SAUNA TRIP OF THE LADIES AND A-P – Kaamos hike 2007 with  (easy) active I

Boss: Anna Tammilehto
The others: Monika Reich
Emilia Viitanen
Birgitta Krause-Mäkitalo
Ari-Pekka Ylilehto

The 1st day, 2.1.2007

After unfortunate sickness, having a good load of food and well slept bus trip (changing from: I slept the whole trip to: I read a book for 100 pages) to Rajajooseppi our group meet each other at last. We all were quite strange to each other: only Emilia and Anna were friends in advance.

The weather was nice, but we weren´t used to that cold during the autumn (-12 C). Also darkness was strange to us and so we get lost immediately after crossing the road to its southern side. There were some fences for reindeers and of course we took the wrong side. But that was solved very fast by our leader and the hike got its real beginning. We did some downhill in nice commercial forest environment towards the valley of Lutto river. Took not so long that Emilia began to make the record of the hike by falling down every once in the while. And the second prize was Birgitta´s. During the later days we never fell down, for sure!

We crossed Lutto river, but didn´t know where. So we did some orienteering quite often. Also we had lunch break and a pause for photographing the only kaamos light of the whole hike (of course on the clearing just felled). So it took time to reach Jyrkkävaara. “The last kilometre” was very long one and took almost three hours, of course without breaks because we were that close our goal. Even the nice full moon had difficulties to cheer us up. But the cottage did that and so we started our sleep.

Moonlight during the last kilometre
Moonlight during the last kilometre

The 2nd day, 3.1.2007

We woke up around seven. Or we tried. The result was quite lazy. Anyway, at 10 o´clock we were ready to begin our mission of the day: moving us and things to Muorravaarakka. It was supposed to be an easy day. It was not cold, only – 7 C. Of course cloudy. We were in the valley of Muorravaarakka river the whole day. We skied to the south. And actually it happened nothing else during that day. Some funny stories were of course told, but do you think we would reveal our secrets! 

For having something to say for this day let´s say that there was not so much snow in the valley. On swamps you had to ski up-down-up-down-route on tussocks. The ice of the river was also weak, even no ice in some places. And when we tried to ski in forest, there were fallen trees on the ground (we had crossed the border of the national park). So, we traced the path and started walking. We did something completely new on kaamos hikes.

After all, our easy day took only ten and half hours. Some kind of record, I think. The cottage practises and it was 11 p.m. when we got a sleep.

The 3rd day, 4.1.2007

Warmer and warmer every day. Today only – 5 C. And of course cloudy. For the rest of the days we can make the deal that I told you, when there are no clouds in the sky. Otherwise there always are.

Today there already were some things you can call morning routines. So we did us ready a bit faster than yesterday. To be honest, Monika was always the first to be ready. But that´s no wonder, she has done that alpine ski touring, where you always have only one hour to get ready to start skiing. But when every one of us were ready, we started climbing. We headed Anterinmukka, so we first had quite a uphill. We did it on the southern side of Tiuhtelmakuru. After that a short downhill in white out and Monika had her skis wrong somehow. And then happened an accident with her other binding! Repair stuff needed!

We met the Sami Kivelä´s group quite soon. They had had an early wake up. We were lucky to be able to ski their ready track. There were much more snow than yesterday and we could see that they had done some work to go through the snow. But it wasn´t perfect, according to Emilia the track was a bit twisty. Lunch break we had next to a little, very nice stream still running. We drank some water from that and enjoyed the deep snow without skis. We did also some training to get the backpack on more easily. First it was scary to throw it above the head, but eventually we found it fine. And before we got Anterinmukka, we also saw a bug on snow.

In the evening we did some sauna bathing, of course, that was one of the main goals of our hike. The cottage was also nice. We felt luxurious when we went to sleep on those mattresses offered by the cottage.

