15 January 2020

Midnight sun in Livojärvi


Ihana kesämuisto: Melontaretki tyynellä erämaajärvellä. 














Last summer we did a lovely canoeing trip to Livojärvi. It is a clear and beautiful, big lake in Posio, Lappland. We were lucky to have calm and beautiful days there in the beginning of June, when the daylight lasts 24 hours.

We started paddling in the morning. Some clouds were on the sky. The weather was warm. It was not scary to go over the lake, because there was hardly any wind. In the middle of the first leg there was a shallow place in the lake. We stopped to drink some water. We drank from our water bottles.

The sides of the canoe made a whizzing sound,  when some rush touched them. I looked in to the water. It was easy to see the bottom of the lake - there was some golden sand there. The figures of the rushes reached all the way from the bottom to the surface, and then above us. There was no fish, no wind, no birds - like the lake would have been dead. But really, it was just sleeping on a hot summer day.

We went on, and soon reached a beautiful sandy beach. We pulled the canoe on the sand and decided to take a little walk to see the surroundings. It was a really narrow cape. On the other side there was a bay,  connected to a round pond. It was possible to walk in the water and to go the other side. The water felt really cold, but at the same time, it was a relief to my feet.

After exploring the pond and the capes around it, we decided to go on. We saw a couple of nice beaches on the way, and headed on. I had seen in the map and other round pond and a cape even more narrow and long, and I wanted to walk it.

We parked the canoe again on the beach and  started climbing over a hill. And there it was: A pond so still and clear it was like mirror or dream. Only a thin slice of land went around the pond and lead us to the cape.

The cape was high. There were some birds in there. I saw a mother grouse in the forest, and big footsteps of Mr grouse  went down from the ridge and then on and on in the sand. I had never known that they go for walks in the beach!

We saw dark clouds coming from the west. I wanted to reach the end of the cape, but we were nearly there, when we decided it is time to turn. We still needed to find a place for the night, and we did not want to canoe in storm.

We walked all the way back to the canoe, but this time we on the other side of the cape and the pond. Then we just picked up the speed, because it started raining. But the rain was over as soon as it started. We came to the canoe. and went swimming. It was lovely.

Then we just paddled a small journey to a nice point we had seen before, and put our tent there. There was everything you could want: A sandy beach. some trees to hang the hammock to, and a spectacular view over the lake. We thought we might watch the thunder coming. We started cooking and looking at the dark blue clouds build up in the distance. The colors were amazing, and there was even some rumbling noise, but then it started to fade and went away. So we just enjoyed the silence and peace and our meal and dessert. The sunshine lasted till midnight.

It felt good to crawl to tent, but it was too hot to close the sleeping bag, so I just lay on top of it.

In the morning the water was even calmer than the day before. The atmosphere was so still, that it made me whisper - Like I should not be the one to disturb the perfect balance. Quietly we had our porridge and coffee, silently we glided on the water. Like always, it is not nice to turn back home, because it means leaving behind the peace only nature can give us.

All the way home I was thinking about it: Cooking on a sandy beach by a remote lake we are doing exactly the same thing our stone age ancestors have done. In your bones, it feels right. Compared to it, our modern life and money system seems like an ultimate madness.

Kellariselän ylitys. 

Tauko rannalla. 

Kahluu Kellariniemeen. 

Kellariniemen pää. 

Kellariranta. 

Kellariranta. 

Hirsiniemi. 

Hirsiniemi. 


Pokalampi. 

Pokaharju. 

Varanganselkä. 

Pokaharju. 

Kuikkaniemi. 

Laavupaikka. 

Välipalatauko. 

Kellariniemi. 

Pernunselkä. 

Kellariniemi. 

Pernunselkä. 

Kellarilampi. 

Joskus kaikki vaan on...














... täydellistä. 

Lisää kuvateksti

Kellariselkä. 
Rannan kaislat.

Midnight sun. 
















Hyvää yötä ja huomenta. 














Aamu. 


Vielä hetki tässä. 









