A very long run from Jänisvaara to Saija partly due to wrong turnings.
Weather excellent with clear skies and trees very picturesque with frost on them.
Started OK on snowmobile trail and followed ski track S from power lines towards Hella and then on to army road. Got confused by trail near bottom of army road and turned back N. Eventually, after another couple of wrong turnings ended up at road crossing where trail runs beside road and eventually to Harjajärvi kota for a late lunch.
Decided to proceed to Saija by shortest route and fortunately met two Saija guides. Headed back across road and then E towards top of lake. Trail seemed much more open and couldn’t find the power lines I used to follow. Fortunately trail of Saija dogs was clear and my dogs found their way.
Subsequently discovered that power lines have been buried and forest was opened up at the same time!
Weather was generally good and skies clear, but as a result much colder. Temperature on lakes dropped to about -20°C towards end of day.
Spent entire morning preparing kit, waiting for bag and then packing stuff from bag. Timo provided new sled with significantly larger sled bag (as it turned out this was essential). Lunch and food supplied in two huge bags was far too much, but could be cut down by discarding less vital stuff and some judicious decanting.
Helped a couple of groups to depart and bag arrived just as the last of the guests set off at about 1130. By the time I had showered and re-packed my stuff it was after 1300.
Drove directly to Janisvaara by the direct route up the main trail in about 30 minutes. Had a hasty lunch and lightened sled then returned back down Janisvaara road and across main trail. Did standard loop to re-join trail further up, drove N and then found another route to the left. Not sure if I have driven it before, but certainly ended up on knife trail. Route eventually led to forest road which led back to main trail.
Before returning to hut, drove to top of Janisvaara hill and photographed sunset complete with Moon and Venus.
Managed reasonably well in hut given how many years it is since I last did so. New LED lanterns worked very well. It looks like they give nearly as much light as the petrol lantern with vastly less weight, faff and risk. Unfortunately they are not quite as battery efficient as I had hoped. They seem to get through three AA Lithium-Iron Energizer cells in about four hours. Given the number of new batteries I brought with me some economising is going to be needed.
No sign of bag in the morning, so borrowed some thick socks and ventured out without a map. Got away by about 1030 and headed off to left of main trail. Eventually re-joined trail but wasn’t sure where. Headed N and finally hit Janisvaara junction. Didn’t want to go to hut, so instead went to top of hill and down other side to power lines.
Found my way to Tilsa road and thence to Tilsa for lunch. Large bag of food provided included not only sandwich and sausages, but also dried soup and associated billy can.
During lunch Kattla got loose after someone chewed through his line. Fortunately I had a spare.
After lunch tried to proceed around base of Romevaara, but trail not open all the way. Therefore turned N and eventually ended up on route next to large swamp S of kennels. Clearly following day trip, but due to strong wind and snow they tracks were almost invisible across the swamp.
On arrival at power lines let dogs lead me home which they did via the Southern route to the kennels.
Still no sign of bag, so kennels phoned Finnair to be told it was waiting at Oulu because they couldn’t get through to my mobile.
Before bed tried out my old petrol lantern which hadn’t been used for four years. Partly in-case bag didn’t arrive and party to show modern youth (guides) how tough we had it back in the old days! Sadly it didn’t work as there seemed to be a leak in the valve which made it impossible to maintain pressure.
Checked in OK for flight to Helsinki, but plane was late departing. Reason was unclear, but there seemed to be a very long queue just to get into the gate. Queue didn’t go away until boarding was already underway.
Plane was new A350, so 3-3-3 configuration, but long haul experience with screen in back of seat and video on demand (including two external views of aircraft). Not clear if this is a permanent change or just the aircraft that was available, but economy class was pretty full. I was fortunate and there was no-one in the middle of my block of three seats.
Still 10 minutes late on arrival to Helsinki, that plus slow bus ride to terminal meant that I only just caught the Oulu flight and my bag didn’t.
Met at Oulu by Timo’s daughter Milla who helped me to fill in the missing bag form. Then long drive to kennels with two other arriving guides. Evening meal was Pike – very tasty.
For the second day of our trip Monika suggested that we visit the Finnish National Library. This was not a destination we would normally have selected, but it was really a very interesting and recently restored building.
The first room you enter has a magnificent dome surrounding which are beautifully decorated arches. Through a door is a three storey reading room.
Well, here I am at the start of my third trip to Australia and ready to spend five weeks in Sunny Woomera. Since I will be driving up to Woomera and it is a long drive, I have two rest days to enjoy the delights of Adelaide (or at least as much as I can as I recover from jet lag).
Opting for a nice easy start I visited the Adelaide Botanical Gardens. These come highly recommended and what’s more, entry is FREE!
The first thing I visited was this rather delightful greenhouse with a rather splendid palm tree in the centre.
Outside the greenhouse was an interesting collection of cacti.