Monday, July 30, 2012

OUT - failed attempt at an overnighter

I have been promissing my oldest daughter to take her on a night out camping for a while now and now the weather was just fine, it was vacationtime, so I wanted to fulfill my promiss. We packed out stuff and went on our way. She was carrying her "scoutingpack" with sleepingbag and -mat, a full canteen, a Dutch armyponcho and some bits and bobs.... Ohh and not to be left out; a tin a sweets! I asked her several times if this wasn't going to be too heavy, but she made it very clear that she could carry it all.... Never argue with a woman...

Off we go.... Our youngest one is saying goodbye, waiting for her turn...
After a good 500 meters we had to stop. 1 Dutch poncho and 1 full canteen had to be transferred to the German backpack..... I was wearing. I have to admit, it was a lot warmer than we both anticipated. We took our time to drink something, too. After that we hiked on and a good half hour later we came into a patch of pineforest with large, older trees, lacking any undergrowth, except a thick carpet of moss. The air had warmed up quite a bit and the air was heavy with that sweet scent of pine that to me is so related to Scandinavian summers... We both just stood there; eyes closed, nose open, inhaling that soothing smell.... As we opened our eyes again, I saw a large shadow moving across the forestfloor and treetrunks. As we looked up we saw a large bird of prey, swooping just over the canopy. It was so low and close that we could clearly see every detail of this magnificent bird. As it turned the rays of the sun caught it's belly and it drifted away shining, as if it was made out of silver...
This image is not mine, but gives a good idea of what we saw.
We moved on and we were close to our destination; the lake I already mentioned a few times. It has a fireplace, where we wanted to cook some water for soup and have something to eat. We also wanted to spend the night here or close by. The path leading down had become treaturous, because the topsoil had been washed away, exposing chunky rocks, some the size of fists. These rolled away as we walked over them, so caution had to be taken not to stumble and fall.

When we reached the lake, we put down our backpacks and took some time off. My little girl had been keeping up pretty good, despite me carrying her pack from time to time. We were both very warm and the breeze down here was quite pleasant. As we stood there, we noticed a brightly coloured butterfly, flashing its colours as it caught the sun's rays. It circled nearer and nearer and finally landed on my back! I moved and it flew up, turned and landed on my leg.... I could even get it to walk over onto my hand and there it just sat.... probing my fingers with its long tongue and I could bring it really close to my face and look at it. Even my movements in order to take pictures did not disturb it!! I was in awe.... and felt very priviliged. Even after I let it go, it kept coming back, landing on my backpack and finnbag. I really felt that it was eeking me out, because it would not go near my daughter and she did not want to go near it. Could this be a sign?  I believe it was..... as I do believe in animal totems and related things.

After the butterfly-happening I turned towards my daughter, only to just see her take of her last shoe and sock and dunk her feet into the lake. Her face relaxed, a broad smile came over it and I could just feel her enjoying herself....

this image I'll cherish....
She called out to me and told me to come and join her. Who am I to not do as told in this matter?? We sat there, moving our feet through the cool water, watching over the lake, looking into the water and at the animals moving in and over it and just ...... just sat there for a while.... might have been 15 minutes, might have been an hour. I don't know.... All I know is that a pair of feet getting cold brought me back to earth.
The yellow line is the normal level of the lake. These are pollen, whcih have fallen into the water last spring. The excessive rain lately has caused the lake to rise about 10-12cm.

a couple of storloms, (gavia arctica) was there, too. My daughter was just as enchanted by these birds and their calls as I am.
Another thing we did notice however, was the presence of other flying creatures that had less pleasant intentions. The wind had settled down and immediately large numbers of mosquitos, biting flies and related pests made their presence felt... literally! We could stay at the lake to make dinner. We had become dinner! Or supper! Or afternoonsnack! There was just one thing to do; head back into the woods and try to find a suitable campingspot. We needed one that was; a) flat enough so we could both lie near each other, b) would have the possibility to make a fire next to us, c) needed trees for our poncho's/tarp (weatherforecast have been shown to somewhat...... incorrect) and d) was low on insectactivity. We looked all over the place, but on terrain looking like this, a flat spot large enough is quite hard to find! I am beginning to reconsider the hammockoptions, here!

what is she reaching for??

should have know.... blueberries

my little girl
Well, I guess you did see it coming; we did not find a spot that matched all 4 requirments. The flat area and the low insectactivity were the ones that spoiled the whole thing, especially the insects!! Their numbers kept increasing and even 2 different kinds of insectrepellants could not protect us from being bitten and stung! The abundant rain from the past weeks, followed by this spell of warm and sunny weather caused an explosion in insectlife, I guess. Well, at least there's plenty of food for the birds now...

something did find a place to sleep, here....

but what? Deer? Moose?
 We had beaten a hasty retreat from the forest. Staying there was highly unpleasant and I shiver by the thought of staying out there the whole night without mosquitonetting..... which we do not have!
Also we overestimated the strength of my daughter, because most of the way home I had to carry here backpack. She was tired, warm, deeply disappointed and seriously pissed off at the biting buggers! I did not want here to remember this trip being miserable AND having to haul her pack.... This made it a little easier on her.. But it weighed down heavy on my... all 20kg's of it....

By the time we got home I looked like this....

Some images of the "wildlife" we encountered;


  1. Looks like a great time brother, great to see young folks outside!

  2. Those who fight and run away live to fight another day-and it looks a good time was had nonetheless!

  3. Thanks guys!
    Appreciate the comments.

  4. Yeah the bugs have been bad here too. It really stinks when they ruin an outing. Especially with the kids. Still some good time spent and now you just have to still keep your promise and look forward to another trip.

    Here's to hoping for the first freeze of fall!

  5. Well, it may have been a ruined overnighter, but it doesn't look to be a ruined time altogether. :) Before it got bad, you had some good father and daughter time, which is great.

    I can stand almost any kind of insect annoyance, but when it comes to deer keds, I give up. Can't stand them. Unfortunately, their active time is approaching (or already here) in Finland, so I hesitate to go out without full body mesh. ;)

  6. Those little bastards do have a mean bite, that's absolutely true!
    But the mosquitos are out in extreme numbers this year. Even the locals complain a lot about them. Especially the so-called översvämningsmygga makes its presence felt..... It is quite aggressive and is a nuicance even during the day!