Hiking in Finland

Climbing, bikepacking, skiing & packrafting in the north

The Week in Review

A busy week. A week, in which I passed my Professional Examination, which means I took the practical hurdle on the road to becoming a Wilderness Guide. It feels great to have passed it, and having done so very well. Now three theoretical exams about birds, plants and general nature knowledge remain until I will graduate =)

News & Various:

Check out the David Attenborough narrated UN International Year of Forests - video - it is the appropriate thing to do on World Environmental Day!

Looking for some lighter gear to make your summer trips more enjoyable? Then check out the Nordic Lightpacking Gear Swap, where you for example can find a Hyperlite Mountain Gear Echo I Shelter system for a very good price!

More light gear you can find also at the Outdoor Warehouse, who sell for example the Klymit Inertia X-Frame Sleeping Mat for your lightweight sleeping system!

A new blog dedicated to packrafting in Europe, written in German, can be found at Packrafting Europe. Give Sven and Marc a warm welcome!

Roman Dial admits to being Old School.

Christine's next adventure? Paddling the complete Yukon river in a canoe.

Markus and Carsten instruct us on how to hike 100 km in less than 24 hours.

Project Hyakumeizan takes us on a journey to the centre of Mt Fuji.

John and Jean celebrate their first year on the road and show in beautiful photos where they have been thus far. The start makes Utah, home of those magnificent red rocks and canyons.

Perkunas has been away from the internet, but he still is living a fine bushcrafty life, going fishing, hunting, making stuff with his hands and knife...

Talking of knives, Stick wants to know if you carry a knife in the outdoors - let him know!

I will be on the island of Jungfruskär, part of the Archipelago National Park, next week; doing some meadow cleaning and bird watching while enjoying the fine weather that should be coming our way. Nevertheless there should be Part II of my paddling trip come online.


Some seriously fantastic MYOG backpacks are presented on the Backpacking Light MYOG Forum by Christopher Zimmer. Go check them out and get inspired!

Thomas is making fun of the Laufbursche man purse - the latest fashion trend from Germany :D

Helen is reviewing the Gregory Women's Jade 34 Backpack.

John is singing the accolades of a Dirty Girl.

Another John (lets call him a Shed Dweller =) gives us some intel on the Berghaus Freeflow 25+5 Backpack and shows that it is possible to fit gear and food for two days in it.

Terry reviews the Rab Neutrino 400 down sleeping bag aka "The Orange Slug".

Richard shows off his MYOG skills with his Kick Ass Quilts Potomac project, a synthetic underquilt he made for his hammock.

Basti looks at the Montane Featherlight Smock.


Trip Reports:

Leighton Wight penned a majestic piece about his The Tour Divide: The World's Longest Off-Payment Bicycle Race experience, which you need to read.

Sam went Splitboarding on Memorial Day.

Roger went for a two nights hiking along the Blekingeleden and Laxaleden, enjoying fine views over lakes, rivers and forests.

Brian and Staci wnet for a seven day paddling trip to the BWCA which included fishing, moose and dragonfly sightings as well as fine rainbows.

Adam visits Mono Lake. Splendid photos of an area which could not be more bizarre and alien.

Looking for a very hard yet beautiful day hike? Try Mt. Moosilauke.

Kelley and John visit the Camden Hills State Park. Fine views and wildflowers to be encountered.

FHNR hiked in Portugal, from Porto to Santiago de Compostela. Gorgeous photos of an area which has a lot to offer - fine views and wild camps, for example - make this well worth your time.

The first part of Doom's nine day Solo Bike & Packrafting Tour is a must read.

That kids and toddlers love the outdoors is demonstrated by Eric from Revelate Designs, who took his seven month old son Finn up the Front Range Mountain ridgelines.

Kenburg spend three days in the Cairngorms with a mate.

Jörgen paddles the Voxnan river and its rapids in his packraft in preparation for his upcoming trip.

Andy shares some fine photos from his TGO Challenge.

Nick was wearing a lot of layers on his hike in the Strathconon Corbett.

To summit or not to summit, that is Swanscot's question.

Sitting in the car in carpark, waiting for the rain to stop, Paul and his mate are trying to remember when was the last they hiked in the rain. Once the rain makes a break, they start to walk the Fairfield Horseshoe, one of the finest rounds of the Lakeland.

Pablo has a must see video of him and his mates paddling down Lil' Susitna river - fine tunes included!

Gustav spent a weekend in his local woods. Moose, campfires, luxury food and red-light are to be encountered.

