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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Marttila excursion n:o 5

Friday of last week was a free day off from work, so it was also a chance to do another overnighter. Thursday was also my birthday so it was nice to celebrate it with an excursion to the Wilderness of Marttila. As the title says, this was my 5th time there, and I think there is a lot more to come. The place is so blissful.

The reclamation was succesful for my previous tent, McKinley Enduro Ultralight, and I was able to change it to a slightly larger McKinley Compact Light 2 tent. The plan was of course to test it and find a nice camping spot.

A very nice evening, and a beautiful sunset in progress...

 

Approaching the wilderness...

 

 

 

The trails were wet and very soft near the bog of Orhijoenrahka, but the 907 floated really easily across them!

 

 

 

Getting closer to my destination, the lookout spot near Juomakivenrahka.

 

I was welcomed with beautiful landscapes right after the sunset.

 

 

The camping spot. The tent is easy and fast to pitch and I was quickly safe from the mosquitoes that were keeping company.

 

 

The new tent is certainly better than the previous one. Inner and outer tent, more room, separate pockets for gear.

I went to sleep somewhere in the midnight.

 

I set alarm for the early morning and sunrise. Waking up early was worth it, the morning was stunning.

 

 

 

I went for a short ride down to the bog. Landscape awesomeness!

Cranberry (Vaccinium oxycoccos).

I rode back to my tent and slept for a couple of hours. After that the usual morning coffee and porridge.

Time to leave and head home.

 

 

One of the best overnighter so far. The only thing that didn't work properly was the front brake of my 907 but as writing this the problem has been sorted out. Next time I hope to do a little longer outing.

The slideshow of photos is here.

By Toni at 21:44 | Permalink |
Category: Adventures, Photographing

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Some shots

The title says it all...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Toni at 19:06 | Permalink |
Category: Photographing

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Sunrise!

The morning commute is almost always nice, the only downside is the destination: workplace. It would be of course much nicer to continue riding.

This morning was a bliss. A spectacular sunrise. When the opportunity comes, you gotta take it!

 

 

 

 

 

And tomorrow is the day, the new bike project will be here! Expect another dose of photos here tomorrow evening...

By Toni at 18:06 | Permalink |
Category: Commuting, Photographing

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Commuting photos

The new frame and parts of my new bike project are finally on the way, and they probably arrive early in the next week. I just looked the latest weather forecast and there is still a small chance for snow crust riding next week, because temperature should drop below zero. On the other hand, rain is forecasted for the weekend and if it is severe, the snow crust will probably vanish. But everything is still possible...

Actually I tried the snow crust in this morning's commute, and it worked with my ordinary mountain bike and Nokian WXC300 tires. But I didn't ride for long because the front chainrings of my bike are really worn out and the chain easily jumps over. It's a very good thing that I will have the new bike with a fresh crankset.

Naturally I'm very excited about the new bike, and I can tell that it will be the first one in Finland! And that of course means that it won't be a Pugsley!

Meanwhile, here are some photos I have taken during my regular bike commutes. The more I have been photographing with the new camera, the more I like it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Toni at 17:10 | Permalink |
Category: Commuting, Photographing

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Super full moon overnighter

Well, the nature provided an outstanding stage for a local overnighter here in Paimio. A super full moon and partly clear skies. It even snowed before the Saturday evening. The night temperature was forecasted around -5°C. So I had a plan: take a lot of photos of the super full moon with the new camera and to find the lean-to of Hevonpää this time, the same thing I tried a month ago.

I left home around 22PM. I followed the 'script' like the last time...

 

 

 

I continued riding but only for a short distance as more awesomeness was just around the corner...

 

 

 

 

My timing for photographing these was just right. Shortly after this more clouds filled the sky and I continued towards Hevonpää.

This time I found the right fork in the road.

 

The start of the small forest road was promising...

..but quite soon started the thick snowdrifts. Not suprising, I was expecting this. Someone had been here with snowshoes. I followed the tracks as I supposed that they would lead to the lean-to.

But they didn't. Instead I had to do really hard work, the route of the tracks followed some really tough terrain. In many places I was climbing like a mountain goat. Still quite fun though...

I checked my position with GPS. I wasn't far away from the lean-to but the clock was closer to 1AM so I decided to camp to a snowdrift.

I slept fairly well. In the morning, about 6AM, I opened my eyes. It was cloudy so I decided to sleep more, as there wasn't spectacular sunrise to be seen.

Closer to 8AM I woke again and started the usual breakfast antics.

Time to move again...

Pretty soon the snowshoe tracks lead to a small road.

And heading to home in a glorious sunshine...

This was a very nice overnighter, the best part was undoubtly the start with the super full moon. I will probably do an overnighter to the lean-to of Hevonpää when all the snow has melted as it much easier to find the place and the trails are rideable.

More photos can be seen in this slideshow.

By Toni at 15:44 | Permalink |
Category: Adventures, Photographing

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New camera... and the new bike project!

 

I've been using Olympus µTough-8000 camera for over a year. It's not a bad camera but the image quality is not so good you would expect for a 12MP camera, and it doesn't have manual controls. Last week I saw a commercial in a newspaper. Citymarket happened to have their "Mammoth market" days, and they were selling Canon PowerShot SX130 IS for a real bargain price. It has pretty good reviews on the net, like here and here. So I went and purchased it. The camera's best features are a very good image quality, 12x zoom, HD 720p video and manual controls. Much better night/low light photos should be now possible with a tripod. I've been testing the camera every day and I'm pretty impressed with it. Here are some shots taken during todays commute back home.