13 January 2020

Ukkohalla -Paljakka Ajot 2020


PRONSSIA MD4 Sinni, Nallo, Alma ja Noppa. 

KULTAA KOIRAHIIHTO Miilu ja Mora.



On Saturday we went to a mid distance sled dog race. It was a happy day. We got a gold medal and a bronze medal.

The race is called Ukkohalla -Paljakka Ajot. It takes place in Puolanka, not very far from us. I drove the four-dog-class with our young dogs. It was 2 x 33 km. Markku skied 1 x 33 km with two old dogs, Miilu and Mora.

We decided to go to this race, because it seemed like a very good rehearsal. A long day in the race is just like a hard day in the mountains. If our dogs and us can make it in January, we are well on our way towards our target in March.

Our main goal for the day was to all come home in one piece. Second goal was to bring the dogs to the finish line in good health and spirit. Knowing that it would be needed, I had trained our dogs to go uphill, and also to do 30 km loops. My tactic was to drive steady and to keep the same speed from start to finish, not letting the young dogs run too fast.

In my team ran three daughters of Miilu: Nallo, Sinni and Alma, and their cousin Noppa. I passed many teams in the first big uphills. Nallo and Sinni in the lead galloped pass them like old dogs, without even looking at them. It was hard to believe, that every single dog in my team was doing her first race.

The track was slippery. There was a thin layer of fresh snow on the top, but under it there was ice, giving a lot side-to-side movement to the sledges. I used a little bit of the brake mat almost all the time, also because I wanted to keep my wheel dogs Alma and Noppa trotting most of the time. That is how I knew, that I was not driving faster than they are used to, so that they would have energy to last for the whole day.

In check-point Ukkohalla we had a mandatory 4 hour rest. I first gave my dogs recovery drinks. Then I checked them. They was not any problems. I took away the harness, put on coats and took them for a walk. They were very happy to crawl in their box. They started sleeping, and I went to eat and rest myself.

Soon Markku came to Ukkohalla, winning the skiing contest overwhelmingly. I am so grateful to him for giving 10-year old Miilu and Mora a perfect finish to their racing career. It feels right, that they got their gold medal in trekking style cross country skiing. All three of them are so experienced in that sport. Racing with a backpack, Markku said he always wants to have gear to help himself or anyone else on the trail, if needed.

After minding our old champs, and Markku having food and rest, it was time for my team to start the second round, heading back to Paljakka. I was in the sixth place then.  There were two teams seven minutes ahead of me, and some teams seven minutes behind me. I thought the second half might be a bit harder, because there is more ascent, but so it would be for the other teams, too. Seven minutes would be within reach - both ways.

Here in the second start my dogs were even more crazy than in the first one. They were yelling and pulling and eager to go, because now they knew the way. Giving the staff some good laughs, Markku had to hold my dogs in his lap to calm them down.

Surprisingly, for me, it was more fun, and less scary, to drive in the dark. Being in a very good mood, I enjoyed the journey and told my tiptoeing dogs, that we can do this - they all would make it to the finish line. And who knows, maybe we would even be lucky and see a headlamp or two ahead of us...

And so we did. First we passed a team, who was going slow, because they had a dog in the sledge. So we were in the 5th place. Then, much later, after the half way swamp, I saw an other head lamp light in the biggest uphill. Slowly, but surely, my team came closer and closer to it. I still did not want to rush my dogs. I was thinking: We have already catch that team seven minutes. So we will pass it, if we just keep doing our own stuff. And so we did, a few kilometers more and we left them behind. I was like: ''Number four, in their first race, I couldn't be happier!''

But I was wrong. I could be much more happier. That was, when I heard, standing in the finish line, that we had actually finished as number three. One of the leading teams had scratched. Still, the brightest joy for me was to see how fresh our dogs were after the race. Here is a film where you can see their condition right after the finish line and in the next morning:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5dc-07pKIw

For me, this bronze medal means a lot. I now have proof that my ideas of breeding and training are on the right track. And more importantly, our whole team, my husband and I with our dogs, worked so well all day, from 5 am till 10 pm. We can now believe, that we have a good chance of making the same also on our long trek.

