26 April 2015

Waist Line

Finland is a long country.

In April and in October the length of our country really shows. Right now the grass is green in Helsinki, and we are still skiing here - only with less clothes than in winter. Springtime can mean different things depending on where you live. For me it is a chance to go swimming after skiing - in an ice-hole, enjoying warm sunshine.

Most of the Finnish people live in the south, and they may think differently, but in my opinion I don't live in the North -  I live in the middle. Just above the waist line.

This is how it looks like today:

Water in a ditch

Warm sunshine

How about a nice swim? 

08 April 2015

Winter trekking from Nikkaluokta

On Easter our whole family took a trip trekking from Nikkaluokta. We hiked with sleddogs and skied about 100 km on five days. This how it happened day by day. There is also a video in the end.

Family trekking on King's Trail, Sweden

Nikkaluokta - Kebne 19 km

We started driving from home at about eight and reached Nikkaluokta at half past four. We changed clothes at parking place and started skiing at five.

Ten hours in the car had made everyone, including the dogs, tired. The sledge seemed to be very heavy. Our speed was not fast, but the weather and scenery where overwhelming.

It took us three and half hours and every peace of strength to reach Kebne and to be able to mind the dogs and cook a dinner after that. Under the moon, but we made it.

I was having doubts if this was too hard for the boys to be fun. Piitu barked at night. I went out and told her to be quiet.  I saw some people, who started their trip  to Kebnekaise at two o'clock.

DAY 2: FRIDAY 3.4. 
Kebne- Signi 15 km

We woke up at eight in our room and went to hotel to  have a wonderful breakfast, which made us all fell good. The Sun started to shine as we packed.

The narrow valley between Kebne and Signi is one of the most impressive places on Kungsleden. The trail goes up and up and the walls on both sides are higher and higher. Our younger boy got tired, maybe because we had a break and snacks a bit too late. We changed places. I skied connected to four dog team and he was happy to drive it. 

We came to Signi early in the afternoon to make lunch and have a little rest. We decided to stay and make a little evening trip with no heavy load.

Markku and the boys climbed a nearby hill and skied it down three times. They said it was super.
I checked the dogs. Two of them seemed to need some rest - no surprise for me. In fact all our male dogs had problems already at home, because the females were in heat. Anyway, I took a four dog team and drove an hour's loop enjoying warm sunshine and taking pictures.

In the evening we cooked and played many games of cards. The younger son always won. At bedtime I was very happy to see whole family reading books. Real books. One of the advantages of being in the wilderness. 

Signi - Sälka 12 km

We woke up at seven. The weather was - against the forecast - still looking good. We started to trek to Sälka at about ten. Me and older son skied with own dogs. Markku skied with younger son, who was mushing a four dog team.

The trail was fast to windhyttan, which is a small hut between the cabins. We stopped to have a snack. We saw other people and they all had dogs: one walking with a skier, one draging a huge sledge and even one that was being carried around in a backpack!

There was a big uphill ahead. I had no problems skiing it up with Tete. She is seven but she is still tough. Same goes to older son and Mora. All the way (and every day) they skied half a mile ahead of us.

We came to Sälka early. We needed to make a decision whether to go to Nallo or not. The boys voted no. They wanted to stay and have fun skiing down the surrounding hills. It meant we would not make a round-trip. Instead we'd have to turn around the next day and follow our own track back to Nikkaluokta. So be it. 

The evening trip was heaven. I took all the dogs and drove my six dog team alone up to the mountain. Miilu and Tete in the lead did everything I asked. I came to top of the hill and saw all the valley ahead of me, and behind it the high peaks in Nallo.

My dear dogs making their way on untouchable snow - the mountain tops rising from their ears  - This is what I have always dreamed of , what I have always wanted to do. Now that it's done, it striked me,  I'm free to want something else.

In Sälka there were a lot of people.  It was not the most peaceful place to sleep.

