21 December 2015

Lost my horse

THE LAST WHISPER














I lost my horse, Vanja. She was 18. We had ten good years together.

She had problems in the eyes. We tried to treat them but they just got infected over and over again. I had to make a very difficult decision.

It was not easy. Apart from the eyes, she was in so good condition. She trusted me and followed my voice like never before. But on the other had, I was the only one who could handle her anymore.

She started to be afraid of things she never feared before, like lumps of snow and even people she knew. I could not ask anyone else to take care of a half blind horse - It is far too dangerous. In my book, when it starts to effect behavior and character, it's gone far enough.

A week ago my horses left eye was not reacting to light anymore. We asked the vet to come. The vet said the left eye was blind. There was only a little sight remaining in the right one. It was not really a surprise - I had seen myself, that she always had to turn the right side of her head first. That made riding her in the last weeks almost impossible.

It was time to let her go, before she would suffer more pain, or hurt herself or me.


Vanja was old, so I had to know it would come to this one day. I sat beside her and stroke her.  I said to her there is one more obstacle she has to jump, and after that there is a wonderful field, where she can meet her mother and wait for me.

She  died so peacefully, it was hard for me to believe. I have seen horses die before, and they have had cramps and tired to gallop lying in the ground. Vanja did nothing of that. She put her head in my arms, breathed slowly and calm, like going to sleep. Anyone could see she didn't fight against it.

In my mind, when she was lying there and her hearth was still going, I could see her swimming across a river and then, when the heart stopped. I imagined her hoof touching the golden sand on the other side.

In a way I was ready for it. But you can not cry and miss someone, until she is really gone.

When she was alive, I loved her. But when she died, I started to realize she was a very special horse. so many people said to me things like 'She was the only horse I was not afraid of'', ' She had the look in her eyes every horse should have' and 'No-one has a relationship like you two had.' I want to say thank you to all those people.

Looking at the pictures of Vanja's life, I also realised my children and god-daughters grew up with her. They were so small, when we first got this horse. And they too had a special relationship with her.

All this makes me grateful. Vanja deserved to go this way: Not in pain, not in bad condition, loved by everyone.

MEMORIES Vanja 16.4.1998-14.12.2015


MENETIN HEVOSENI

Vanja jouduttiin lopettamaan silmien vuoksi. Päätös ei ollut helppo, kun se oli muuten niin hyvässä kunnossa ja niin ihana. Se seurasi minua ja totteli ääntäni. Mutta toisaalta minä olin ainoa, joka enää viimeisinä viikkoina pystyi käsittelemään sitä.

Yritimme pitkään hoitaa sen silmiä, mutta tulehdukset uusiutuivat aina. Lopulta huomasin, että sen vasen silmä ei reagointut enää valoon. Kutsuimme eläinlääkärin, ja hän vahvisti asian. Vasen silmä oli kokonaan sokea, ja oikeassakin oli enää vähän näköä jäljellä.

Oli aika päästä Vanja pois, ennen kuin kivut silmissä pahenevat, tai ennen kuin sokeuden takia sattuu jotain.

Vanja nukahti rauhallisesti pää minun kainalossa. Kun sen sydän vielä löi, kuvittelin sen uivan virran yli, ja kun sydän pysähtyi, ajattelin että nyt sen kaviot koskettavat kultahiekkaan. Siellä se laiduntaa onnellisena muiden hevosten kanssa, ja ennen kuin se huomaakaan, minäkin jo tulen sinne.

Vaikka olin valmistautunut menetykseen, niin ikävää ja surua voi tuntea vasta sitten, kun häntä ei enää ole. Monet ihmiset sanoivat minulle ihania asioita Vanjasta. Tajusin, miten monia se oli koskettanut, ja miten harvinaislaatuinen hevonen se oli ollut.

Kuvia katsellessa huomasin myös. että lapseni ovat kasvaneet Vanjan kanssa aikuisiksi, ja että heilläkin, kuten minulla, on ollut erityinen suhde sen kanssa. Kaikki tämä tekee minut hyvin kiitolliseksi.

04 October 2015

First snow on Pyhitys

PYHITYS 422 m












Pyhitys is the highest hill in Taivalkoski. More than 20 km from the village it really is in the middle of nowhere. On the top of the hill there are some open cliffs and not too tall trees. On a good weather the scenery is overwhelming, and so is the solitude also on bad weather.