 

 

The new bike project: this has been in my mind for a couple of years and it's finally taking place. I revealed in the post Blizzard commute that it will be a fat bike. But what kind of fat bike? At first I was thinking about a poor man's choice: wider 40mm rims with a tyre as wide as possible to fit my current winter bike. But that would be a compromise, actually too much of a compromise. It has been said for countless times that it is not even close to true fat bike. So next choice is of course some of the true fat bikes that are currently available: Surly Pugsley, Fatback, Sandman and 9:ZERO:7. Mine will be one of them, but only the frame. All usable parts from the current winter bike will be transferred to the new frame, plus there will be of course a new wheelset+tires and a couple of new components. Teasing will last for only a couple of weeks, as I received email that my frame and parts will be shipped soon. Meanwhile, my website colors are now updated with the color theme of my new bike, black and red...

By Toni at 20:33 | Permalink |
Category: Gear, Photographing

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Freezing overnighter

The weather has been record cold for this winter in this week, nightly lows has been -25°C to -29°C and daily highs -10 to -15°C. This weekend looked very good for an extreme overnighter with a full moon. I was too tired on Friday evening and didn't have enough time to prepare properly. So I decided to have a go on Saturday night. The destination was the lean-to of Hevonpää in Paimio, a place where I haven't been before, and not too far away.

The goal of this overnighter was to see if I can still be comfortable even with the very cold conditions. Forecasts predicted -28°C for the night. My Marmot Never Summer sleeping bag is rated for -18°C, with the survival rating being at -37°C. Not really enough but I have a very warm wool sweater and old down jacket. Also, I decided to take two pairs of wool socks and two new Vaude pocket warmers. I knew that without them my foot would be too cold and that would make my night pretty miserable.

I left home late, somewhere 11PM, temperature at -24°C. The start was awesome and stunning.

The two batteries of my camera were fully charged, but the first one died after these shots! Not a suprise, as Olympus uTough-8000 has a full metal frame.

I rode very slowly, trying to not to sweat, that was the key for sleeping well in the night. Things went as planned for the first 40 minutes, althought the gears of my bike didn't work properly. My plan was to get to the lean-to in an hour, and I estimated that this way my foot would not get too cold. Wrong. My toes started to hurt slightly after the first 30-40 minutes, but I moved them and the situation was still in my control. The Moose Mitts pogies and Orso two-finger gloves were almost not enough, but they were ok.

I was getting closer to my destination, the only problem now was to find it. I had looked the maps at home and figured that the lean-to should be easy to find, as the instructions says that the route should be marked with yellow strips. I rode two of the small side roads of the 110-road. On the later one, I found a couple of yellow strips but nothing else.

After this photo also my second battery died. Things didn't look too good. My toes were pretty cold. Then I found some ski tracks nearby. I decided to hike and see if they lead to the lean-to. They didn't. I had also early signs of bonking and ate some frozen chocolate raisins. I had also sandwiches but they were, of course, pretty frozen.

The clock was probably close to 2AM in the night. I could have camped to snowdrift, but it didn't feel as a good idea. I decided to abort my trip and head to home. As a plan B I could camp to a place very close to my home where there is some kind of shelter, depending how I feel. But I was running out of time, the night would be too short. And the conditions felt even colder.

I was home at 3.30AM. This was a right decision, look what had happened to the pocket warmers!

Completely frozen. The temperature was -28°C at home! I don't know what kind of liquid it is inside of the warmers, and haven't found the information on the net, but the freezing point is fairly high. In the future I have to keep them in my jersey pockets.

Interesting overnighter! I'm a little disappointed in not finding the lean-to, but I'm not giving up. If the opportunity comes, I will try this again.

Peter managed to do a lot more succesful overnighter on skis on Friday/Saturday night, check out his report, awesome stuff!

By Toni at 13:02 | Permalink |
Category: Adventures, Gear, Photographing

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Chasing sunset

 

Above photo was taken this week on Monday (31st of January 2011). There hasn't been many opportunities this winter to take good sunset photos (or sunrises), but this Monday evening was very good for that. I took a lot of photos, and some of theme are here, take a look. Sunsets and sunrises are probably my favourite theme for landscape photographing. I hope I will catch a lot of more good sunsets this year...

After Monday the scenes has looked pretty much this:

January was warm. Too warm. On the other hand it could have been a lot worse. In 2007 there wasn't snow in January at all, maybe a little in the end of that month, and there were some pretty heave rainfalls.

There has been lately some predictions that the end of this winter will be very cold and could last even to the early April. Interesting to see what will happen.

Slushy conditions have not been really an issue for me, commuting has gone very well. And a very nice thing is how well the Revelate Designs bags work for grocery shopping. And small packets are easily transported with the seatpost rack:

Today's commuting featured both slush and ice:

Today I finally received a cook and cutlery set for my adventure gear, and I will test them soon:

By Toni at 23:29 | Permalink |
Category: Commuting, Gear, Photographing