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Old 09-30-2012, 03:45 AM   #15
Thijs_B OP
Keeps on dreaming
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Joined: Oct 2011
Location: That floaty bit just north of France
Oddometer: 84
Laugh Day 5 - Going east

I've heard that first time wild campers sometimes have some difficulties, like trouble sleeping, making wild animals out of every noise, things like that. Never had these problems though, slept like a rock and only woke up once to do a toilet run. Even then I didn't feel scared or even overwhelmed by the darkness of the forest, which kinda surprised me a bit.

Anyway, GPS track of the day:

No city or town names this time. Doesn't matter, Finland's mostly one big beautiful forest anyway (no offense).

The good weather hadn't carried through the night, it started raining and in the morning it was still drizzling. As I started packing it suddenly stopped however and I was able to keep the inner tent dry.

For the first time I used one of the many dirt roads that Finland has, and although it was a bit slippery had some fun doing so.

And the skies started to clear too!

I then followed the main roads going north east, to Iisalmi, Kajaani and Suomussalmi. From there I got on the 843 road, which took me into 'reindeer land' and close to the Russian border. These 'main roads' were however nice, clean and two lane, so nothing like highways, so for me there wasn't really a reason to avoid them.

Forest floor, looked like this probably hundreds of kilometers in all directions.

Found a nice place for a break next to a lake, and laid on my back on the comfortable forest floor. Unknown to me at the time this was the last break I was able to spent like this...

Notice the knees, still struggling here in Scandinavia. Bad weather closing in on the left though.

First reindeer of the trip, first of many. Unless that belt contains some sort of GPS device, I wonder how the Sami keep track of them in this seemingly fenceless wilderness.

For almost the entire day I had seen bad weather coming in my mirrors, but I was able to stay in front of it all the time. I found a place to put the tent by following a path that was probably used by wood lumberers in the past. I followed it for about half a kilometer and found a nice open area where I could camp out of the view from the road.

As I was putting up the tent, the bad weather finally started to catch up with me, and the wind started to pick up. I hurried to get everything in place, and was just closing my panniers when the rain started coming down like a monsoon. I ran to the tent and literally dove in to stay dry. After about half an hour of heavy rain it suddenly stopped and I was able to start prepping food and take a picture of camp.

Second wild camp! Bad weather going away in the background.

Measured in a direct line I was around 4km from the Russian border, so the hills I saw in the distance were Russian. Hey, at least I now have seen a bit of Russia

I knew I was in bear country, so while walking around I whistled some stupid song and looked around for tracks. Didn't find any bear ones, but saw some moose tracks the size of my hand (with fingers spread) around 2m apart. These animals were huge! Found some dog paws around a km from the tent as well, didn't think much of it until realizing the morning after that these were probably wolf prints

As the sun was setting the skies were very beautiful, still threatening with rain but with the occasional blue spots.

Clouds moving over Russia, still can't believe how close I am.

A lonely tree in the open field.

The clouds eventually closed the sky and I just got in the tent to escape from all the pesky mosquitos. There was no rain the entire night though.

Somewhere in the night I woke up because of a sudden light surrounding the tent. Looking out I saw the skies had opened up and that light came from the moon. I decided to go out and use my tripod to try and capture the scene (and of course to 'shake hands with the king'). The entire forest was lit, and I didn't need a flashlight to move around. I lit the small light I had in the tent and took the shots.

Since there was too little light to autofocus, and because I didn't have my contacts in, I couldn't get the manual focus right. The pictures looked good on the screen at the time so I went back to sleep (it was very, VERY cold as well). If only these would have been in focus

My lens just wasn't wide enough to get the moon in taking the shot horizontally, and the dense forest started behind me so I couldn't move back more.

The clouds were moving fast.

Even then, with pitch black forest probably hundreds of kilometers all around me, I surprised myself by not even being the least nervous or scared about bears, wolves, moose or even trolls. Guess I'm not such a pussy as I thought

Anyway, daystats:
Traveled 400 km in just over 5 hours in the seat, with 76 km/h average. Currently 2060 kilometers away from home.

The next day I would be going more back towards the west, and make for Rovaniemi and the 'obligatory' arctic circle stuff at Santapark.
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