Last, but not least, it was wonderful to see the good spirit and the friendship among all the mushers, handlers and the people working in this race. A big thank you goes to them all!

Saapuminen varikolle Paljkkaan aamulla klo 8. 

Koirien paperit tarkistettu. rataselostus saatu, aamu valkenee. 

Minun tiimi matkalla varikolta lähtöpaikalle klo 10.30

Nuoret johtajat, sisarukset Sinni ja Nallo. 

Minun tiimin startti klo 11

Sinne menee tyttötiimi ensimmäisissä kisoissaan. 

Varikolla Mora ja Miilu, 10 vuotta.

Markku pakkaa reppua. 

Markun hiihtotiimi matkalla lähtöpaikalle. 

Markun startti klo 12.

Sinne menee Miilu ja Mora viimeisessä kilpailussaan. 

Markku, Miilu ja Mora saapumassa maaliin Ukkohallaan klo 14.

Palautusjuoma maistuu. 

Checkpoint Ukkohalla: takitusta, talutusta, lepoa.

Markku laittaa Almalle valopannan klo 16.30

Minun sylikoiratiimi valmiina lähtöön Ukkohallasta klo 17

Kotona klo 21.30






06 January 2020

Skiing in Hossa


Hiihtoretki Hossan lumimyräkässä  (FOTO: Saku Koistinen) 
















We did a skiing trip to Hossa National park last week. It was really special, because we did the trip together with my brother. It's been ten years since I have trekked with him last time!

Almost all the time we skied in deep snow. We took turns in opening the way. In Hossa there are many narrow and high ridges between lakes. It was magical to be there, under tall trees, because the wind was strong. It made the whole world seem white, and threw some snow down to us from the tree-tops.

The lakes were frozen, but not solid.  It would have  been too risky to go across a lake, not knowing what is under the snow. The ice was almost non-existing on the areas, where the water flows. So we decided to stay on the land all the time. Also there was water on ice. So we did not want to get our skis wet, either.

In the Nature Park it is advised to follow the existing paths. In winter time it can take good map reading to keep on them. But there are also some ski tracks also, if you just want to make loops. They are kept open by machines. We did not go on them.

This time we took no dogs with us, because we wanted to test pulling our new pulkas, bivy and our tenting skills. Actually, we built four different camps during two days; for lunches and for nights, so that we could practice more. It was good to set up the tent in a couple of different ways and also to use the cookers as much as possible.

In Hossa you are allowed to tent by the marked fire-places. Most of them also have a dry toilets. All this is good to keep the rest of nature as un-touched as possible.

We also made a stop in an lovely wilderness cabin to dry our gear. The weather was quite warm, and our sleeping bags got a lot of moisture during the night. It was so nice to dry them and our clothes by the fire.

I even took a swim in a brook before we put on our dried clothes. The water was not as cold as I expected, but then again, I'm used to swimming in an ice-hole.

After the break and supper in the cabin, we headed on, skiing trough the blue forests. It was not long, but quite heavy journey, because the weather got warm, and the snow started to get sticky.

The last stop of our trip was a lean-on in a place called Muikkupuro. There was no-one there, so we had quite a luxury evening by the campfire, the three of us.

Carefully with new pulka 


















Making a place for tent. 














Setting up the tent. (FOTO: Saku Koistinen)

Old friends, happy together. 


End of a ridge, 


Trees, oh old trees. 

Tent kitchen.
Ala-Valkeinen cabin



Setting up the tent (FOTO: Saku Koistinen)

My swimming place! 




Warm feet, happy me. 




Packing. 

Muikkupuro.


Breakfast. 


How to get organized inside a tent? Nobody knows!

Melting snow. 

Getting bivy out of pulka. 

And there it is, the bend in tent. 



Skiers in the night.

Muikkupuron Laavu

Us by the camp fire. (FOTO: Saku Koistinen) 


Testing each others pulkas in the end. 
Waiting for the car. 
The route