31 December 2012

Summing Up My Outdoor Year 2012

December 2012

The year 2012 started fresh and green.  Did few day hikes on Nuuksio National Park:

On a cold Sunday saw sea smoke coming, the Baltic of Finland was about to freeze soon:

Soon in January we got lots of snow in the Southern Finland.  Couldn't imagine proper winter without snow. Spent time on cross country skis and on snowshoes:

The whole year was shadowed by too many injuries. The first one, a pain on heel, interrupted my cross country skiing and snowshoeing season. February I spent on a Gym, mostly on cycling with a stationary bicycle.

Visited the Korkeasaari Zoo in Helsinki in early March and met an Owl:

In mid March took a city break at Amsterdam. Did lots of cycling there. Interesting place:

End of March did a two day hiking trip to Nuuksio National Park, to test a Bivy Bag for the very first time. Positive experience:

At Easter time, there was some Spring feeling in the air:

April started to be busy time at outdoors; started a bicycle commuting to work, a sea kayaking season. Rivers got rid of ice, allowing paddlers to enjoy watery rapids:

Early May did a two days hiking trip to Liesjärvi National Park. Lakes and forest, nice place:

May was filled with cycling, paddling, running and orienteering. Such a busy month.

Did also lots was birdwatching, as well as observing nature in general. Nice places visited were Karkali and Uutela Nature Reserve areas:

Bought a new bicycle for commuting. It inspired even more cycling, which took quite a slice of spare time.

In June did some paddling trips, one to Lill Skorvan island on Kirkkonummi:

Orienteering has been one of most favourites, Jukolan Viesti preseting its glory:

Made the 2nd paddling trip to a brand new Selkämeri National Park in June. Such nice remote islands, a great place for paddling:

Midsummer time everything gets in bloom. It's also a busy time for animals:

In early July, did some hiking trips in Switzerland (blog posts still to come!):

Back in Finland, did a combined, two days, paddling and hiking trip to Repovesi National Park. Again, magnificent place:

Cycling stole lots of my spare time from paddling. A cycling trip to the city of Porvoo was nice, but then BANG, fell off the bike and hurt my wrist (which later proved to be a broken bone):

Hand hurt a lot, but the highlight of the whole year was already in sight, 9 days paddling trip to Gulf of Finland National Park.  Did the trip even it hurt quite a lot. That's not all, fell down during the trip and got a broken rib. Ibuprofein saved the trip.

Recovering from all, paddling had to wait. Filled spare time by cycling and birdwatching.

Autumn had arrived. Birds were migrating, heading towards south. Autumn foliage brought awesome colours in nature.

Finally, did some paddling trips, one to Torra Lövö island:

Finished paddling season earlier than usual. Again, cycling stole most of the time.  Was a bit lazy, so day hikes on weekends was about enough, like the one to Luukki:

In early December visited Utö island again. Such a great place, actually the whole archipelago is quite special and unique:

In December we got lots of snow, I mean a lot. White Christmas filled the land:

Now when writing this on New Year's Eve, temperature stays above zero centigrades, outdoor activities have to wait.

Some statistics about my outdoor year 2012:

  • Did altogether about 5200 km, from where
    • 3700 km of cycling
    • 600 km of paddling
    • 300 km of running/orienteering
    • 600 km of hiking/walking/snowshoeing

The best photo I took during 2012? Although taken on artificial conditions (the zoo), I'll pick up this one (all of them in Picasa):

Happy New Year !

27 December 2012

Walks on Nature during Christmas

December 2012

It was a white Christmas in southern Finland. Really white, nearly two feet of snow, trees covered by fresh powder.

Christmas time is the darkest time of the year, too. Sun rises about 10AM and sets at about 3PM in southern Finland. Snow brings some brightness for cloudy days. The sun seems to be a rare view, or so it feels too often. There's a kind of blue dim on cloudy days.

Walked on small country roads and paths with a camera. It's quite silent in forest, woodpeckers doing their daily routines, deers been crossing paths here and there, though not visible for humans.

The sun appeared on the day before Christmas eve. In forest, it stayed so low and never rose above tree line.

On Christmas eve came a sudden snowfall. Sky cleared off just before the sunset bringing yellow ball visible for a short period. Tried to shoot snowing photos, pretty difficult.

It was dark and cloudy on Christmas day. Went to see the sea. Found some places with open water. Few days more and all would be frozen for a couple of months at least. The moon appeared late in the evening. Again few shots of shadows it made in a forest.

Does Santa & Rudolph use this old forest road?

A typical disorder

A frozen pond

Challenges on forest road

Young birch trees

An Aspen tree reaching for skies

There's the sun, somewhere

A mother and her two children

Hunting season's finished, almost


Sun light

A pine forest

A sick birch tree, I presume?

This is what I typically saw there, dark and thick forest

Time to leave

So close but so far away

It's snowing

After 2 hours of snowfall




Sea-buckthorn bushes on winter

Winter conditions

This bird should have migrated already

Getting frozen

Traces of a hare on moon light