The 4th day, 5.1.2007

We wished nice weather for this day. But according to our agreement I don´t say anything about that. So, we didn´t head to the peak of Kuikkapää. Instead of that we did a bit shorter day trip around Rovapää almost reaching the peak. There was enough, I mean quite much, snow and skiing was funny. Maybe because of those light daypacks, too. Even if it was quite foggy, we enjoyed the scenery. You could see the valleys around Rovapää and also some peaks around it. No those traditional kaamos colours of the sun, but somehow nice light anyway. And when it was time to descent, we lived maybe the best moments of the hike. At least the best moments on skis. We speeded a little and also fell down a couple of times. In the middle of downhill we ate lunch on the old fallen pine tree with good scenery. The ladies also found some reindeers while coming back.

Going uphill at Rovapää
Going uphill at Rovapää

The semihyper-active group leaded by Julius came exact the same time to Anterinmukka as we returned. So we gave them space to do some recovering by having a fire wood moment. Even our Austrian reinforcement learnt how to do wood by Russian style. Of course you have to have that much camouflage when visiting so close the border of Russia. Some of our Finnish members, though, left the practising to the place closer to medical services. Considering the audience, I don´t know, where she will find that place. You also shouldn´t forget that sawing competition in pairs. When there were enough food, we also broke the ice on the stairs to the sauna, with great help of Aleksi from that other group.

After sauna we packed everything in advance for fast start in the morning. We would have a long way to go next day, at least if we topped Kuikkapää on our way.

The 5th day, 6.1.2007

I´m not sure, but maybe it was before 6 o´clock, when we woke up. The weather was great! Full moon in the sky and only some fluffy clouds. But not that cold anyway, something like -15 C.

Our basic plan was to ski along the border zone line to Kiertämäjärvi. Because of the weather our team was however splitting in two parts. Scenery from the peak of Kuikkapää was so attractive. There were also some problems with the health among the other part. The doctor´s opinion were needed and some medicine was prescriped for strong stomachache. Also flu had come to visit us last night. Anyway we got on our way in less than two hours. But the weather changed quite fast and it was snowing again. So our team remained undivided and even got a new reinforcement from a tired semihyper-active group member. We had quite a boring skiing trip and maybe that´s why we organized some extra excitement by doing our needs at the border zone. The Defectors II (not The Defecators) was quite close.

In the evening at Kiertämäjärvi we cleaned up death mouses (or maybe moles, said our botanist), warmed up the cottage and eat the dinner before that other, quite smelly group came from the bad weather skiing tour from Kuikkapää. And so we fell asleep with aroma.

The 6th day, 7.1.2007

Early weak up in full cottage. We disturbed the other group maybe a little bit with our morning routines. But at least we tried to be silent. Outside it was cold and sky was great. We saw the morning light of the sun in the eastern end of the lake. Near the sun we also saw comet or something like that.

Morning of the 6th day
Morning of the 6th day

Soon weather was again usual and temperature raised. So even the rest of us had to get rid of those quilted trousers. After that A-P was so tired of carrying his backpack that he took it away every once in a while. This made him also ski like a crazy to get some time for those breaks without backpack. And soon the whole food group followed. Our team was splitting up. Fortunately it was our last day. So there weren’t big fights about that kind of behaviour.

Today we enjoyed fire. Lunch took place at the lean-to of Alempi Kiertämäjärvi. We had eaten lunch in very nice places, but this fire of course made this somehow special. So we skied a bit more and again stayed next to the fire. This time at the lean-to of Lutto river. We ate our dinner in the warmth of ready fire made by Aleksi of that other group waiting from his food to arrive from south. After filling all our tea bottles (to make sure to wake up many times during the forthcoming tent night) we did some moonlight skiing to the house of border guards at Rajajooseppi. Tent pitching, a little bit atmosphere of night fire and we were ready to have a sleep with variable success.

After almost one week of enjoyable skiing, good stories and peace of the wilderness we returned home. Inside us the interest for the next winter hike was already awaking. Would it be Easter Hike or what, no one knows. But winter in wilderness, that we will come to see again.

Notes for the chronicle: Ladies
Text of chronicle: A-P
Photos: A-P