I went walking this weekend. The original plan was to test new equipment for a much longer walk and the secondary goal was to get from Kunda to Aegviidu in about 2,5 days. LAst part didn’t work out so good though.
Leaving home on Saturday morning I felt light and it sure was lighter than ever. I carried almost all the gear planned for Alps and the backpack was still about 6kg with two days food , but no water. So after two buses I was in Kunda, looking at the Finnish gulf and my watch which showed 0900am. And the mosquitoes began their everlasting attack.
Going was fairly easy – mostly on trails, occasionally gravel and some stretches of tarmac. And even some quite interesting off-road moments and river crossings. Some of which I forgot to take photos as I just discovered.
Although I had to alter my course a bit due to private property and cover more tarmac, I was in my first rest place on the old airfield near Rutja. Distance covered: about 17km in 4 hours. Had a quick snack and evaluated the damage to my feet done by too small trailrunners. The damage was worring with left heel having a open blister. So I only took one photo and then I was back on the road.
Some more landscape to keep me interested and plenty of stinging nettle. River and stream crossings were quite constant through the day, but I was lucky enough to find natural bridges so no swimming. In the mud of some small ditch I found tracks of a bear. And later on some bear shit and moose bones. The latter was probably not a bear kill, ’cause the skeleton was too intact. I figure that a bear rips the carcass apart pretty good. Again no picture, but I can show the locations on a map, so you can get off your chair and do something good for yourself.
After following some more bear tracks I reached the sea again and pressed on towards west. Feet were not very good at all. Mustjõe camping spot proved as pointless as you’d imagine a closed clearing to be with river very close by so death inflicted by blood drainage would have been a very unsurprising discovery in the morning. And I wasn’t done also. Some more bush-whacking and nettles led me finally to a trail again.
From that point on it purely going for the sake of getting there. I have travelled the path between Oandu and Võsu about two times before although in different direction so I was extremely glad when it ended in another much windier camping place and I could take off the trailrunners. It wasn’t pretty and it felt accordingly. You don’t want pictures – really. Time was 1915pm. With one longer pause of 20 minutes I had been walking for about 10 hours straight and it felt accordingly. I considered the distance to be about 30km, which left me wondering how was I so slow. fortunately when measuring the distance later I found that it was actually 44km, making the speed 4,4km/h. And that’s quite good pace considering the occasional off-trail sections and so on. When I timed my self on good surface I was going nearly at a 6km/h speed. You wouldn’t do that with a 20kg pack.
About some key gear elements. GoLite Pinnacle backpack needs some careful packing to be really one with your bosy. As its a frameless pack it doesn’t hold it’s shape. At first I just had the stuff inside the pack and I didn’t have all the space filled out the bottom of the pack was full and top was empty. Tha made the part with hip belt hold nicely to my back, but the rest of it curved away leaving a space between the pack and my back you could throw a javelin through. The other solution I tried and which worked much better was to but my sleepingpad inside the pack for a cylindrical shape and thenput all the things into the space created. that aactually takes a lof of space away. Using a Therm-a-Rest Z-lite could work better.
GoLite RS 1+ quit. I’m not sure what the exact temperature was that night, but I doubt it was under +5 C. I used the Multimat Adventure under it and the BPL Vapr bivy around all this. Although the sky looked suspicios in the evening there was no rain, but somewhat strong gusts of wind. The main problem reported when using quilts is that it’s a hassle to get it nice and tight so the cold wind doesn’t get in. I really didnt bother with it and occasionally I woke and had to adjust the quilt. Bivy kept most of the wind away anyway. When I checked the inside of the bivy at night thee was some condensation, but none at the morning. When I did set the quilt correctly around the pad it was really good. just have to practice it more. I have the longer version of the quilt and although I’m 188 I can close the top drawstring and have all my body inside the bag.It would probably get more stuffy than I like though.
BPL Vapr bivy. As said there was some condensationduring the night. What I like the most was that you can rise the headspace to get the mosquito net away from you face and have breathing room.
Trailrunners New Balance 461. Cant say anything good about them, ’cause urrently I have two huge blisters on my feet. Just a size too small and that’s totally my fault. And I did hit my toe on few occasions, when I didn’t watch the ground carefully enough. buthtey are still suitable for biking.
3 more days to go before my flight
More hiking and gear talk.
Recently I ordered a backpack for myself. After a quite a lot of reading I decided to go with the GoLite Pinnacle. It’s big – 72 liters and should comfortably carry weight up to 18 kg. That about the max I’m at this point willing to carry for a long periods of time. I hope to stay near 10kg this summer. Last summer I had the Matrix Omega110 with 110 liter capacity and I had spare room. Although I more than often filled it with too much food. Reducing the volume of the pack should keep me from gathering junk. Now the greatest part of the new pack is how much itself weighs. The old Omega was 2,7kg and the new Pinnacle ONLY 0,96kg. That’s a huge difference. The difference could mean like 4 days of food or whatever else. I plan to take it for a spin or two as I gather the gear I plan to take along this summer.
I also received a very thorough book about backpacking and lightweight backpacking. It’s “The backpackers handbook” by Chris Townsend. It begins with Chris explaining a lot about his thoughts about hiking. And I find my own thoughts matching very well with his. Although most of his experience is based on America it can still be related to hiking in general.
I feel myself confident enough on trail alone I believe that the decades of hiking can teach me quite a lot.