We climbed to Pyhitys on Saturday, stayed the night in the tent on the top, and walked down on Sunday. There was me, my husband Markku and my old dog Aku.

Going up Kuusi-Pyhitys













We climbed the hill from the north side. On that side there are no paths, just old forest, swamps and big rocks. First we reached the top of Kuusi-Pyhitys, which is like the shoulder or the little brother of the hill. After that we had to climb down and up again to get to the main top. It was not many kilometers but with the backpacks and wet and slippery descent it was challenging enough.

On the top












On the top we had lots of time. That made the stay very special. It only took us a few moments to put up the tent and after that there was basically nothing to do. My husband had brought us nice and almost ready meals for us, and I was not ever hungry yet. It was three a clock in the afternoon and we had hours to kill.

Kosto-Lake












I walked around the top taking photos. The weather was so clear that I could see everything. On the foot of the hill there is the biggest lake on the area, lake Kosto. There were some tiny white spots on its blue surface - probably fishing boats.


Evening Chill












In the east I could see the hills of Ruka in Kuusamo. Five years ago we spend a night there in Valtavaara with the boys. How small they were then. In the north I could see Riisitunturi-hill in Posio. Four years ago we spend a winter-night on top of it. In the east I could see the hills of Syöte in Pudasjärvi. Last winter we spend a night there in the ghost-cabin.


Distant Hills













It felt strange  not to have to do anything. The time went by surprisingly fast, but at the same time I felt like I had  been forever here in the silence and wind. In the timeless spot, where you can go no further without going up or down. Like this would be the only possible place at the moment.

Cold night













Most of the time I found myself just watching the weather and the light change. First it was very bright and sunny. Then came some  white clouds, then some blue and dark clouds and after them a magical orange light as sun went lower and the air got more cold. Finally we saw a rain or storm approaching and decided to go inside the tent to cook before it hit us.

First Snow












We got inside just in time. It was nice to put the cooker on and feel the warmth, when it started snowing outside. It was the first snow this year. I woke up at one o'clock and saw the moon shining. It was very warm in the tent. I opened my sleeping bag a little and tried to get back to sleep.

Our camp in the morning












When we woke up at eight, it was raining. We cooked breakfast and packed our packs in the tent. When we went out to put down the tent, the rain slowly stopped. We saw there was a thick mist all around us. We were inside a cloud and had to trust the compass to guide us down the hill to the right direction.

Hide in the fog












Going down the silent foggy hill felt somehow surreal. All the trees and stones were like sleeping. I felt like someone would be watching us go from the top. Suddenly my husband spotted a strange looking tree. At the same moment something grabbed my hair. It probably was only a tree branch, but it felt like a hand and scared me. My husband turned away from the strange tree to see what happened to me. And then I felt like a hand grabbed my leg and pulled it through the moss in to a very deep hole. My husband saw it happen and shouted: 'Did you hurt yourself?' I said no, and pulled my leg from the ground. My shoe was all wet.
Sleeping Forest













I thought it was like a gnome or a ghost trying to stop us, but I said he can't stop me. I went to the strange tree. It was like there was a face on the side of it. I wanted to take a photo. I shoot it. My camera clicked and then went black. 'The gobbling really doesn't want to be photographed' I laughed to my husband, 'but he doesn't know I have a second battery in my pocked.' I changed the battery to the camera. Nothing happened. we both tried it. It didn't start. Was it broken?

What was it? 













'At least I got that one picture before it stopped' I said, and we went on. Soon we reached the car. At home the camera started working again. There was nothing wrong with it,. but there was no picture of that tree.

Pyhitys














ENSILUMI PYHITYKSELLÄ

Teimme lauantaina Markun ja Akun kanssa yön yli retken Pyhitykselle. Pyhitys on Taivalkosken korkein paikka. Kiipesimme sinne poluttomalta pohjoispuolelta Kuusi-Pyhityksen yli.

Pystytimme huipulle teltan. Sää oli aluksi huikaisevan kirkas. Ruka, Riisi ja Syöte näkyivät. Sitten alkoi tulla tummia pilviä. Oli jännä seurata niiden lähestymistä ja valon vaihtumista uskomattomiin sävyihin. Oikeastaan muuta tekemistä ei ollutkaan. Se oli ylellistä tässä retkessä: Vain oleskella tunti tunnin perään tuulessa, auringossa, yksinäisyydessä ja tunturin pysähtyneessä, ikiaikaisessa tunnelmassa.

