Our priorities for this hike were more on skills and techniques, as we wanted to have some practice for our upcoming hiking skills contest. Thus we had a few goals:
- All campfires were to be done with a firesteel only
- Finding/creating tinder from the woods
- Practice the "figure 4"-trap
- Learn to make a fire with a firebow/drill
- Test all new gear to get comfortable with it
- Gather some edibles from the forest & try to catch fish
- Use ranger beads to approximate walked distances
As a shelter I only had a 2x3 meter light tarp (the noisy cheap stuff from hardware stores, 5 euros worth) and Adu had his Halti Cavity tent. Basically we could have camped almost anywhere along the trail (based on the Finnish law of everyman's rights), but since you need the landowner's permission to make a fire we decided to camp beside the marked and maintained firepits and wooden shelters ("laavu"). This came with the cost of some of the wilderness feeling, but with the comforts of a cooking fire, dry firewood, benches and easy shelter.
The weather conditions were typical Finnish midsummer - some rain, some sunshine. More of the rain this time, though. The temperatures were somewhere between 16 and 22 degrees centigrade in daytime and around 10 degrees centigrade at night.
Our first walk was just a few kilometers to get away from the car. We drove the entire day (~9 hrs) to get to the location, and left the car about an hour before midnight. A short walk later we got to our first campsite. It was dry, we put up our shelters, had a late supper and stayed up most of the night sitting around the campfire, enjoying the fine weather, lake view and a little brandy.
|A view on the lake. The orange glow on the right is the campsite.|
|The "laavu" shelter.|
|Our sleeping shelters.|
|A dish best served hot. Pasta with some soy grits and spices.|
|A lake we passed by. Rain, rain, rain.|
|A typical swamp. We crossed lots of these, walking on wooden boards, "pitkospuut".|
|Drying off by the campfire.|
|I tried to make fire with a fire drill. Unsuccesful, I only got smoke. I used birch as the drill and pine as the board. We think my bow was too taut, since it was very hard to get it working properly.|
When the rain ceased, we tried our hands on some trap-making, practicing for our upcoming hiking skills contest. It did not take long for both of us to make a working "figure 4" trap, but then again, we only used light firewood as a load. It would probably be much harder with an actual heavy load, such as a stone or a log.
I also fished a bit, caught several small perches (perca fluviatilis) and used their eyes as bait. I soon caught a "bigger" one, that we cooked on a stick by the campfire and ate. At least we got a taste of fish, though not enough to fill a stomach. I also cooked a large "penny bun" mushroom (boletus pinophilus) I found. Delicious!
|My figure 4 trap.|
|Adu's figure 4 trap.|
|The lake at night.|
The next day we took off for the last camping spot. I walked a few kilometers barefoot, just for the hell of it, but as expected, my feet soon got tender and the going got slow. So, on with the running shoes. The trail went on some dirt roads, which killed both the wilderness-feeling and our feet. At least the weather was good. This hike was short, and we were soon at our last campsite.
This site did not have any shelter, and as the weather was looking to get worse, we pinned my tarp as a cooking shelter between some trees next to the firepit. The rain did not come despite some thunder, but we decided to keep our tarp-shelter anyway. I decided to sleep under a spruce tree, using a space-blanket as a groundcloth and my actual groundcloth as rain shelter. Worked like a charm, even when it rained a bit during the night. You could have walked right by the spruce and not spot my sleeping spot. Stealth camping! :)
|Tarp as a rain shelter.|
|My stealth camping spot. Nice and dry, all night long.|
|Adu's last tent spot.|
The last morning was wet, as it had rained at night. We had a hasty breakfast and headed to the parking spot where my car was waiting for us. A fun hike, though not much distance covered. :)