Marcel continues his write-up of his E5 hike, Day 9 takes us from the Braunschweiger Hütte to Zwieselstein.

James starts off his TGO Challenge report, this being his 3rd attempt at completing it we hope to see him succeed! Days 1-4 are up, finely written accompanied with great photos you are well advised to read it.

Dave lets us in on the hardest trip he has ever done - a combination of skiing, packrafting, and hiking.

Robin went for a nice stroll in the Lake District.

Mountain Goats, waterfalls, caves, misty mornings.

Jongunjoki and Ruunaa River Paddling Expedition - Part I

I'm not a big fan of splitting trip reports in several parts, but before I head off into the wild for my Professional Examination on Tuesday & Wednesday I wanted to give you a first taste of the paddling expedition. Expect Part II sometime soon!


The fourth and final expedition of my Wilderness Guide education. Paddling in canoe, kayak and packraft down some very scenic rivers and exciting rapids. Lots of learning, from a excellent teacher.

Signage to our basecamp.

Basecamp for the first four nights.

Monday morning, off to Kuru, throwing my pack into the trailer, climb into the car and off to the East we are. On the way we pick up our canoe & kayak teacher, Petri Leinonen - one of the best paddling teachers in this country, with over 25 years of experience. About six thirty in the evening we arrive at the Jonkerin Lähtöpaikka, basecamp till Friday morning. Here the river Jongunjoki starts, while the Jonkeri lake, from which it is fed, is our playground for the first days.

Petri in the bow, refreshing our memories from last year.

The first "rapid".

Tuesday and Wednesday we take turns in kayak, canoe bow & stern until what we learned last year is again up-to-date. The weather is wet: grey, windy, rain, with the occasional ray of sunshine breaking through. In every free minute we head back to the kota on the shore, a closed hut with a fireplace in the middle, to dry clothes, cook food and boil water for hot beverages while talking about paddling, and the soon to be finished year. Time flies, less than three weeks and this education is done.

A Memorial site. Don't bother unless you get really excited about a big rock in a lake.

This photo describes the general feel of the first few days pretty well.

Tuesday afternoon we go to visit a few war memorial sites. The rebuild trenches and bunkers near lake Saunajärvi are the highlight, we had good fun running around in them and "re-enacting" the war. Yeah, we weren't serious!

Wednesday afternoon then the first training at the Siltakoski rapid, a 70m long Class I playground. Managed to capsize in both canoe and kayak at my first try, which was a great learning experience - after capsizing you're not afraid of the water anymore, and you learn from your mistakes. Eddy turns and ferry gliding were the name of the game, and good fun after you mastered them.

The Kota on the far left, behind it the woodshed, a hut we used for dressing & drying, and in the background another hut which we used to store gear.

Thursday, second morning on the rapids. I got permission to take the packraft, and boy did I have fun on the short Class I rapid - I must have had a manic smile on my face, so much fun it was! Down and portage up were what I did a dozen times, ferry gliding across the current, working up the current into the eddy to do a eddy turn to go back down. Awesome. I want more.

Our vessels. Brand-spanking new Esquif Prospecteur 17 Royalex canoes where what we were paddling, at 2000€ a pop not cheap! The Kayaks already had seen plenty of (ab)use.

Thursday afternoon then a short introduction to something. It was raining, which wasn't bad, but the wind which was howling made us all look like a sorry bunch. Before it was go to sleep time, it was "Say what ya wanna paddle tomorrow" time. Kayaks were popular, and after some discussing and thinking a satisfying solution was found. I was to paddle in a canoe with a good mate, someone of whom I knew that we would work well together. Off to sleep then.

Thursday evening. Calm before the storm.

Friday morning, breaking camp, packing, lashing gear into the canoes and kayaks. First time, so it took a fair amount of time for us 11 students. By eleven o'clock we were ready, and we started to paddle down the Jongunjoki.

The weather got better!

The first few rapids were short Class I, nothing to get out and go scouting for. There were some lakes to be traversed, thankfully it was fairly windstill so there wasn't much of physical effort involved. After some time paddling we reached the 550 m long/ 7 m drop Kalliokoski - Boulder Rapid - our first Class II rapid. Getting out and scouting, getting the lodown from Petri, getting back to the vessels, deciding who goes first, second, third... Building up anxiety. Waiting makes me nervous, and in a group of nine canoes and kayaks, well, expect to wait for a while. Thankfully we soon had a go, giving a 110%, being full of adrenaline we had a fine run down, big smiles after having mastered this first challenge.

