A Bunker From the Past

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Meiko is a nature reserve in Kirkkonummi, Southern Finland. The surroundings of the lake Meiko are popular for day trip hikers. We took a short trip in the sunny winter weather. The aim was to find the bunker located at Meiko’s southwest shore.

We were initially uncertain to take us out on the ice, but after we found an open fishing hole, we found that the ice was thick enough to hold our weight. We took a coffee break before we walked away west across the ice.

Because we knew there was a Geocache near the bunker, it was easy to navigate to the right place with the help of the Geocaching app, even though we didn’t follow any official trail. We were a bit unsure when we arrived, because the snow covered the ground, and we didn’t at first got a sight of the bunker. But the unnatural shapes of stones turned out to be concrete! So, we had found the bunker we were looking for!

At first we found some round concrete structures, and then we found the entrance, which was a narrow vertical drop with steel bars as a ladder. The odd thing was, that it wasn’t pitch dark in there. It turned out that the light came from the actual entrance, which was at the end of a long corridor. So we had taken us in the hard way …

There are several bunkers in the area of Meiko, and they are all from the Porkkala parenthesis period. The area was leased to the Soviet Union in 1944, and was returned to Finland in 1956.

A Mouse Problem in Nuuksio

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In mid Oktober, it was time for our annual autumn hike with Emmi, Henrik and Lisa. This time we headed for Nuuksio National Park, not far from home, simply for not having to sit in the car for so long. Our plan was to stay for two nights. The focus was on good food and enjoyment. Besides the usual breakfast we had packed pork fillet, vegetables, sausages and ingredients for hot sandwiches in our backpacks.

On Friday, we arrived quite late to Nuuksio. We left our car in Solvalla, where we threw our bags on our backs and walked away to the east. We had aimed to hit up camp at Urja or Valkialampi. After an hour of hiking the sun set down, and our walk turned into night orienteering. After wandering through rough bushes and shrubs, hills and valleys we found the first campsites. There was a full house, and we decided to go ahead. At Kattilajärvi we finally found an empty fireplace. In the darkness it was still pretty challenging to find the perfect tent place in the bumpy terrain. The dinner, or rather supper,  was the big program number for the evening. Another program number was the little mouse that ran around our tents, but even at that stage we did not know how much attention the mouse would finally get…

At breakfast the next morning, Emmi claimed that something had chewed on the cheese container. The rest of us were convinced that the chewing marks were not caused by any rodent or any animal in general. The food had been inside a closed backpack for the whole night! Well, this will continue later … Sadly… So read on!

We wandered off against Luukkaa area and took a lunch break at Kaitalampi west side. We went ahead and rounded the lake from the north and camped at a fireplace by the eastern shore. The tents we pitched on a hill with a nice view over the lake. We spent the evening  cooking hot sandwiches and grilled sausages. Then it was time to seek out the sleeping bags for the night.

04:50 a.m. it happened! There was a hard rustling in our vestibule! Drowsy, we tried to find out the origin for the rustle. When we opened the zipper to the vestibule it went quiet, and when we put our heads back on our pillows the mysterious rustle started again. We woke even our tent neighbours when our detective maneuvers became too loud. But in the end we got the culprit in the act! A mouse was standing in the spotlight of the headlamp on my backpack! We started to check our bags, and it was at that moment we noticed the devastation! The mouse had gotten into Lisa’s backpack through an opening with velcro and then chewed through a thick waterproof bag! The mouse had found our breakfast bread and it was like someone had taken a mega bite from each slice of the bread! The whole bread package flew out of the tent, and in the end we managed to sleep undisturbed the rest of the night.

In the morning we ate breakfast without any bread … Only cold cuts and porridge … It had clearly been a mouse also the first night when someone had chewed on the cheese container. What we do not know, is if it had been the same mouse that had traveled around in some of our backpack?  This was the first time I experienced an animal thief on a hike. Maybe I should be more hawk-eyed next time!

Winter Adventure in Koli

For the winter holiday we planned a few days adventure in Koli National Park. We had enough of the little snow here in Southern Finland, so we thought Koli would be a good choice for a little winter adventure. We drove off to Koli from Helsinki in the afternoon and arrived at midnight. We planned to put up our camp at Rykiniemi camp site, because the site was just a few hundred meters from the nearest parking lot. That way we would not have to walk long distances arriving to camp late at night.

Arriving at the campsite in Rykiniemi

What surprised us was that no one had visited the camp site for several days or maybe weeks. The official parking lot was completely unplowed. We plopped into the untouched snow in 0°C temperature to the camp with our stuff. After a quick reconnaissance of the camp site we pitched our tents and prepared ourselves for the night.

In the early morning we woke to some loud thumps and the whole tent shaking! We already believed in our tent that the neighbor tent had awakened to challenge us with a snow war, as that would have been totally expected… But after a moment we figured out that the noise was caused by heavy snow falling down from the trees above us.

Ski touring on Lake Pielinen

The next day we skied out on the lake Pielinen for a day trip. We took the direction north toward the elongated island Laitosaari. There were a lot snow on the ice, so we skied / plopped in the heavy snow that stuck to the bottom of our skis… After 5 km skiing we reached the fireplace at the lagoon of Laitosaari. There, we held a lunch break in the heat of the fire.

When we started to ski back the weather changed, so we felt like polar skiers in the strong head wind and snow. It was difficult to follow our old ski tracks because they begun to disappear. It was already dark when we arrived back to the campsite in Rykiniemi. The temperature started to drop. We enjoyed the evening in the heat of the fire, but in the end we decided to organize a Yatzy evening in one of the tents.

Snowshoeing the Summit Trail

The following morning we packed the camp and drove towards Koli Centre Ukko. The weather had turned into a brilliant – 8°C winter weather. We put the snowshoes on our feet and wandered off along the Summit Trail or the Koli Peaks Snowshoeing Trail, which is a 1.6 km circular trail that takes you round Koli’s best-known scenic points. It starts from the Visitor Centre Ukko from where the journey goes on to Paha-Koli, Akka-Koli and Ukko-Koli.

Koli is worth visiting, especially when the snow situation is much better there than in Southern Finland. I will certainly be visiting Koli again and maybe next time it will be a summer or autumn adventure. After the trip I also updated the review of the Bergans Trollhetta 3 tent.

 

An evening at Partioaitta

I participated today in an evening at Yrjönkatu Partioaitta. Pata Degerman was host for the evening and the theme was winter touring. The emphasis was on clothing and equipment. Although some of the content was already familiar to me, I also learned new things. I got for example to see a Paris sled which was equipped in a slightly different way than my own. I also got a good tip on how to fix a protection around my thermos bottle, so it will not get dents what could cause heat leakage.

The eternal question, of what kind of sleeping bag to wear in winter, was also discussed. According to what I’ve learned from previous lessons and courses, you should have an inner down sleeping bag and an outer bag with a synthetic material. That should move the moisture away from your body through the down bag to the synthetic material. According to yesterday’s discussion it was recommended to only have one sufficiently thick down sleeping bag. But it hard to say what is right and what is wrong. As long as you don´t freeze it´s good. We also went into the subject on how to do when nature calls in a snow storm, and that it may be more difficult for ladies to go to the “bathroom” quickly without having to remove several layers of clothing. Well, now there is GoGirl on the market! I’m not going in on that subject more, but you can check out this link: GoGirl, and make your own opinion on how practical it would be.

This was a pilot evening, and we can hope for that Partioaitta is going to arrange more evenings like this in the future. This concept is great!