The venerable overnighter has been modernised a few times in the last years: Two, three years ago they were called 24 adventures by Ryan, about two years ago Alastair started to call them Microadventures, and Aaron called them S24O (Sub-24 hour Overnighter) somewhere in between. I went on one of these S24O-Microadventure-Overnighters on one of the last cold days in April.
I kissed my wife and son Good Night, grabbed my ready-packed Hyperlite Mountain Gear Porter, skis attached to it, and walked the two kilometres to the nearby recreation area, Pilvilampi. The sun was just disappearing behind the trees as I arrived on skis at the frozen lake. I wanted to ski for some three to four kilometres to the other end of the lake, and pitch my shelter over there.
There are tracks on the lake, but we already had a wonderfully warm March and so much of the ice was in less-than-perfect skiing conditions. But my Madshus Glittertind MGV+ had good grip, and after a quick decision I just left the rubbish tracks behind and made my own ones.
It didn’t take me long to arrive at the place I wanted to pitch, and the Hilleberg Anjan 2 I loaned from a friend came out. I practiced pitching it a few times before, so it was quickly up and ready. The thermometer was wandering in the direction of -10°C, and I enjoyed the evening, with the stars coming out, the sun fading away far in the west, and some Whopper Swans arriving from their winter quarters with their loud calls.
I took a few fun photos, and then heated up some water with the MSR Reactor 1.0 l for a late night hot chocolate. Even at -11°C it had the half litre of water boiling in less than three minutes, and inner warmth soon returned. Donning the Rab Infinity Endurance down jacket I enjoyed the gorgeous night sky a bit more, knowing that soon the stars won’t be seen for the lack of darkness that we have here during the summer in the far north. Even if I planned to go to sleep early, it was past 23 o’clock as I crept into my quilt.
Sonic Boom. Well, not quite. But minutes after I was tucked in, the ice decided to start it’s concert of booms and creaks. The mind plays funny things at those moments, and so I was wondering if I’ll be able to get out of the tent in case the ice under me should collapse and I’m engulfed by freezing cold water. Then the other side of the brain told me that I need not worry, as I’m either way camped close to a small island and hence the water couldn’t be deep under me. And either way, the ice is still over 20cm thick. So the concert continued throughout the night, and I drifted in and out of sleep. A loud boom had me sitting almost upright in the tent, and I welcomed the first rays of sunlight close to 7 o’clock.
There was a bit of hoarfrost on my gear.
I melted a bit of snow, put on my NeoShell Westcomb Switch LT Hoody and enjoyed the scenery with a cup of coffee in hand. A man who was well in is sixties skied past by me at 7.30 o’clock, at a speed which would have me made him guess 40 years younger. He looked surprised, as did I. A quick lap before work, to stay healthy. That’s the Nordic way.
Then it was time to pack. The tent was rolled up and put back in its stuff sack, gear found it’s way into the HMG Porter, I switched from my wonderful Mukluks into the skiing boots, stepped into the bindings and skied off towards civilization. The improvised skiing poles I left at the trail head, and was in time for a second coffee at home, having enjoyed the last cold night of winter before the snow and ice melted away just days later.