedule but it was still a great trip and the float down the Reisaelva river was great. I wrote a trip report on it and from here you can find more photos.
The trip to Sarek was a nine-day round-trip from the Suorva dam without any strict plans. We ended up hiking over Skårki massive along a glacier and scrambling down to Rapadalen and hiking back to Suorva via Låddebákte. Nice relaxed trip with awesome scenery and varying weather. For me Sarek represents a real mountain wilderness, maybe the best we have in the Nordic countries, and I will definitely be returning there again. But before getting back, here are the photos!
And as a bonus there are also a few photos from a day trip to Saana fjell (1029m) next to the village of Kilpisjärvi. If you happen to be on the area and the weather is nice pay a visit to the top. Nice views with little walking.
Have a nice autumn and remember to enjoy the outdoors!
Now, about a one month after the three-week Ultima Thule skiing expedition to Svalbard I have finally scraped together a trip report!
As I wrote live updates from the ice during the expedition I didn’t feel that a traditional trip report would be necessary. I will still post a bunch of posts related to the expedition when I find the time but there will be no traditional chronological trip report. Instead you can read the six updates I wrote during the trip. You can find the updates from my blog or by clicking the links below
– Post 1: Greetings from the Arctic!
– Post 2: Days of storm and whiteness!
– Post 3: One miss, one hit, one to go!
– Post 4: Perriertoppen and Pyramiden
– Post 5: Summer has arrived!
– Post 6: From the arctic to the Southern spring
Click yourself to the gallery!
But the new thing is a trip report in the form of pictures! I took a big bunch of pictures during the expedition. I don’t know how many pictures I actually took but after deleting failed ones and duplicates I ended up with 1330 pictures. After some hard time with selecting pictures to be published I ended up with 256 pictures, which was clearly too much. Then after some more time I ended up with 173 pictures. It is still a bit too much but I didn’t feel that a smaller amount would have made justice for the great trip. To give some more content for the pictures I wrote short captions for each. The slide show viewer of the gallery doesn’t show captions so I recommend manual clicking instead.
So, grab of cup of coffee and try to forget the summer and enjoy the three weeks skiing on the high arctic of Svalbard. When you are mentally prepared, click yourself to the gallery.
Later on I will make a very selected edition of the pictures with only some of the technically and aesthetically most pleasing ones but there will not be too many if any new ones in that set.
Please, feel free to leave comments to the blog or straight in the gallery.
Huom! Kuvatekstit on kirjoitettu myös suomeksi! Kommentit suoraan blogiin tai galleriaan ovat tervetulleita myös suomeksi!
I promised some pictures from the Ultima Thule 2011 expedition by the end of this week. Unfortunately I had some other things to do so I’m not quite finished with all the post processing but I made a randomly picked teaser set for you to take a look at. The pictures are uploaded into my kuvat.fi gallery and you can get there by clicking the picture below!
Click the picture to see the whole set!
As I mentioned previously, in addition to our twelve man expedition, there was another Finnish expedition in Svalbard at the same time with us. They skied basically the same route but faster so we didn’t meet but crossed and followed their ski tracks occasionally. They have also uploaded some photos online and you can find them from Kari Kossila’s album. (Psst! When we visited the bar few days after the guys, there was also beer and vodka for sale on the shelves – in addition to water and soft drinks. Lucky us!)
I’ll try to get a better set of pictures online at some point in addition to the promised aftermath posts. But it is quite summerish already and I’m more in a mood for planning new adventures than writing about past ones. So please, be patient.
Oh, and if you can guess what I’m planning you can win a free meal with dessert! Give a guess here!