31 Mar 2016

Easter overnighter

Nuuksio national park 24/3/2016 - 25/3/2016

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I had a five day leave from work during Easter - what a nice excuse for an overnighter! This time I went hammock camping to Nuuksio.

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The weather was rather dull and I met few people during my trip. On nice, sunny days Nuuksio can get quite crowded.

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In the city the spring has already taken over but in the forests of Nuuksio it was still winter. The temperatures hovered around freezing. As I sleep cold I brought my winter sleeping bag with me - a wise choice!

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Despite the snow the spring was in the air: birds were singing, water was burbling in the burns... Maybe the next time I visit Nuuksio the winter is nothing but a memory?

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25 Jan 2016

Day walk in Uutela

23/1/2016, Uutela (Helsinki)

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Luontopolku = Nature Trail. Naturstig in Swedish.
The temperature took a sudden upward turn from -24 C Friday morning to -3 C Saturday morning. So Saturday was a perfect day to be spent in Uutela recreational area in Eastern Helsinki. We visit it every now and then as it is easy to reach even by public transport.

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It was snow, snow everywhere so most of the pictures are more or less black and white. A bit dull - on the other hand it feels quite comforting when walking in the snowy forest.

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As the sun started to set beautiful shades of blue and orange appeared from nowhere. The sea was covered by ice and snow so many brave souls were walking / skiing / ice-fishing / doing other winter activities on the ice. I don't belong to those brave ones, especially not now as I did not have any safety equipment with me and I did have the kids with me. So we stayed firmly on ground.

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One must not forget to bring something to be grilled over open fire as there are two fireplaces in Uutela (bring your own wood/charcoal as well!). They were rather busy with people but we got our hot dogs hot. All in all it was a good day out with the family.

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According to the weather forecast this "heat wave" will continue and it's going to rain tomorrow. So it's goodbye snow, welcome sleet and slush. "Oh, nice."

17 Jan 2016

First of the year

15/1/2016 - 16/1/2016, Nuuksio national park

Guess who's back blogging! 18 months just flew by - it all started with a missing camera cable, and blogging is just no fun without any pics. By the time I found the cable I had created a lot of backlog. Not blogging - and creating even more backlog - was not the ultimate solution... But who cares, it's a new year now, so I make a fresh start.

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For the past couple of years I've tried to take up winter backpacking. And yes, I've been backpacking during the winter months, it's just that we've had two very mild winters here. This winter started warm but after Christmas the temperatures plummeted and soon after that we also got some snow. Now it really looks and feels like winter.

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So I packed my backpack on Thursday evening, and on Friday afternoon - after my duties at work - I was ready to head to Nuuksio national park. It was already getting dark when I reached Nuuksio so I chose the nearest campsite. Another reason for this decision was that this was the first time I was testing my winter sleeping bag in earnest; if I had to, I could call a taxi to pick me up...

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The evening was very quiet. I saw no-one so I could enjoy the solitude. The planes to/from Helsinki-Vantaa airport had chosen a route over the national park, and some birds were making noise. Other than that it was just me and my travel radio in the warm sleeping bag.

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As I woke up Saturday morning (well after 10 am...) the temperature was -15 C. I had been warm and toasty in my sleeping bag all night. Sure I also had several layers of insulation under me. But now I know a little bit better how my winter sleeping bag copes.

Saturday was a beautiful, sunny day, and a lot of day trippers started coming to Nuuksio. For me it was time to pack my backpack and start walking to the bus stop. That was the first overnighter of 2016. And it was a good one.

10 Jul 2014

Karkali nature reserve

Karkali nature reserve, Lohja 30/6/2014

Karkalinniemi is located in southern Finland, some 60 kilometres west from Helsinki. We visited Karkali nature reserve in the end of June. You are supposed to walk only on marked trails there. We chose the longest, 6 kilometre trail.

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The remainders of an old croft are still visible in the nature. We found an old well. It is over a hundred years since the last inhabitants left the area.

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It was very fresh and green in the woods. The nature is rich in Karkali: for example common hazel grows in the area.

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We found some interesting looking fungi. In a nature reserve the trees are supposed to decompose without any interference from humans.

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The duckboards were very slippery in places. It was more like skiing on the boards, not walking. I'm happy none in our family of five got injured. The rainy June was kind to us: it started raining only after we had started driving back home.

6 Jul 2014

Lemmenlaakso nature trail

Lemmenlaakso, Järvenpää 29/6/2014

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On a rainy Sunday we headed to Lemmenlaakso (Love valley) nature trail in Järvenpää. We hadn't been there before but a guide book I recently bought told the place was a good destination for a day walk.

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The first part of the trail was easy to walk but the nearer we came river Keravanjoki the clayier the soil got. The rain had turned the path into a slippery slide and we had hard time not slipping. Sorry - no pics of that part of the trail!

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The water in the river was clayey, too: we had tap water in our bottles but I guess it would have been quite troublesome to filter this water into drinking water.

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The banks of the river are subject to erosion and many trees had fallen into the water. It is easy to see on the map how the river meanders.

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We got a little muddy but had enjoyed the day out.

28 Jun 2014

In the Austrian Alps

Austria 14 - 21/6/2014

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We spent a lovely week in Austria. We stayed at a hotel in village Badgastein in Gasteinertal but made trips also elsewhere.

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To climb or to take the cable lift? Well that's the question!

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An impressive waterfall runs through the village Badgastein.

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We visited village Heiligenblut. Großglockner in the background, behind the church.

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The trails were rather well marked. Our walks were leisurely as we didn't want to push the kids too hard.

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There were some very tame squirrels along the Kaiser Wilhelm Promenade trail.

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Hohenwerfen fortress has an interesting history. It can also be seen in the film Where Eagles Dare.

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We met some marmots in the Hohe Tauern national park.

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It is over a decade since I last visited the Alps but I remembered correctly: walking in these landscapes is a wonderful way to spend your holiday. A week passed far too quickly. We could easily have spent another week exploring the area.

26 Jun 2014

Giant's kettles in Askola

Askola 7/6/2014

Some 20 giant's kettles were found in Askola in 1950. They were emptied in 1965 and since then they've been a local attraction.

We packed our backpacks and visited the area in early June.

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We were greeted by this fellow when we arrived.

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Some of the potholes are large...

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... and some are smaller.

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Each of them has a name.

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Many of the potholes were occupied...

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... and we saw some other locals as well.

A nice place to visit, and not too far away from Helsinki where we live.