We walked from Rastila to reach the frozen sea, got quickly on our ski ready as the cold made us to hurry. The night was young, the Vartiokylänlahti was flooded with moonlight, and the snow gave the feeling that the whole world was somehow soft and fluffy. Except for the bitter cold that was getting my fingers stiff. The column of skiers headed silently towards Ramsinsalmi, I believe it took all our attention to wonder at the frozen world around us while the city lights were becoming distant in our back. I felt at peace there. I have to say the preparation was particularly eventful since Gertrude* and Florence* expressed their interest in joining the trip a couple of days before that despite having no winter camping gear what so ever and no experience of camping in cold weather. That should not be any obstacle and we had swiftly found for a pair of ski and boots, warmer clothes, winter sleeping bags, camping mattresses and headlamp.
The tracks of a previous skier passed the salmi, a place were weaker ice is often found. Relieved we could just followed and ski onto Kallalahdenselkä. Then Malkasaari, our destination, was visible, straight east, a massive black shadow over the white sea. There is always a particular feeling about navigating the sea in the middle of the night, when everything is frozen still. Like if I was on the verge of waking up from a dream as the surroundings are so surreal. But it was no time to ponder about that as we arrived and it was time to light up a roaring fire, serve tea and cook. Soon enough, the smell of rice in tomato tuna sauce was filling the air and everything felt into place. We could enjoy the evening, share food and dance to warm up.
The evening was pleasant, but we were not up late. Some chose the basement of the shelter to sleep, while some could not resist the call of the stars. I went in my sleeping bag and stared at the moon for a long while as warm blood was getting back at my feet.
In my experience, a night out in the cold is a mixture of wonder at the possibility to sleep in such a beautiful nature, the numerous wakes up during the night to adjust the position and the forever cold nose. However we all wake up in time to see the horizon taking all the shade from grey to the orange of the dawn. Warm raspberry porridge helped us to gather all our energy to head back by the same way by a beautiful day.
In the bus to my place, I could see hordes of skier heading to Paloheinä and I blessed the fear and respect that keep the mass of skier away from the archipelago.
Thank to our newcomers for the nice company, looking forward to see you in future sub24!
*Maybe real name