We continued to the lunch site, the sun came out and it was gloriously fine, laughter and smiles all around while we strengthened ourselves for the remaining 15 km.

Hiidenportti, the second Class II+ rapid.

We soon reached Hiidenportti, a Class II - II+ rapid which has capsized many great paddlers, as Petri told us - it is a tricky rapid where you quickly need to switch sides or end up smashing in a rock and capsizing. Again getting out, again scouting, again discussing routes, again who goes first, second, third...


Middle - scouting from the bridge.

And it continuous.

Happy paddlers after a perfect run!

Hiidenportti was tricky also because there's not much leeway above the rapid - there's another Class I right before it, so it is backwards ferry glide across the current, eddy turn in and off you go. As you can see from the photos, my mate and me did it without getting wet, a sweet run, pumped with endorphines and being really happy about doing it so well. We waited for the rest of the group, had a little post-excitement drink and snack, before the paddling continued.

Paddling continues after everyone came down Hiidenportti.

After Hiddenportti there were seven more rapids, of which only Pässipyörteenkoski with its one meter drop right at the beginning is worth mentioning. We arrived at the Otroskoski campsite, the (open & free!) Sauna already being heated by some other paddlers, ready for us later on. I asked Petri if it'd be cool to run the last few rapids with the packraft, and got permission for take-off. Wading through a contributory stream and bushwacking through the forest up along the stream, I reached after a while the V before Pässipyörteenkoski. Inflate, strap the pack to the Alpaca, PFD, Helmet, Spraydeck closed and off I went. Good fun, but sadly too short.

Otroskosken hut (top right) & sauna. Plan a stop here if you paddle down Jongunjoki.

Camp that first night paddling.

After having successfully run the river in the packraft I was just in time for the evening meeting, in which we discussed the past day and the next day. While I munched my dinner the sauna was getting ready, and a fine sauna it was. A dip in the river was the refreshment needed, before heading off to sleep & sweet dreams.


To be continued.

The Week in Review

Back from an epic 11 days paddling trip, which was concluded with me now being a BCU 2 Star Paddler in both Open Canoe and Kayak. Sweet. Packrafting was a lot more fun though, so much that more trips are being planned, with more white water. And a bike.

Watch the whole video.

News & Various:

The Backcountry Boiler Mk II is available on Kickstarter - back this project and get yours!

Mike Clelland! recommends these online essays from Glen Van Peski: How to go Lighter. And when you're done with it, get Mike's new book: Ultralight Backpackin' Trips.

Haydn showcases the unidentified alien insects of Snowdonia and needs your help in identifying them!

Martin is also back home from the TGO Challenge, and a challenge it was this year.

There were fantastic Guest Articles here on HIF while I was out paddling - it started last week with Roman Dial's "We were a Party Train on an Errand", continued with Peter Nylund's "Bikepacking in Finland" and concluded with Joe Newton's "Death To Rain Pants" - make sure to read them if you haven't yet!



Thomas shows off his 136 g First Aid kit and would like your input.

Benjamin Roode shows off a Group Pot Stand and Windscreen in this free Backpacking Light Article.

Dave gives us his snap judgment on the Montane Spektr.

Il Dolce Far Niente went to experience kayaking with Greenland paddles for the first time which looks very interesting.

Ryan presents his spring 2011 Backpacking Gear List.

Alan shows us his major modifications he made to his Tarptent Moment.

Tim and Robin review the Vasque Mindbender 7516 Trail Running Shoes.

Phil shares his TGO Challenge 2011 Kit Thoughts with us in some fine videos.


Trip Reports:

Doom did it again - an epic trip report. Spring Utah loop, section 1 is a must read.

Aaron gives us a mighty fine spring update. Biking, packrafting, skiing, travels, all to be had in fine photos and texts - check it out.

Greg went for a trip on the Cathedral Range Circuit - The Sequel.

Christine takes a hike through Germany and gives us the lodown on the Swabian Alb in this episode.

The coastkid goes down a trip on memory lane.

Kristen and Ville made the first 252 miles on the PCT, from the Mexican border to Big Bear.

Matt puts smiles over miles on his two day, one night fastpack shakedown hike along the Iron Mtn., Appalachian and Virginia Creeper Trails.

Stephanie and Dustin went to heaven. Or "just" to Rocky Mountain National Park.

Adam on the other hand went to visit Yosemite National Park, and found Half Dome a mighty impressive sight.