temptation still has a hold on me

a little winter camping is the subject of today’s lesson. Destination was Soomaa with it’s large bogs and rivers and mission to spend a weekend exploring the area on snowshoes and to survive a night out. although the weather forecast wasn’t that promising we hit a perfect winter day. Sky was clear and temperature around -5 C. We started off from Saarisoo at about 10am, crossed a river and soon stood in a bog.
 Bogs in that area are the biggest in Estonia. they used to smaller, but many of them have joined and now there’sa one so big that it make take you a whole day to cross. As usually in bogs there’s no high vegetation – smaller pines at most and some birches. There are some smaller island like spots where trees are a bit higher o it’s no unlikely to see to a distance of 10 km or so. At spring and fall these a impassable, a little bit more dry in summer, but still and abstacle. But in winter, cold winter – they freeze and people often use winter-roads across them. When there’s not much snow then you don’t actually need snowshoes, but they might come handy still, ’cause frozen or not bogs can still be trecherous.
What i liked most about saturday was the total peace i founs there – there was no-one else around besides us in as far as one could see. No tracks, but those of few smaller animals, no sounds, but from my footsteps. Total peace. And i could go anywhere i pleased – overs hags, follow a track made by a fox. You can’t really capture that feling on a photo – you can only go and see for yourself. we followed the map to our camping place rather loosely and reached it at 2pm. The camping place was on an old farmplace and there were volunteers clearing the place from brush. We helped them out ’till out lunch was being prepared.
Considering the location of the house i couldn’s help but to wonder what where the people living off from in that place – not much space available for farming – only rivers, bogs and forest around. I guess the fact that some place is only yours measures it all up.
Lunch, tents up and then off again to see the sunset. The latter didn’t work out very well due a poor choice of location, but we got to see he sun disappear behind the trees :P. Now about the night – there were 8 of us in two chambers and we had thisgas operating heater to warm up the place – turned it off for the night. I had my  rather thin sleeping matress, -13C comfort/-21 extreme sleeping bag, inner linen and odlo long underwear. We also had this folium like this sheet under matresses. Just in case i wraffep a fleece around my legs and wore a polar Buff. I hate to sleep with the sleeping bag fully closed. And it felt warm – could have been warmer, but it was comfortableenough. For the night the temperature fell to -16C. The worst was when i had to go out to ake a leak in the middle of the night. My boots were already quite frozen and a moment before i stepped outside i got a thought – what if there are animals outside helping themselves with our leftovers. I thought about it afterwards also, when i was already back in my sleepingbag ’cause i had noticed our kettle by the tent right next to the place i was sleeping. That could have been a great moment – me snoring in my sleeping bag and behind two thin tent walls a bear having a go on out pasta :D. And there were fresh animal footprints in the morning. Should have gotten up to see the sunrise – lazy f**k. during the night our body heat condensed on the tent walls and froze and melted again when the snow was up and shining on our tent.
Next morning after the breakfast we continued with short walk to the river where some kick sledges were waiting. Hopes were up to see some decent speed on the ice but were crushed in 50 meters. There was only some loose snow on the ice so when you tried to kick all you got was a meter of slide and the kicking legs slipping. Turned out really frustrating. in Few kilometers it bcame clear that the easiest way was just to drag the slegde long. the coolest was that there were spots where the river was open and you could see the water flowing while walking just 2 meters from the edge. Towards the end i figured out that using older tracks and footprints, where snow had been pressed to the ice and had frozen there you could actually get a somewhat decent kick without slipping. But by that time i was rather tired and bored from the 6 km of just pushing the sledge. We finished the trip with a much welcome sauna and everybody was off – for me it meant a 2-hour drive. In total we covered about 25 km
Nw two things tha worry me – i give away so much body heat hourhg my sleeping bag that the cover of my matresse was wet in the morning, but luckily that meant only wet from the outside; my fet weat so much that in the end we feet are wet and cold and it’s freaking bad. I don’t believe that my boots allow that much water to pass through.
The pictures don’t show our exact track, ’cause i have no gps and that’s not that important too. The bigger picture show how big the bogs really are around there

.

more pictures here

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now playing: gamma ray – to mother earth

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