19 February 2012

Trekking in Campra, Ticino CH

December 2011

Mid Feb-12 past already. It's been snowing today, the whole day. We'd get 20cm of fresh new snow.  Overall 2 feet limit should be exceeded. In other words, dream alike winter conditions in southern Finland.

These are circumstances outdoors and I'm at indoors. I've got a heel injury some weeks ago and still cannot do any activities. Speed of recovery is slow, extremely slow. Frustrating indeed.

As there's nothing new to write about, I'll record a one day hike I did in early December in Switzerland.  At that time there was practically no snow, at least not below 2500 meters.  As I forgot my tent to Finland, I was able to do only day hikes, you may know the feeling ...

I went to hike to Campra, to a cross country skiing center in Ticino. I'd never been there without snow, but was keen on seeing it 'naked' at winter.

By the way, in Campra, in about two weeks time there are Swiss National Championships of Cross Country Skiing. Go and have a look if you are near by (30.3.-1.4.). Location here.

Campra is located in Valle di Blenio, in northern part of Ticino (Tessin) Canton. Campra itself is a small, relatively flat valley, on about 1500m above sea level.  The sun melts snow quite quickly on these southern slopes of the Alps.  However, the sun does not directly hit the ski tracks in Campra during some weeks in Dec-Feb, ensuring perfect ski conditions for some weeks.

Although Campra is a very modest ski center, the place is famous for Italians, too. It is easier to reach than similar ski resorts in Lombardia Alps. At weekends there are several buses from Italy bringing ski enthusiasts. During last years, there's been national teams from various Eastern European countries having their high altitude ski camps there.

Ski tracks are colour coded, green, blue, red and black. I've usually spent most time on blue track, but when feeling sporty, red has been the choice. On black I've done only few times, as it raises my pulse too much.

I've been skiing there many times. Tracks are always maintained and are in perfect condition.  Unlike in Finland, in Ticino (CH) municipals do not maintain ski tracks. Thus e.g. in Campra, there is a business behind to keep things ship shape.  That's the reason that you have to pay in order to able to ski there, e.g. something like 6 Euros per day. When you enter the small room where to pay, look at photos hanging on the wall. Familiar? Yes, e.g. Aino-Kaisa Saarinen, Virpi Kuitunen etc.

One more thing about Campra. While reading local newspaper there I learnt that Campra will go under total renovation plan soon. Several millions of Swiss Francs will be invested there.

I walked through blue, red and black tracks, not fully circling them but zig zagging here and there. Treeless area in the valley are for animals and agriculture. You can smell it when there's no snow :)

There were several small creeks directing water down straight from circling mountains. Larger the waterfall, greater the sound in them. To me they were inspiring places to experience taking photos with slow shutter speed.

There's one river, which comes down through Blenio valley. At Campra it is still a small stream, crystal clear water though.

You could see animal waste here and there. I was really hoping to see some wild animals and capture some of them by a camera. I was too optimistic, as I quickly saw some wild deer in far distance but that was all.

Here's a hiked route, some 10km  (view larger map):

Here's some photos

A stream from Alpe Rideigra

A Shicane

Ice formation

Self Portrait

1 second of water flow



The main field without snow ...

... and the same field with snow

05 February 2012

A City Walk, sort of

January 2012

It's the beginning of February. We have about half a meter snow in Southern Finland. Condition of skiing tracks like in a dream. Temperature meter showed -27C this morning.  The sun was about to rise soon, no clouds. All prospects for a great day at outdoors, but ...

... earlier this week a doctor had diagnosed a repetitive strain injury in my heel. He had instructed me not to stress my heel practically at all, so walking, running, skiing etc. were all banned for the time being.  Grrr!  

  Both of these meant a day off from outdoors, a boring day at indoors waiting. So, what to do then? Time to record some old outdoor stuff.

This walk happened on a cold Sunday, in the beginning of January. It had been cloudy some time already but weather forecast promised sunshine for the whole day.

Temperature was -14C, until then the coldest day of this winter. However, the sunshine ruled and inspired for some outdoor activities.

Hadn't been a long time in East of Helsinki. Wanted to capture some photos about a sunrise on the sea. Thus, headed by car to Vuosaari, a 54th suburb of Helsinki. Drove to the beach in Kallahti, a beautiful peninsula.

There were several people already there shooting photos. Most shivered by cold weather, but nature and the sun kept them there. It was the right time for sea smoke, too.

After capturing some photos and getting really cold, started to walk back to Kallahti. The sea had started to freeze, but mostly it was still open even near the coast line.  There was just a little bit of snow. However, enough for kids, as they learnt skiing on a thin layer of white powder.

At Kallahti bay, there was a wonderful old coffee house. Hot coffee with just baked warm bun crowned the moment. Vuosaari is the right place to talk about coffee as Paulig coffee roastery has been located there a long time. To me it always brought nice smell around its neighborhood. Last year it moved its roastery closer to new harbour, so probably good smell disappeared, too?

After a break headed towards a newly built area in Vuosaari, Aurinkolahti bay. There was a walkway built  between houses and the sea, following the coastline. Despite cold weather it was full of people, who slowly spent their day there. For me it was just a walk-through route to my second target, Uutela Recreation Area.

Uutela area is very popular place for outdoors. There is a nature path, some shelters where to make fire, beaches plus numerous places to enjoy awesome view of archipelago. Bird watchers stay there around the year.

Walked via nature path, stopping near shore every now and then. Followed the path through Skatta farm house (farm house became more famous after Miina Äkkijyrkkä, an eccentric artist, who used to live rich life in there few years back).

Not long from a nature path in east side one can see the new harbour of Helsinki, Vuosaari Harbour. Huge cranes loading goods into large boats is a common view there.

Time for daylight is quite short in January. It was time to head back to Kallahti beach, where my car stayed. Another good reason was sudden clouds which quickly came from the sea, bringing absolute cloudiness, covering just the coast line.

Uutela and Kallahti were places where I would return next summer, either by bicycle or by sea kayak.

GPS stored route, 16km (view larger map):

Some photos

A route to Kallahti is magnificent 

No duties today

Sea Smoke

Open sea towards Haapasaari

Ice formation, like a puzzle

Willows On The Rocks


Hmm ...

A Blue Tit

A Great Tit

A Redpoll

Hungry Swans

Lohiniemi Beach

Villa Ullas in Kallahti

A Pier in Kallahti

Open water next time in April/may 2012

A View with a Scenery

Beach activity during winter


Uutela Nature Path

A Pony at Skatta Farm House

Observing the Sea

Monsters in Vuosaari Harbour

Heading out