DAY 4: SUNDAY 5.4.
Sälka- Kebne 27 km

We woke up at seven to the most beautiful and coldest morning so far. By eight thirty we had finished packing and tiding the room and were ready to go. In the morning light we headed to Signi. First up and then down in good speed. All three men had their own dogs and skied well. I had a three dog team. By now we had eaten so much, that they could pull the sledge. I helped them walking, or jogging, uphill.

In Sälka we made lunch and had a little rest in the same room we stayed before - also two years ago with Markku. It starts to fell like home. The water place in Sälka is far. Older son pulled a tank of water up from the lake with Mora. Those two really are strong together.

The boys said they'd like to spend the last night in Kebne. We asked if they think they can ski there. They said yes. I think the call of electricity was strong, because they both really did it. The only one of us who had problems doing this long day, was Piitu. She lost her nerves in the first long uphill from Signi to Kebne.

It is clear that she is ment for sprint racing. This kind of trekking must be really frustrating for her. She went back and tried to run to front over and over again. I was afraid it would come to the point she'd hurt herself rushing against the harness over and over again like that. I had to give her to Markku and take Miilu to my team. I hoped Piitu would find a way to pull slow and steady with skier. It seemed to work. She started to calm down.

In Kebne we got a really nice room in cabin Jägaren. It felt really good to go to sauna and cook in a real kitchen. After dinner we sat in the hotel lounge feeling happy we have made this trip as a family. In the morning there would only be an easy couple of hours back to car. Or so we thought.

DAY 5: MONDAY  6.4.
Kebne - Nikkaluokta 19 km

At six I woke up and saw there is a storm coming. The wind was so high I did not know what to do with the dogs. I moved them to the safe side of the building, but that was not much. I tried to feed them, but they could not eat. They were freezing.

My husband said the best thing would be to start as soon as we can and get them away from the wind. I agreed. We had breakfast. Our older son had problems believing if it really is wice to go skiing in that weather. I could understand him - If I had not seen a storm even worse last year, I would have felt the same. To his relief we saw some other skiers who were also going to go to Nikkaluokta, trusting it would not be so bad down in the valley.

When we packed the sledge and harnessed the dogs, we had to shout to each other, if we wanted to hear anything. We rushed down to the storm. I thought it was wonderful. I loved my dogs, who worked so well, and my family for being able to make it. The three dogs in front of the sledge, led by Miilu, run like they knew there would be cover from the wind and soft hay waiting by the car.

There is a long downhill from Kebne to Laddju-lake. Skiing down with dog and breaking all the time is very hard for the legs. When you add a strong wind pushing from your back, it gets really chalenging. Luckily Markku and the boys could make it without any bad accidents.

Down in the valley there was no wind at all. Some sunbeams between the clouds welcomed us to Nikkluokta at ten. I checked the dogs and gave them sausage. We changed clothes in the parking place and started driving home.

Family Kungsleden 2015


Teimme pääsiäisenä koko perheen voimin vaelluksen Kungsledenillä. Meillä oli mukana kuusi koiraa, kaksi poikaa, mieheni ja minä. Hiihdimme ja kuljimme koiravaljakolla viiden päivän aikana yhteensä noin 100 km.

Päivämatkat ja kohteet näkyvät edellä. Pidimme matkat maltillisina, koska iloksemme pojat halusivat mökki-iltoina käydä kiipeämässä ja laskemassa tunturien rinteitä suksilla. Sää suosi meitä ja aurinko näyttäytyi joka päivä. Ainoastaan viimeisenä aamuna tuli kova myrskytuuli, joka puhalsi meidät pois vuorilta.

Majoituimme tunturihotellissa kaksi yötä, Signin tuvalla yhden ja Sälkan tuvalla yhden yön.  Ennen matkaa liityimme STF:n jäseniksi, joten saimme yöpymiset jäsenhintaan.

Ruuat ostimme, kuivasimme ja pakkasimme jo kotona. Reissun alussa reki oli silti painava, mutta loppupäivinä se kulki helposti. Reen lisäksi meillä oli jokaisella selässä päiväreppu, jossa oli taukotakin lisäksi tärkeimmät selviytymisvälineet ja hieman syötävää ja juotavaa.

