Sunday, December 16, 2012

Survivors - the return

Remember the outing of last February? Well, it's only December, but the weather gods this month are granting us with so much snow it feels like January or February already.

Here's the account of our last Sub24 of 2012, courtesy of Olivier:

The December edition of Sub 24 was indeed dominated by a Christmas feeling. We met at Bemböle in pitch darkness, the bike path had been miraculously cleared from the snow during the day and the biking was mostly comfortable almost all the way to Pirttimäki. 

Florian had come up with a beautiful idea of bringing skis on the bike to switch at Pirttimäki for some smooth 3 km skiing to our favourite hut. However he ended up being alone with his skis, though the skis tied to his bike had the most beautiful effect and impressed many pedestrians: 

It started to snow gently from Pirttimäki and as we walked to the hut I wondered if the forest has ever been that beautiful. All the trees heavy loaded with snow, lit by the light pollution and flashlights, being far away from it all. The hut was open and we were happy to take the challenge to make a fire from wet cold wood. And we were successful this time. 


Florian treated us so well with warm glögi and Pippari, but why of why did we forget to sing also some Christmas carols? Anyway, it was soon time to go to sleep. I learned a bit more on how to pitch up a tent on a frozen ground with only 20 cm of fresh snow. I think we slept quite alright and I would like to underline that Young is a real light-weight trekker: he had no mat and only a summer sleeping bag. This will remain in my memory for a long time. He even asked me if I really needed my mat because the snow was quite comfortable.



The trip back was a good opportunity to see in the morning light all what we had missed the day before. For the way back, the snow from the night was not yet cleared up and for me it felt like a long way. But still I didn't dare to feel tired because some were on single-speed bike. As it was cold and windy, Robin took the opportunity to remove his jacket that was preventing the wind to cool him down. He clearly demonstrated that protection against bitter cold is a matter of attitude.

I was very happy to have the opportunity to use my winter sleeping bag. The slight discomfort brought by the cold is completely overtaken by the feeling of being in one of the far North Canada adventure novel I was reading as a child. Many good ideas came to us in the midst of the forest. What about a Sub24 on skis only? What about a 2 or 3 days trip just on skis? Stay tuned not to miss any exciting trip!


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Cross-training, Friday 14th December

 (Update below)

After careful consideration...

We're thinking of combining cycling and some other winter sport during this coming sub-24. The amount of snow on the ground gives some limitations as well as challenges - it opens the door to some interesting ideas of how best to survive, move about the world and how best to have fun...

After a short bicycle ride, we're planning to aim towards the cabin in Pirttimäki, which may possibly provide the actual heat of a real fire. Or it may not. Or it may be locked up completely. So bring a tent anyway. Rather than annoy the locals and waste our valuable energy on silly things as we did last winter, we were planning to leave the bikes and continue on ski or snow-shoe (or on foot) for the final couple of kilometres to the cabin.

I have not visited Pirttimäki, but in Leppävaara sports park there has been enough snowfall to allow skiing. Ploughs have prepared the base layer of the trails but they have not cut the ski tracks yet. In the forest under the trees there is probably so little snow that ordinary winter boots will be enough for a winter hike. Anyway, I'm checking on the snow-shoe hire situation (they appear to be closing the hire centre in Oittaa) and I'll update about that as soon as possible. Please comment on whether snow-shoeing this time interests you (if not this time, then maybe some other month?).

It has long been the desire of some sub-24ers to see skis strapped to bikes. Now is the time!

The details:             
Bemböle Shell, 18:00
7 km bike ride
3 - 5 km (or more) ski/snow-shoe/walk, depending on how far we want to go
If the worst comes to the worst, the cafe opens at 10 am...

Any takers?


Oittaa hire centre is closing so they're not hiring out any snow-shoes anymore. In fact, on Saturday morning they're selling off some old stuff - nothing too exciting though, it seems.

So, skis strapped to bikes or a walk in the woods. I'll walk with the walkers, but I might bring skis anyway. And dry socks.

It shouldn't be too cold, but come prepared for a night in your tent.

See you all in Bemböle at 6 pm...