Kun lumisade alkoi, kömmimme telttaan kokkailemaan ja nukkumaan. Yöllä tuuli, ja vähitellen lumi muuttui rännäksi ja vedeksi. Aamulla, kun heräsimme, sumupilvi oli peittänyt koko huipun. Pakkasimme ja purimme leirin tihkusateessa. Laskeuduimme varovasti alas kompassisuunnalla.

Hiljaisessa metsässä yritin ottaa kuvan kummallisesta puusta, mutta joku maahinen pisti kapuloita rattaisiin eikä halunnut tulla kuvatuksi.









23 August 2015

Syöte National Park

I spent one day in August walking in Syöte with my husband. It was a sunny and warm day. We met only a few people and a family of swans.

Iso-Syöte seen from the top of Pikku-Syöte













Syöte is said to be the most southern Lappish hill (tunturi) in Finland. On the top there is a hotel, but all around the hills there spreds a wide National Park with 120 km of tracks and many cabins situated in untouched forest and swamps.

Ahvenlampi













We started the day on the scenery road overlooking Ahvenlampi-pond. Then we walked from Portinoja to a very pretty pond in the middle of forest. There was a family of swans living there: a white couple and their five grey children. 

Mother and father Swan













When we arrived to the pond, the mother and father swan soon made a decision to fly away. Their babies ran and hided in the forest. When they stopped, they were easy to approach. They seemed to trust their camouflage and think no-one can see them if they close their eyes :)
Grey youngsters hiding in the forest














We left them in peace and walked back to Portinoja hut to grill some sausage. There we met some young people who had come from near Oulu to pick blue berries in Syöte. 

After lunch we still had an other target in mind. On the mape we had seen a hill with no name and many cliffs. We wanted to see it more closely. It was worth walking there. The forest was old but easy to hike. All the trees had moss. 

Moss on the trees 













It seemed not many people had visited this place.There was a feeling of magic. Almost like you would be more likely to see a  glance of a troll than an man walking here. 

Magical forest













From the top of the hill we could see as far as Taivalkoski, where we would drive back in the evening. This day made me remember why I like hiking and walking in the forests. It gives so much more than it takes. 
Scenery from the top of the hill














PÄIVÄ SYÖTTEELLÄ

Vietimme elokuisen päivän kävelemällä Syötteen ympäristössä. Vaikka sää oli upean aurinkoinen, tapasimme enemmän joutsenia kuin ihmisiä. Huipuilta avautuvat maisemat ja ikimetsät naavapuineen saivat minun muistamaan, miksi pidän niin paljon luonnossa vaeltamisesta. Se on niin palkitsevaa; samalla kun keho nauttii liikkumisen tuomasta terveydestä, mieli lepää luonnon kauneuden ja ajattomuuden äärellä ja asiat asettuvat oikeaan mittakaavaan. 

12 August 2015

Nature moments

It's been a good summer. Lot of reading, music, cooking - simple cosy things combined with outdoor life. I am ready to start work now.

People say it has been a horribly cold and rainy summer with no sunshine. I don't see it that way. For me there has been so many good moments:

Sun comes out after rain. A trip to a lake with my horse. Visiting Kalajoki sands and seeing the sea. Rowing and fishing with the boys. Campfire in the night with brothers. Morning on the fields. Sleeping in tent.

29 June 2015

Finding peace of mind


Apple tree - first time blooming











I'm having a summer holiday at home. I don't have to go anywhere. I can sleep late in the morning, have a lazy cup of coffee and go out to garden when I'm ready. To me, this kind of relaxing is both new and welcome.
Rainy days -pretty colours











Last winter I got really stressed and tired at work. It went so far me and my family were really worried about my health. It started a huge process in me. Recovering was, and still is, very slow, but I can see it will lead to something good. I have learned to listen to myself. Instead of pushing to the limit I can see much more value in presence. Just being here is enough.
Watching my three chicken in the garden - a good days work 











I have decided to leave my job as headmaster, which I have done for four years, and go back to teaching first grade children. I feel really happy about that. It is amazing, what kind of energy it released in me, when I admitted to myself this job doesn't suit me - even if everyone else says I'm really good at it. I'm waiting for the autumn and planning all the nice things I want to do with my own class. For the first time in years I feel I can use my creative skills again.


