What did we learn?
So, this is FINALLY the last part of long-ass writings about our adventure in the Seitseminen National Park in late August. This time we go through some of the things we learned about our gear and ourselves during that hike through the conserved boreal forests and mires of Finland.
“As we arrived back to the city, the gang dropped me off first before going about the rest of their day after the exhausting hike we had just powered through. I had sat comfortably in the warmth of the car and as I stepped out I instantly realized that my legs were as stiff as a steel H beam. And they were hurting everywhere, especially my soles were dying after each painful step. And as the gang drove away, I realized that I lived on the fourth floor of a building without an elevator. Oh boy. But luckily the stairs were easier than I expected and to my big surprise it didn’t really hurt at all to climb them. I got into my apartment and tossed my ruck onto the hallway floor.
And all I remember from the rest of the day is pretty much that I took a long ass hot shower and at some point measured my temperature which was a “measly” 39 degrees celsius. So kind of no wonder I don’t remember much of that evening with that fever in place.” – Blue
What did I learn about myself and my gear on that particular adventure?
First and foremost I have to say that I proved to myself that I can do and accomplish stuff way better than I thought, despite my doubts and before the hike. I overcame myself and proved myself wrong, in a very good way! This surely gives me a new level of confidence about my capabilities. And as always, there’s plenty to work on with my overall fitness, which on it’s own factors a lot to my doubts.
Without a doubt, there is something I need to buy. Water resistant trousers. Wearing the Helikon SFU trousers wasn’t entirely a stupid choice, but having waterproof trousers would’ve probably prevented my feet from getting wet and kept my overall comfort level higher.
And how come the praised Salomon XA Pro 3d Mid GTX failed me? I’m pretty sure they didn’t, and the water most probably creeped into the shoes from my trouser legs being all soaked which in turn soaked my socks gradually. The Salomons were a good pick for their walking comfort, but due to the root-hell of a trail, I ended hoping I had gotten myself a pair of proper hiking boots with much stiffer and thicker soles.
And what comes to the borrowed Haglöfs Matrix 40 ruck? A good piece for a short hike like that, no question about it, though the space is very much limited, and I didn’t even carry a tent with me. The hip belt did it’s job perfectly and took the strain off my back as I said in the Part 2. Though the adjustments weren’t exactly spot on which I ended up feeling in my shoulders and neck in time. Lesson learned: Adjust your ruck properly.
But overall I was very happy with my gear, and once again the Arcteryx Beta worked like a charm. I was comfortable and warm despite the rain and wind. I had enough food and water (5 liters (3 liter bladder and 2 x 1 liter Nalgene)) with me and I probably subconsciously drank way less than I should have drunk during the hike.
Estimating your water supply is difficult as we weren’t hiking in Lapland or mountains where there are lots of sources for naturally cleaned water so we had to carry all that we needed, but we did surprisingly well on that matter. Of course much warmer weather would’ve affected more on our need to hydrate and we would’ve ran out of clean water pretty soon.
Of course we could’ve taken emergency water from the lake(which is probably perfectly drinkable and very clean as is) and boiled it just in case with the Trangia (Which is a legendary and a truly kick ass camp cooking kit!) . So, quite frankly no danger of running out of water was present, but it’s always good to be prepared and have a plan to cover your ass if all goes to shit.
The Seitseminen trip was great fun, in the “embrace the suck” sort of way. Well not entirely, as the detailed recap that Blue has described in the parts before tells you. But for me, the trip was a bit suckier than for the rest of our little group.
For some reason (stupidity) I decided to ignore the weather forecast and put on my Salomon Forces 3D boots, which are without a gore-tex shell. I think it was well before we even left the parking lot that my socks started to get a little moist and by the time we had walked our first 200 meters in the rain, my day was perfect. There is nothing like soaked through boots on a two-day hike and with the air humidity in the skies I simply had no means to dry them. So memo to myself, get a pair of nice boots with gore-tex shell, for the Finnish nature and weather are not meant for desert boots.
Otherwise my gear was pretty OK. I love my Kifaru MMR, the pockets I had attached worked great, my TAD Stealth hoodie was awesome as always etc. About gear organisation though, I feel that I have a thing or two to learn about organising my ruck. I tried to follow the instructions of Varusteleka, another Finnish gear store, but I think I still need to really figure out what is the best way for me. Here is a link to the video I took my instructions from HERE. (it is in Finnish, but although you might miss the humor, the action speaks for itself).
Other bigger issue that I recognised was water. Or rather the whole group came to feel this. We simply underestimated our water supply for the trip. Not by a lot, we survived quite well, but we had to ration the last drops carefully. I carried a 2 litre bladder and a 1 litre nalgene bottle for drinking and the BCB Crusaders 1 litre bottle was reserved for cooking. I also had two half litre bottles just in case.
Well, cooking took a lot more than we anticipated. The morning we left our campsite we made a quick review of our supply and all had the two litres for their own bladder and little to spare for the lunch. We evened out what we had between us at the lunch for cooking. Well Blue had his bladder nicely supplied even at the end and maybe it is just me who drinks a lot on a hike, but the bottom line is that we should have planned the water usage more carefully.
There was one water supply point at the Nature center and a well on our route, but when we got to the well it was apparent that the water from it would not be drinkable without some sort of purification. Besides the cooking, our dog needed some drinking water as well, and although he can drink the water from Finnish lakes for sure, there was not lakes on every part of the way and so we had to deal him some of our own drinking water. So next time: bring enough water and plan the usage accordingly, take in account the cooking and the dog.
Looking back to the adventure we had, we both can safely say that we loved the experience and will look into having major adventures in the future. We learned a lot and reminisce this hike for long and it will inspire us to achieve more greatness in the wild and beautiful nature of Finland, and who knows maybe even abroad!
– Noble & Blue
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