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. 😉 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. 🙂
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!