At Hämeen järviylänkö 14-16.9.2012
Once again at Loppi and at the Poronpolku trail parking place. With a different companion as this time it was AK-himself with me. That means our unofficially and unintentionally slightly homoeroticaly named duo Metsäveljet was in it's full line up. After my last trip with Matti I had been bragging about the trails here to AK and he couldn't wait to get going. Luckily we managed to get whole three days off from our families but things surely didn't look promising...
First of all the weather forecast promised bad weather, storm winds and heavy rain for the whole weekend but this didn't worry us too much. A more severe problem was that both of us weren't feeling too good, some flu bug I guess. Neither of us had a fever so we were still going. Also at home front there was trouble. AK's young son had a nastier flu and also my wife was getting sicker.
After work I phoned nervously home and asked how she was feeling, not too good but I still got a permission to go with a promise to return to home if she was getting worse. Watching after two young kids while sick isn't something you'd hope for anyone.
I had packed hastily the previous night and didn't really have time to check over if I had everything but I do have quite a good routine for pulling stuff together. There are two things I usually forgot to pack, kuksa and toilet paper. This time I had toilet paper but no kuksa. Well, a short stop at Riihimäki ABC and I got myself a plastic one.
We quickly unpacked the car and started riding as the weather was promised to deteriorate towards the evening. Already the wind gusts were quite strong. First 6 or so kilometers were once again pure joy. We took a little bit different trails this time and found even more gorgeous sand ridge trails along those pine covered forests and we took our time to enjoy those.
|Pushing and pedaling along Poronpolku.|
Once we hit the roads we begun to turn cranks a bit faster. As it really started raining we reached Räyskälä village shop. We took a cup of coffee and a couple necessary first evening celebration beers. I put on my rain shell and on we went again. We were heading towards Kivijärvi lean-to. It was not far, less than 10km from the shop but the pace was fast and I didn't feel too strong and so I was watching AK's back the whole way. This was to be the trend for the most of the trip, I was pacing up when we were ridind trails and AK was furiously leading when riding via roads. 4" tires do make a difference in both ways.
|A sharp eye can spot the difference between a regular mtb tire and a fatbike tire.|
We made to the Kivijärvi lean-to just in time when it started raining even more heavily. The lean-to was a bit more open towards the wind and rain than we had hoped for but it was providing a decent shelter for us anyway. The fire we made did push a lot of smoke to us and made the lean-to feel sometimes more like a smokehouse for fish or meat but we were relatively cozy. A telephone call to home revealed that kids were nearly at bed but my wife was feeling worse and having quite a high temperature. She'd manage so far but we'd check again at the morning.
We the lucky ones watched the storm from our shelter and started cooking, I had a sudden realization that I had left my brand new plastic kuksa at the car. Bummer. But there's nothing that a lot of ingenuity and skilled handicraft couldn't solve.
|My nice new kuksa.|
While lying in our sleeping bags and sipping beer we also managed to empty a bottle of brandy AK had brought. Of course there is the matter of weight saving for the rest of the trip if you drink all your liquor on the first evening. I fell asleep and at sometime during the night the storm died away.
At the morning things were looking brighter. Mrs. Duckboards Are Evil was feeling a bit better and our friend M would come gallantly to the rescue and take our son out to play for the day. I was also surprised to notice that I felt better too, I guess it was nothing that some fresh air and half a bottle of brandy couldn't cure. Well I did feel a bit hangoverish. Weather was also getting better, there were still thick clouds but no rain or wind. And if you really tried you could see some lighter batches or even blue tones at the clouds. We cooked our Blå Band porridge, packed our stuff and started pedaling. It would be a long day if everything was going to go as AK had planned.
Our route would take mostly along forest roads even some highway sections would be along the way. Our first stop would be Korteniemi heritage farm at the Liesjärvi national park. Ok, our second stop, we couldn't resist a stop at a gas station and a bottle of coke. There was a few kilometers section along Helsinki-Pori highway with 100km/h speed limits. Not the most pleasant part of our trip but it was fast going.
Korteniemi farm is an old forest ranger farm from the late 1800s. It is now owned by our forrest government and it is carefully preserved to its original state. At summer months there are guides and people working by traditional methods.
