roaming in Riisitunturi

I wake up around six because it’s getting cold. Fire went out a long time ago but only now it got cold.
Put some clothes on, make fire, go back to sleep. When I wake up again, it’s warmer and some pieces still glow in the oven.
After breakfast I saw and chop some wood so that both buckets would be full again. Packing, a family with crying mids arrives. They are happy to find fire in the oven. Yesterday in the dark a woman with her small daughter paid me a visit, they were also happy to meet a hot oven.
It snows and it’s windy. The plan is to ski through the park to another forest hut. Should be some nice landscape in between. And back tomorrow. It’s about 20 km from here to there.
The beginning is good. Trail markers are visible despite the snowfall and the trail is hard despite the falling snow. The snow on the firs looks a bit ragged but the trees are still impressive against the purple sky.
At one point I loose the trail markers. Just like that. I spy this side and that side and then decide, what the heck. I can continue to the first lean-to shelter with the help of GPS and the trail will be there again. I still hopefully punch snow humps here and there guessing these could be the markers but there are only small firs. With diligent snowfall like this I might have one more problem at the parking lot tomorrow besides an empty car battery.
On top of the hill it’s fine but then I start to descend. A lot of deep soft snow. Mostly it goes downhill at first and so it’s quite fast. Until the downhill ends. It now takes a lot of effort to keep moving. Even though I’m on skis I still sink in up to my knees. Big backpack doesn’t help. Now it’s clear that I won’t make it to the next hut today. But from the lean-to shelter a circle trail goes back to the first hut. For my very first ski-hike maybe not the worst plan.
Where the lean-to shelter should be I cannot spot any structure. I trample around under the trees as long as the GPS says I’m standing on it. The snow is not that deep. The trail also remains hidden. I’ve only scared some big chicken up from the snow. I have been travelling for more that two hours and in two hours it will be dark. So the best bet seems to be to follow my footprints back. I eat and drink some and then it takes a while to locate the correct trail from the maze I’ve created here.
First it goes pretty smooth on the track but then the section starts where I came merrily downhill. Luckily I didn’t choose the steepest places. As well as snowfall and swearing get more dense. The ski poles sink in half way into the snow. I’m almost up when the snow has hopelessly covered my tracks. When I’m up the light vanishes. GPS still brings me to the trail markers. I attach a flashlight on my forehead and need to operate a ski pole to reach water. Water bottle is frozen.
Along the trail markers and mostly downhill it goes fast. The headlamp of course shows only a meter or two ahead. The ground here is half ice with snowdrifts. So a fast-forward either stops in deep snow or ends with a short air jump. And I thought that running was not dignified. In the dark and in falling snow I don’t see the markers any more and am immensely happy to finally see the hut in front of me.
No-one there and no fire in the oven. Frozen shawl, hat and gloves off, dry jacket, thick down trousers, woolen socks, dry hat. Then I can start to burn the firewood I choped this morning. When enough snow has melted I make tea and sit shivering with the cup in front of the oven. I’m very tired. And I guess I’m not much of a skier. But really, does there have to be so much snow? It took me around six hours to travel 10 km with all the toiling and cursing. The plan was way to ambitious but I had to try. I would have regretted it otherwise.
I book accommodation in a real house for tomorrow.
introduction to Riisitunturi
one more round in Riisitunturi

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