Monday, November 11, 2013

IWG week 7 & 8 - Excursion to Russia (Wilderness of Paanajärvi)

It was an Amazing trip to Russian wilderness. The location of this excussion was the NE area of Paanajärvi National park. I say NE area, because we did not spent much time in actual national park. it is because of the usage cost and the biggest reason being, there are too much restriction in the park that will not be educational for us.

orange line is the planned route. the circles are planed camp location.
Leaving Kuru 23rd September in the morning, then over night at hostel in Kuusamo. crossing Fin - Russia border on following morning then trecking and camping from 24th Sept to 2nd Oct. Back to Kuru on 3rd Oct.

Basically 2 days of trekking and every 3rd day was a break day. In distance, about 60km of walk. Mostly off the trail, many kilometers of bog walking and lots of up and down hill climbing.

Crossing the border about 10:00 then reached the Paana village around 1:00. After submitting all the paper work at the parks' visitor center in the village, drove to the entrance of the national park.
Unload the car and gear up for the hike at parking area of ranger station, we headed up quickest way out of the national park.
we did not have much day light time left, but was only 5km walk on the road, should not have any problem getting to the planned camp site.

On this trip, we have had daily guides. Means each day, 2 of the students are taking the guide role to practice our guiding skill. and the lest of the group is the customer, so what ever happens, the customer do not interfere to the guiding work, unless if you want to play the "problematic customer":) and this goes same to the teachers. They have pointed on the beginning of the trip that "They will not interfere unless real shit hits the fan".
You do not realize this till you experience it, but it is quite a pressure to have 14 people relying on you in wilderness.

However, the day started quite cold day and by the time of setting up camp, we started to have snow falling. it was comes and goes type of falling, but on the following morning, it left some mount of snow on our shelter.

The day 2. I would like to say that it was nice and easy day.... or it was suppose to be according to the plan. in reality, we ended up being lost. for about half of the day, just wondering around trying to find the location where makes some sense, some hint of finding out where we were. but on the end of the day, decided to make camp by the river we came across without knowing of our location. Teachers are keeping cool and just said "No worries, we still have enough food!".
This day we walked cross several large bog area. bog is kind of high-way that you can walk through really fast if you know how to walk. If not, it is just a trap sucking your feet in and graves to it. Many of us have experienced that trap, some almost lost them boots...
on the dry land by the bog, we have spotted a den, appears to be an ald wolf den. Somewhat similar to the hole dog makes but the size is much bigger.

the 3rd day of the trip was a resting day. not moving camp, so everyone are free to do what ever interests. some went up stream to find where we were, some stayed on camp for gear maintenance, relaxing or fixing camp.
I decided to take day off to rest but sometime in the afternoon, got idea of trying out the gap fire, "Rakovalkea".

I have fell a dead standing Scots pine for fire wood on previous night, but still had good section unprocessed, so decided to make good use out of it.

Sectioned it in 2 logs about 1m each and started to prepare them for the expected cold night.

Made shallow V groove on 2 large logs. not wasting the wood chips comes out, as those are good kindling.

2 tapered stick on log are the made from flesh wood. It should works as for adjusting the distance of gap.

long stick will be nailed to the one log, which goes on top. so the it will not fall out and roll as it burns.

The log goes on bottom is placed on 2 pillow wood. so it is lifted from ground and also the pillow stops it from rolling.

once all the parts are set in position, lite up all the kindling placed between the logs. the trick here is to try to light entire length at same time, which I failed a bit by making kindling wet while waiting the sun to go downe...

But more or less it was success. I have had very nice sleep and the fire was still smoldering in the morning.

Day 4 was quite easy hike. No hustle, no problem.

The forest is consists of several different spices of trees, making different shads of beautiful autumn colors. Do not see much of forest coloring like this in Finland because of the forest works.

Huge birch burl. it was not rear to see such burl on this trip. there was so many of birch burl in different sizes.

Through out this trip, the shelter set up of this way in the picture was most common. One reason was that we all have worked as a pare and everyone was using open shelter... actually, everyone but me was using Luoe shelter from Vihe. I was the only one using Erätoveri. There are so many of advantage on setting up shelter this way.  For the heat, fire, comfort and so on and on.

The 6th day was my guiding day. morning was my partner and the afternoon was I. but, this story needs a separate post, so will talk about it on the next one...