Note: Max speed may actually be erroneous recording made whilst travelling in truck.
Gad, what a difficult day. Jussi used his huge lorry to drive me to Timo’s mother’s cabin which certainly seemed very nice. Jussi and Mrs Jussi headed off to open a trail across the lake, but just as I was about to set off and follow them they returned to say that there was too much water on the ice. We therefore developed a “Plan B” which involved them driving me North to a bridge and then Jussi opening a track over to the snow mobile trail.
Jussi opened the track OK and I followed it to the kota at Kaakkurin lampi for lunch. I then discovered that the snow mobile trail South from the kota was rarely used. Jussi assured me by phone me that the trail would improve after Pylitys, but actually things got worse. There was a 400 m section where the trail ran along a forest road which had been swept leaving a gravel surface. I manoeuvred over this obstacle by taking some dogs on first whilst carrying some bags and then leading the remainder pulling the lightened sled. This cost me a lot of time.
The trail got even worse with no sign that it had been driven for weeks and my average speed dropped to less than 5 km/h. After Syvãojansuu the trail finally became invisible. It was now getting dark so Jussi agreed to collect me at a point after Ahmo. I finally got back to Jussi’s at 2310!
In the morning I saw an animal walking across the lake. I speculated that it might be a fox and Timo later confirmed that this was the most likely.
I managed to leave Kÿlkeinen by 0930, but attempts to go South across Hämeenvaara proved impossible. Eventually I returned to the kennels and dumped my bag. I then headed to Jänisvaara for lunch and at about 1500 drove North to Juusi’s place which is very impressive with lots of potential but clearly still needs a lot of work. Took the opportunity to have a shower.
Overall the dogs were reluctant to go when the snow was soft, but did better on firmer surfaces.
Left Jänisvaara at 1000 and headed for Kÿlkeinen. The going for the last 2 km was extremely difficult. The dogs went round the edge of the lake in deep snow and were all very tired by the time we arrived.
At 1600 I left towards Tilsa and then up the snow mobile trail which was firm but very rutted. I returned down the Old Tilsa canyon. The last few km were extremely slow going and I arrived back at Kÿlkeinen at about 2030. Went to bed as soon as possible.
Conditions very poor. The base of the snow has melted and the surface of many trails is prone to collapse. I chose a trail through the forest and going was very slow. I must only stick to the main trails when the sledge is heavy.
Lunch and siesta at Jänisvaara. Timo dropped off a new gas cylinder.
The afternoon running was better, but the dogs were getting tired. I went very close to Jussi’s place and travelled back mostly on snowmobile trails which were practically the only reliable routes.
In the evening I tried to read Alan’s unpublished book (Green & White). I think it could be described as a bit of a curate’s egg.
Limited sleep on train. I had the compartment to myself until midnight and then they let some other bloke in. There also seems to be a party in the adjoining compartment until 0200.
The Bus was OK and shortly after arriving I met Alan Kiff who had dropped in to see Timo. Apparently they are now living in Lower Woodford. Fixed up sled and sorted out dogs. Timo predicted rain and was later proved right!
The Tilsa road was completely impassable as it had been strengthened with a thick layer of grit which had completely obliterated the remaining snow. Tilsa was reached with difficulty. I later went to the top of Jänisvaara hill and then back to kennels. The continuous rain was very trying and made the trail almost impassible in places.
A very difficult start with dogs reluctant to leave Jänisvaara towards power lines. Storm was particularly bad and eventually I returned to the hut and left Storm. The other dogs then went 200m and stopped before the Valtion-Metsala. They could not be persuaded to go on. Finally I returned to the hut and tried to make for the farm. At this, the dogs started to run fine and so I decided to go North instead. I covered some interesting loops including the eagle trail.
The guides told me that the dogs have stopped in the same place before for an unknown reason. The consensus is that they can smell something, but no-one knows what.
A had lunch at Jänisvaara and then made a convoluted route back to the farm.
Headed NW from Saija and then down to Hepokangas. After driving around I tried to get to the Laavu for lunch. As usual there was no trail leading to it and when I finally arrived by walking and leading the dogs along the edge of the river there was no wood. Fortunately I had brought some from Saija. I painfully cooked the frozen sausages and then headed back along the army road.
I met an angry skiing lady who told me that the sledge damaged the special ski track. I told her to talk to Timo. When I told Timo about this later it was clear that he had crossed swords with this lady before!
I got lost in a stupid forest trail near Jänisvaara and arrived just as it was getting dark.
Left Jänisvaara at about 1030 and decided to take Northern route towards Saija. I followed the snow mobile trail and had lunch at Harjajärvi. Pressed on along the ridge by Kylmäluomajärvi and after several false turns found myself at Ahveninen. One interesting trail looked very promising until it passed a reindeer pen whereupon I decided to turn back. Several other turnings looked interesting but I had already had a very long run.
Woke at 0630 to find hut still quite cold. Clearly, I haven’t got the hang of the fire yet. I managed to get away by about 1100.
I met a group of snow mobiles and on re-starting nearly lost the team. I also found my way to a lake last visited many years ago.
I arrived a Jänisvaara at about 1440. The fire was already alight (presumably Sonja had recently been through with her guests) so I soon heated some sausages.
I lightened the sled and had a go at the canyon trail. On the way back I followed a new (at least to me) trail to the very top of Jänisvaara hill. The views were spectacular.
I returned to the hut and, after feeding the dogs, discovered that there was no gas left to heat my meal and no spare cylinder. I send a text to Timo who had a new one delivered. It subsequently turned out that there was still some gas, so the problem may have been with the valve.