Millennium hike: Town day

Hiking in Finland - Day Trips and Backpacking Expeditions
Jouni laaksonen 23.11.2018

(This is a long story about a two month skiing expedition across Lapland. The first part you can find here.)

After three weeks of hiking, after three large wilderness areas, we arrived in Karigasniemi town. That happened in previous post.

Hiking in Finland - Day Trips and Backpacking Expeditions

Karigasniemi is between areas 3 and 4.

There were many nice things in town, like telephoning home, having a shower, eating in a restaurant, getting our own packages from the post office, and letters from friends and relatives, too.

Also sleeping was different. It was nice to sleep in a bed with linens, and it was especially good to sleep without water bottle, camera, headlamp and spare batteries. All those need to be kept warm, or at least unfrozen, which means we took them always with us to the sleeping bag.

Hiking in Finland - Day Trips and Backpacking Expeditions

This is the waste produced by two men in three weeks, except for the batteries for headlamps, which formed the heaviest part of our waste production by far. The left pouch is plastic bags that can be used again, the right pouch real waste.


New provisions

As I told earlier, we had sent many packages to ourselves to Karigasniemi post office. Some of our food we bought from the local shop, but all dried stuff we got from our own packages. Also now we got a tent, and we sent the tarp home. We got pulkas, for we had been sure there has to be enough snow by bow, and there was. Also we got a second sleeping bag for each of us, to be used inside a larger bag on a very cold night. And we got down jackets, and second sleeping pad, too.

A rule of thumb is that you can rather conveniently carry one third of your own weight in a backpack. The same rule says you can pull about half of your weight in a pulka. Due to cold conditions and three week’s worth of food we could not stay inside these limits, but as we now changed from backpacks to pulkas, we could afford to take more equipment.

And all of the above mentioned extra gear were very much needed during the rest of our journey, for the temperature started to plummet…

We had planned to send our backpacks home from Karigasniemi, but as we packed our pulkas and saw how heavy and high the loads became, we decided to keep the backpacks. We only put sleeping bags and down jacket to the backpack, so they weighed only about seven kilograms, which does not make your shoulders ache at all.

I’ve heard arguments that there’s no sense of using both methods. Even a light backpack makes your back sweat, whereas only pulling a pulka does not. There is sense in that argument, but still I don’t agree. In my opinion a light backpack, together with sensible clothing, is a good combination with a pulka. I mean, if you cannot reasonably make all your gear fit into your pulka. If you can, skip the backpack.

With sensible clothing I mean that you should actively prevent yourself from sweating. Do not wear too many layers, open zippers before you start to feel hot, and change the person who opens up a track into the untouched snow often enough. And of course speed is an important factor.

Naturally we replenished our supply of batteries for headlamps, candles, toilet paper and fuel. And for the next three week leg Markus bought considerably more bread…

We were one day ahead of our schedule, but that was only good. We had one spare day per week calculated, but an extra day might be needed in bad weather. So, next morning we finished packing our pulkas and continued to Muotkatunturit Wilderness Area. That’s what I’m going to tell next week about.

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