Polar Stroll – Day 9
The time is 20:00, and the thermometer shows -12 degrees. But for how long? An hour ago the temperature reading was -8 degrees. So we are experiencing a 4 degree drop in an hour, and there are still approximately 10 hours till the sunrise – you do the math. As they say, there is a perspective, and it’s quite cold.
Last night the temperature drop sopped at -22, but despite that we couldn’t complain about lack of warmth, because our host Jyrki prepared a nice and hot sauna. After heating our bones we continued the evening with a friendly chat, during which two general realizations about Finns came to light – firstly, Jyrki’s refusal to taste Latvian Black Balsam strengthened our previous observation that the myth about booze-loving Finns is a bad joke, and secondly, we are now convinced that Finns come to this world with a hammer or some other tool in their hand. Jyrki has built his own log splitter. Yes, at first he made an axe, but then he built a log splitter. Nice.
In the morning our host directed us to the safest crossing of the next lake, and after a hearted good-buys off we went. Today we marched approximately 18 kilometers on a forest road, than walked 5 kilometers over a lake and then after a few more kilometers we found a suitable place for our camp – a cabin or gazebo or something like that. It wasn’t much of a shelter against cold and wind, but it had a fireplace right in the middle. Where is fireplace, there should be fire, so we collected some logs and made a fire, to cook dinner and heat up a bit before a cold night.
In spite the beautiful day graced with a lot of sunshine the rumor is that this night will be a freezer set to -25 degrees Celsius. Let me tell you a little secret – the minimum temperature for our sleeping-bags is -20 degrees, and our tent isn’t some kind of super-duper arctic cocoon, it’s your average summer-fest tent. After some easy calculations it became clear that we’ll have to sleep in everything we got, just to compensate the 5 degrees missing in this equation of survival.
Today my thoughts lingered on the possibility of equipping our sledge with wheels, because with each step we made the cover of snow became more and more faint. Jyrki assured us that the reason for lack of snow is the lake, which serves as a perfect runway for the wind blowing the snow away. I hope he’s right, because during the last few kilometers of today’s progress we had to look for the snow in roadside ditches and drag our “piglet” through them. No snow also means no skis, so they spent all day tied ontop of the sledge.
When we go to bed, the time is 22:10 and the temperature is -19 degrees. To preserve the warmth, we close all of the zippers even the ones on the pockets of our jackets.
Karlis (66° 31.14N, 027° 20.17E)