We weren't really sure if the place was going to be still open but wanted to visit anyway. To our pleasant surprise we were given a tour, got plenty of coffee and traditional rye bred from the staff. All for free. We really wanted to stay for longer but we still had a long way to go. Both of us felt that this was a place for a family trip.
|AK enjoying his cup of coffee. At this point he'd like you to notice his brand new cool Warmpeace hoody.|
We took a direction towards Kyynäräharju, a narrow sand ridge 2km long, separating two lakes. A recommended place to visit too and we had some trail riding for a short change.
At the northern part of the ridge there was a well to get our water bladders full. This well was going to bring us some double trouble. More about that later. A short lunch brake was in order. AK drank all the water he had left and some more cold water from the well. Perhaps too much...
Our route would take us next towards Torronsuo national park. Along the way around the village of Letku AK felt first small stomach cramps then nastier and suddenly we were in hurry. We made it just in time to the local village shop and he got to use their toilet. I bet they regret it now though.
After taking his time we decided to continue, maybe it was going to be ok from now on. No it was not ok. After AK's several quick rushes to the bushes we made it to Torronsuo bird tower. AK was at this point more interested about the outhouse but we decided to climb to the tower anyway.
|and the view.|
Torronsuo is a large open swamp and from the tower you get a good view. We were in good time to see lots of cranes although from afar. We took a bit longer brake and ate some bred even AK managed to eat something. We didn't have too much time to linger though. If we wanted to be at our planned place for the night, Peukalolammi lean-to before dark we had to get going. AK wasn't sure how he'd manage so we started slowly. After an hour he quite suddenly started feeling better. No sudden rushes to the bushes anymore and our pace quickened.
What happened with his stomach remains a mystery. If it had been a stomach bug I guess he wouldn't have recovered so quickly. The best thing we could figure was that he drank a way too much water at the well. Then stomach full of water added with stirring motion of cycling mixed his
bowels. Go figure.
Our route took us past the well again and our water supply was getting low. AK wanted to stop but I insisted to keep going as it meant a huge 200m detour. Yup, a smart decision by me indeed. In my defence I have to say that by map there was a decent looking small pond next to the lean-to we were heading. And I had my new Sawyer squeeze water filter I wanted to put in use. So we rode past the well and the remaining 5 kilometers. Lean-to was a pleasant surprise. Nobody there and the evening sun was making places look golden. I took my water filter and rushed to the pond. Shit, it didn't look good, dirty looking boggy pond. It was no way you could go to the middle where pond was still open. I balanced on few rotten planks at place and tried to get some less humus filled water to the water filter bags. I know I should have pre-filter most of the stuff away. I begun pushing water through the filter and managed to get maybe half a liter through before water flow slowly died away. Sawyer filter does come with a cleaning syringe and you use it to push water back the other way. Of course I didn't pack it along.
|At this point still flowing. And it works really well too if you remember to pre-filter the solid stuff.|
Well, what can you do but go pack the 5 kilometers with all our water containers to the well. And I guess I played some small part on not stopping at the well so I volunteered to go. Luckily we were not backpacking but bikepacking so it wasn't such a big deal. But hiking back and forth, man that would have sucked. And it was worth it, well water was something totally different to that foul smelling pond water. Filter may have made it drinkable but not good.
After getting back to lean-to we cooked and crawled to our sleeping bags, we were tired.
We had both made an oaths to our families to return early. So we woke up early as 8 am is still early for me if there is no work or kids to pull me up. We ate Blå Band porridge once again started going. We had some 30 kilometers back to our car.
|After a downhill there's always the uphill.|
We rode along nice sceneries, forest, fields, you know. Basic finnish country side at it's best as the sky was totally cloudless. We made to the car and we back home around noon.
A very good trip and it was the longest we both have had for a while. It was good to be out for two nights but on a shorter trips you always end up craving for one more day.
I have mentioned much about the kilometers we rode since I'm not 100% sure. Totally it's anyway closer to 150.
I sure hope there's time for one more before the winter.
All photos by me and AK. Spelling mistakes by me.