A winter outing…finally!

What most people would call “winter” usually starts sometime in October here in Eastern Finland. Maybe November. This winter, we didn’t have permanent snow and temperatures consistently below freezing until the beginning of the year, which is very unusual. I was hesitant to do a lot of bushwhacking until winter finally came, because being wet and muddy at temperatures hovering around freezing does not appeal to me. Give me hot and sunny or frigid and 4 feet/over a meter of snow. Wet and near-freezing temps are for the birds!

I had originally intended to spend about 24 hours at my primitive campsite this past weekend, but I ended up deciding to do a day trip instead because I didn’t have time to get certain things in order before leaving (pulk modifications weren’t done and a number of other things weren’t ready). As it turned out, I had a nice day out and was able to use my new knife a little in the process!

Since some of the back roads I travel on to get to the forest are not plowed regularly, I parked the car as close as I could get it and then continued on foot for about 10 minutes.

Looks like a fresh kill!

When I got to the last road, I had to strap on my snowshoes to travel further.

I don’t think I’ve seen a birch do this before!

Looks like a moose did some munching here.

After about 30 minutes of invigorating snowshoeing, I reached my campsite.

I tamped down the snow in the kota frame with my snowshoes.

This was followed by gathering some spruce boughs to use as insulation on the ground. I used my new knife from Ilkka Seikku to cut up the boughs into smaller pieces. It easily sailed through with one swipe each time.

It was snowing continuously, so I quickly threw my poncho onto the kota frame and secured it there to keep the snow off.

I checked the temperature. It was a balmy -7*C/19*F. This actually isn’t that cold at all, and I was comfortable the whole time. MUCH better than near freezing temps… When I left later on it was about -9*C/16*F.

It was time to make a fire, so I dug my way through the snow to my secret winter wood stash. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I pulled out two pieces of spruce cut earlier from the big downed tree nearby.

Then I used my axe to split it up a bit.

Further splitting was done with my new knife. Worked perfectly. No complaints. ๐Ÿ™‚

I decided to test the knife’s chopping capabilities a bit as well. I was able to chop clean through a 2.5 cm x 1.25 cm (1″ x 1/2″) piece of seasoned spruce in four chops. Pretty good, considering that this knife is not a heavy chopper.

This was followed by making some shavings. I really like how this picture came out, for some reason.

I got a small fire going and heated up some water for spruce-needle tea.

While the tea was brewing, I took out my sandwich and crackers and started to munch away. Finally, a chance to rest!

I let the small fire burn out and decided it was time to leave. The days are pretty short at this time of the year and I didn’t feel like hiking back in the dark, though I have done it before without problems.

The forest was beautiful and silent.

I learned a few things this time out (as usual). The fur hat I got recently is much too hot to wear while hiking/snowshoeing at temperatures above -10*C/14*F, but it was comfortable to sit around in. Also, my rain poncho also works well as a “snow poncho” to keep the snow off. Don’t know why I didn’t think of using it before!

Hope you guys all had a great weekend, too!

13 comments on “A winter outing…finally!

  1. Ron says:

    Good to see you getting out again!
    That way of stacking your wood to make tea is brilliant!

    I should get out more, too……

  2. mike barnes says:

    Great stuff, I really enjoy the photos and blog. Thank You

  3. Ross Gilmore says:

    Very cool. That’s a beautiful forest you have there. I finally managed to get out this weekend as well. Unfortunately I got caught by a snow storm, and crashed the car. ๐Ÿ™‚ It wan’t a big deal, so I managed to get to the woods to shoot some videos. Seems like every time I go out during the winter, I manage to time it exactly with a snow storm. Last time I go the car stuck. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks, Ross. I’m very lucky to be able to use that forest (I don’t own it). Great to hear that you got out and got some videos shot. Too bad about the storm and car crash, though! I’ve gotten stuck before while on my way to the woods, and man is that frustrating when you’re burning daylight in the winter!

  4. OZme says:

    any plan on nightover some time? Kota in snow forest sounds really nice.

  5. VoyagerBoy (Greg) says:

    Just found your blog and am really enjoying your adventures. Keep up the excellent blogging! Any Sasquatch sightings out there?! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. […] Sounds like Iโ€™m pretty happy with the knife I have, no? In almost every respect, I am. It has occurred to me, though, that the very thin stick/rat-tail tang of this design does place limits on how I can use it. Now Iโ€™m not one to abuse tools, but I donโ€™t baby them either. I want to be able to trust my knife when applying more force to it (batoning, prying etc.), and the stick tang limits this (the knife has not shown any signs of failure so far, but I don’t want to push it and end up with a broken knife or injury). To remedy this situation, and the only issue I see with this knife, I have commissioned bladesmith Ilkka Seikku to make a new camp knife for me. I have given him the specifications I have in mind, and he has already started working on the blade. Soon I should have my new camp knife, and you can be sure Iโ€™ll tell you guys about it here, so stay tuned. UPDATE: I have received my new camp knife from Ilkka. You can read an overview about it here and see some pic in use here. […]

  7. […] weeks ago, I wrote a post about my daytrip to the forest, where the temperature was -7*C (19.5*F). I went to the same place the following weekend, but the […]

  8. […] come to not only tolerate the winter, but embrace it (a few outings from last winter can be found here, here, here and here). No bugs, no rain, silent forests, gorgeous scenery…what’s not to […]

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