Walking on the snowdrift

Vacationing for a couple of days. During the holiday, we engage in leisure activities, mainly eating, sleeping, and admiring the scenery rather than embarking on strenuous hikes. On Tuesday, we headed to Simoskanaapa with our tent and sleds, but this time without skis.

We parked the car at Hangassalmenaho. Walking on the snowdrift was easy; the snowpack was solid. We were aware of the risk that the snow might begin to soften the next day as the weather warmed and rain could even occur. We took the chance and only walked about a kilometer along the marsh. We thought we would still manage to walk back in the sinking snow if needed.

A comfortable spot for the tent was found on the edge of the forested ridge of Hangassalmenaho.

A spot on the edge of the marsh was chosen for the tent. The intention was to dig a pit in front of the tent to make it easier to get out, but the snow was so icy that it remained undone.

Pea soup was cooked for supper using a twig stove. Additional seasoning in the soup included onion and mustard. We prepared “little logs” at home in advance for the twig stove. The burning of wood does slow down in cold weather, but we managed to get warm soup. Haven’t tasted split pea soup this good in a long time.

The Northern Lights danced in the sky during the night, and the moonlight was also magnificent.

During the early hours, the Northern Lights blazed, unfortunately not capturing well on the phone camera. The moonlight was also stunning. The cold intensified gradually, but surprisingly, it was quite warm inside the tent this time.

I bought a new down sleeping pad, and it certainly provided much better insulation than the previous inflatable model. During the night, in addition to the down sleeping pad, I used two sleeping bags and a sleeping bag liner, along with a wool sweater.

Even though it was significantly cold outside, it was quite comfortable inside the tent. My toes were a bit chilly at first, but once they warmed up, sleep came quickly. In the morning, the thermometer showed -25 degrees Celsius, but it gradually rose close to zero by midday.

The tent was pitched on the edge of Simoskanaapa.

The food was stored in a cooler bag, so it didn’t freeze overnight. Sheltered by the tent, we brewed coffee and cooked eggs and bacon for breakfast on the gas stove. When sleeping and moving in the cold, it feels like you could eat constantly.

For dinner, we headed to Järviaapa lean-to shelter. The sun was shining warmly, and the snowdrift held firm. Initially, we thought of taking a shortcut through the forest to Hangassalmenaho parking lot, but after a short distance, my husband started sinking into the snow, so we circled back along the snowmobile track to the open marsh and walked the rest of the way through the open areas. The wintry forest was definitely worth visiting.

It was pleasant to walk on the snowdrifts along the open marshes.

For dinner, we grilled salmon and served it with mashed potatoes. The smaller tail ends of the salmon were perfect for cooking over the fire as they cooked quickly and evenly. I had already seasoned the salmon at home. A few passersby walked past our campfire. It was peaceful on this weekday.

After dinner, we strolled back to the tent for a nap, read a book, and lounged around. A whooper swan circled above the marsh. It was probably one of the first ones this spring. Whooper swans usually settle in the open spots along Martimo-oja first thing in the spring.

Throughout the day, the snow had softened enough for us to dig the trench we needed in front of the tent, making it easier to crawl into. Sitting on the edge of the tent made eating more comfortable, as we could stretch out our legs.

For supper, we cooked sausages and brewed some evening tea. The temperature stayed around a couple of degrees below freezing, and we slept soundly through the night. It got a bit too warm at one point, and we had to shed some layers. Better that way, always.

In the morning, it was sleeting, which softened the snow, but luckily, for the most part, it was still firm during the majority of the return journey.

During the early hours of the morning, we were awakened by the rustling of a forest mouse. The mouse circled around the tent, checking to see if there was any leftover food from the campers. We regretted leaving the coffee grounds in an open container that the mouse sniffed around. It was a good reminder always to pack away all food and utensils at night and not leave them out. After exploring for a while, the mouse disappeared on its own.

After breakfast, we lounged around for a while, waiting for the sleet to stop, and then headed back to the car. Occasionally, our steps sank into the wet snow. We had to walk cautiously to avoid straining ourselves when our feet unexpectedly sank into the snow.

The vacation was enjoyable; we ate, slept, and relaxed. The Northern Lights, moonlight, and basking in the sun topped off the trip, and seeing animals and birds always brings joy.

Translated via ChatGTP