Koirien kanssa oli jo lähtiessä hieman ongelmia narttujen juoksun ja urosten siitä johtuvan sekoilun vuoksi, mutta reissun aikana ja huolellisella hoidolla tilanne tasoittui. Ainoastaan Piitu meinasi neljäntenä päivänä polttaa päreensä, mutta pystyi onneksi Maken kanssa hiihtäessä keskittymään paremmin kuin sille turhauttauvan hitaassa valjakossa.

Tämä reissu täytti unelmani. Sain viedä pojat vuorille ja ajaa siellä koiravaljakolla. Huomasin, että nyt olen vapaa haluamaan jotain muuta. On uuden haaveen aika. Tuntuu hyvältä, kun en vielä tiedä, mikä se tulee olemaan.

06 April 2015

Many reasons why

We are coming back from Sweden now. We had a good trip. We skied on five days. I will write and tell more about each day soon.

Right now I want to tell you about a conversation we had last night. We were confortably sitting in the lounge in Keb knowing that in the morning we only have a couple of hours to ski back to our car, when our older son asked: Why do you do this? What is your motivation to come here and trek?

I thanked him for a very good question.

My husband said it means a lot to spend some days away from every day life. When you are trekking, everything is simple. There is no other tasks than to go.  And that something happens to you, when you spend many days like that.

I agreed: it's like re-booting yourself. This is something our older boy can understand after skiing four days: it is possible to feel empty or clean or new after spending some time in the wilderness. But he wished there would be more speed and adrenaline to it. You will find your own ways, I said to him.

For me it is a big part of the sport that I can trek with my dogs. They help me to cover wider areas. Taking care of them and trusting them adds some extra value to my trip.

And so do the mountains. Trekking would not be the same without them. I travel in the valley but my eyes look up.

The mountains, said our younger boy, they give him all kinds of feelings.
- No mather how long I look at them, I still can't  understand how big they are, he said.

For him the mountains are the main reason he wanted to come here. He hoped they would give him inspiration for his creative hobbies.
I'm proud to have sons like this. The younger son will write beautiful music or stories about the mountains. The older son has the kind of peace around him I would travel to moon with him.


Kotimatkalla ollaan! Takana hiihtoa viitenä päivänä.

Meillä oli eilen illalla hyvä keskustelu Kebnen hotellin aulassa. Pojat pohtivat syitä siihen, miksi lähteä tällaiselle vaellukselle.

Olen tosi ylpeä molemmista. Vaikka he nyt sanoisivat mitä, minulla on tunne, että jonakin päivänä he vielä tulevat takaisin tänne.

02 April 2015

On the Way

I'm writing this in the car. We have just started driving to Sweden. In the evening, I hope, we will be in the Kebnekaise Mountain Station. It will be a long day.

Yesterday evening I would have not believed this is possible. I came home from work and we started packing sandwiches. And then I felt really strange. All my muscles hurt and I was freezing. Fever! No way! Not now!

I took the thermometer and in next two hours it proved the worst case scenario right: I had fever. The rest of the evening I had to stay in the sofa, drink and rest and cry. What if we cant go? Everyone has been waiting for this trip so much.

My husband and sons made a decision to finish all the packing as if we would start in the morning. "Miracles happen" they said. It seems they were right.

Late in the evening the fever went away. And it hasn't come back. Ofcourse I have to take it easy today. I have a thermometer and I check my temperature every two hours. All the others seem to be allright. I hope and pray it'll stay like this.


Kirjoitan tätä autossa. Ajamme kohti Ruotsia.

En olisi eilen illalla uskonut että pääsemme matkaan. Minulle nousi kuume. Nyt se on poissa. Toivon vain, että se pysyykin poissa, myös muista perheenjäsenistä.

Yritämme päästä Nikkaluoktaan, mutta emme tietenkään lähde sieltä hiihtämään, jos kenelläkään on yhtään lämpöä.