September, ruska season in full swing, and 6 cyclists in the wind looking for a connection with the spirit of Finnish Nature (read an equinox storm).
No plans being drawn in advance, they let their heart lead the way. First, the well-trodden Kunnarlantie towards Pirttimäki. Answering the spell of the forest, they promptly turned to Reitti 2000, the famous long distance trail of Helsinki metropolitan area. Hazy memories from previous hiking trips led to think the section up North from Pirttimäki would be cyclable, but reality quickly kicked in and soon they found themselves pushing the bikes over roots and rocks.
Still in high spirits, a decision nonetheless had to be taken:
continuing in the forest over bumpy terrain, or rolling easily along the
nicest touring road of the region, Velskolantie?
Unable to resist
the attraction for smooth asphalt once in sight, our cyclists turned to
the road, cruising up and down the hills. Reaching the crossroad on Vihdintie they all came with a general agreement about the place for
camp: The laavu of Kämmenlampi bordering Espoo and Vihti, by the Reitti
After pondering 3 different options to reach it, the group pushed North towards Rinnekoti in full speed. The Beast, having
some recollection from a solo walk along the Reitti 2000 in 2012 was put with the duty to find the connection to the trail. A lucky spotting of a
fading blue and white mark on a tree and all were back on a
challenging terrain once again, definitely more suitable for hiking than
Darkness setting in, the push over mires and streams
through the woods went on for a good while, until full night finally
came. A quick glance at the map was enough to realize it would still
take at least an hour of painful effort along the trail to reach the
laavu. With some creative map reading, an alternative route was chosen:
first circumnavigating a lake on a countryside road, followed by a few
hundred meters of hacking our way through the woods keeping a second lake
on our right to keep the right direction, to finally find Myllymajalämmentie where the sign to
the laavu was indicated. The plan worked brilliantly!
Deep in the night
the sight of 6 cyclists coming from nowhere might have scared a bit the 2
hikers already at the laavu, but it looks like they did not mind the
company. A proper autumn storm scheduled for the night, Lee, Robin and
Florian opted for the laavu to set up their sleeping systems, while
Nick, Christiane and Xavier would try their luck setting up their
shelters to see how they would hold in the wind and heavy rain. The
usual dinner in common was enjoyed and after a few silly discussions it
was time to blow off the candles and call it a night.
winds, torrential rain (almost no exaggeration here), nothing could
trouble the sleep of our tired cyclists. A bright sun and crisp autumn
air welcomed their morning, feeling at at one with themselves, each
other, and the surrounding nature.
A brief breakfast, a straight ride
along Vihdintie with Nick and Robin and I was home, full of memories of
the last few hours. Who said you cannot get an adventure in less than
24 hours? Certainly not Sub24 Helsinki.
Thanks all for the companionship and the great times out there.
with a distant target in mind: The beautiful peninsula of Porkkala and its
numerous dear and elk. One group left from Bemböle and another from Otaniemi
to meet at Länsiväylä’s bridge on the border of Kirkkonummi. My group was a bit
early and we could indulge in the contemplation of fishermen pulling pikes and perch
from the water. If fishing calms down the soul, watching fishermen is even more
powerful anti-stress activity. The sub24 group was strong of seven riders this
time, in a merry mood and ready to explore new roads. From Sarvvikin Puistotie,
we turned left to Finnbyntie to risk ourselves in a web of country side roads. Making
the most of digitalized printed map, satellite geolocalization and Nokia map,
we found our way to Långvik, crossing some farm roads and entertaining some
friendly cows (I take the opportunity to thank the monster-sized bull to have stayed
out of sight). Near Långvik, we made an unusual decision: we changed our plan
and decided to head for Väransby. The reason was that orienteering might have
been difficult on the never ending web of small roads. Now that I write these
lines, I see that Honskbyvägen
and Bondarbyvägen would have lead us relatively simply to Porkkalantie.
Let’s keep that in mind for another time.
The ride continued smoothly to the
very beautiful camping spot of Väransby. The still water was a mirror,
reflecting the stunning archipelago landscape. Few riders could resist the temptation
to swim surrounded by the colours of the setting sun despite the water having turned to the chilly side already.
The shelter had been rebuilt since last time
and once again we were thankful for the good job of the organizations keeping these
shelters in such good shape.
The evening went with cooking, shared treats,
happy fire and good company. Apparently mosquitoes already stopped to be a
threat at this time of the year. Some geese were making test flights in the sky, getting ready for their migration to Continental Europe. My heart tensed for a second at the thought that these birds take the summer away and we are heading fast into another round of darkness.
Please, never do that and consider more sensible camping stove.
In the morning, a small group of early birds
left early, while the rest took hearty breakfast and good coffee. We went back
to Bemböle by Kuninkaantie. Thanks to all the riders for this pleasant edition
and stayed tuned for the next ride that might include a surprise. -Olivier