|Distance||Average Speed||Max Speed|
|43.3 km||10.2 km/h||35.0 km/h|
There had been a lot of snow over night and more was forecast. As a result most trails were only partly open.
I suggested to Timo that the best plan would be for me to head towards Saija. He wasn’t entirely sure but agreed to make a trail. First there was a short run to Janisvaara via some of the training trails and I dropped off a few items in the hut. Timo’s tracks then ran across to the power lines and turned north to eventually join the snowmobile trail.
I followed this and crossed the road without problems and at this point it was clear that Timo had turned back.
The snowmobile trail looked barely open, but I got the dogs onto it. It was actually to not be too bad and we proceeded at a reasonable pace.
About a km from the railway the dogs turned away from the trail and by the time I noticed I decided that it was best to let them continue. It turned out that we were on a shortcut leading to the railway slightly further south. When we got there I just turned them north and we soon met the snowmobile trail again.
The next hazard was the river and here things were more difficult. There were no discernable tracks for the dogs to follow and since the surface was just 15cm of snow on top of ice there was nothing for them to feel by either. At this point they seemed to decide to just follow the river and of course this would rapidly get dangerous. The ice is safe at the crossing point but this isn’t necessarily the case elsewhere.
I managed to bring the team to a halt and quickly removed the harness lines of the wheel dogs to reduce power. I was then able to take the leaders and pull them towards the bank which we reached quite close to the trail.
Once we were off the river I stopped for lunch and made a fire hole where I could sit and look at the river. My fire making was slightly more successful this time.
We continued along the trail to the power lines and I then looked for the ski trail that normally leads towards Saija. It was there, but heavily snowed over and giving the impression that no-one had skied on it for quite some time.
The dogs made reasonable progress until we reached the Hella junction. Here there was a serious looking sign in Finnish which was probably something to do with tracks being closed. However, the forest track to the left was clearly open so I took it. It had been swept, but with the fresh snow was safe to drive. This led me round to the power lines again and here I could re-join the snowmobile trail. A few km south brought me back to the junction of the ski trail and I could then re-trace my route back to Janisvaara. This time I avoided the detour at the railway.
I got back to Janisvaara at about 1700 to discover that Jussi and his party must have been there in my absence as there was a large and still warm fire pit outside the sauna. There were also some interesting icicles on the edge of the roof which had turned horizontal as the snow slid down. I photographed them and it is good that I did so then as later there was a loud thump as that section of snow slid off the roof.
About an hour later, Lena and Mira arrived with my meal and other food supplies. They also had a sledge full of firewood because apparently and inaccurately they thought there wasn’t enough at the hut.
I started eating my meal whilst it was still warm (this time it was a meal for one, not six!). When I had finished they were still outside so I went to investigate. It appeared that they had managed to get the snowmobile pulling the wood stuck and couldn’t shift the sledge in order to free it. I tried to lend a hand, but the only solution seemed to be to half empty the sledge to lighten the load. We still couldn’t push it, but we managed to twist it round enough to free the snowmobile. This was 15 minutes of heavy exercise which I hadn’t been anticipating!
The condition of Janisvaara is getting worse. The door of the stove now doesn’t close properly and for some reason the two sinks now drain into a bucket rather than outside. I only discovered this when I first tried to use one and the bucket wasn’t in the right place!
Slightly above freezing for most of the day with a fair amount of snow.