Summer holiday - also for my horse and dogs











It has been a long jurney for a hard-working person like me. But now I understand that by demanding a lot from my self I don't help other people, like I used to think. High demands for my self mean high demands also for those around me. Instead of that I would like to have more acceptance and peace of mind in my life in the future.

Peace - an evening by a nearby lake










House martin's nests-
they are everywhere  

Violets from last year -
they seem to have made it trough the winter 
Rowan (mountain ash) used to be the holy tree -
nice to have them around the house







26 April 2015

Waist Line
















Finland is a long country.

In April and in October the length of our country really shows. Right now the grass is green in Helsinki, and we are still skiing here - only with less clothes than in winter. Springtime can mean different things depending on where you live. For me it is a chance to go swimming after skiing - in an ice-hole, enjoying warm sunshine.

Most of the Finnish people live in the south, and they may think differently, but in my opinion I don't live in the North -  I live in the middle. Just above the waist line.

This is how it looks like today:

Water in a ditch


Warm sunshine

How about a nice swim? 

08 April 2015

Winter trekking from Nikkaluokta

On Easter our whole family took a trip trekking from Nikkaluokta. We hiked with sleddogs and skied about 100 km on five days. This how it happened day by day. There is also a video in the end.

Family trekking on King's Trail, Sweden















DAY 1: THURSDAY 2.4.
Nikkaluokta - Kebne 19 km

We started driving from home at about eight and reached Nikkaluokta at half past four. We changed clothes at parking place and started skiing at five.

Ten hours in the car had made everyone, including the dogs, tired. The sledge seemed to be very heavy. Our speed was not fast, but the weather and scenery where overwhelming.

It took us three and half hours and every peace of strength to reach Kebne and to be able to mind the dogs and cook a dinner after that. Under the moon, but we made it.

I was having doubts if this was too hard for the boys to be fun. Piitu barked at night. I went out and told her to be quiet.  I saw some people, who started their trip  to Kebnekaise at two o'clock.

DAY 2: FRIDAY 3.4. 
Kebne- Signi 15 km

We woke up at eight in our room and went to hotel to  have a wonderful breakfast, which made us all fell good. The Sun started to shine as we packed.

The narrow valley between Kebne and Signi is one of the most impressive places on Kungsleden. The trail goes up and up and the walls on both sides are higher and higher. Our younger boy got tired, maybe because we had a break and snacks a bit too late. We changed places. I skied connected to four dog team and he was happy to drive it. 

We came to Signi early in the afternoon to make lunch and have a little rest. We decided to stay and make a little evening trip with no heavy load.

Markku and the boys climbed a nearby hill and skied it down three times. They said it was super.
I checked the dogs. Two of them seemed to need some rest - no surprise for me. In fact all our male dogs had problems already at home, because the females were in heat. Anyway, I took a four dog team and drove an hour's loop enjoying warm sunshine and taking pictures.

In the evening we cooked and played many games of cards. The younger son always won. At bedtime I was very happy to see whole family reading books. Real books. One of the advantages of being in the wilderness. 

DAY 3: SATURDAY 4.4. 
Signi - Sälka 12 km

We woke up at seven. The weather was - against the forecast - still looking good. We started to trek to Sälka at about ten. Me and older son skied with own dogs. Markku skied with younger son, who was mushing a four dog team.

The trail was fast to windhyttan, which is a small hut between the cabins. We stopped to have a snack. We saw other people and they all had dogs: one walking with a skier, one draging a huge sledge and even one that was being carried around in a backpack!

There was a big uphill ahead. I had no problems skiing it up with Tete. She is seven but she is still tough. Same goes to older son and Mora. All the way (and every day) they skied half a mile ahead of us.

We came to Sälka early. We needed to make a decision whether to go to Nallo or not. The boys voted no. They wanted to stay and have fun skiing down the surrounding hills. It meant we would not make a round-trip. Instead we'd have to turn around the next day and follow our own track back to Nikkaluokta. So be it. 

The evening trip was heaven. I took all the dogs and drove my six dog team alone up to the mountain. Miilu and Tete in the lead did everything I asked. I came to top of the hill and saw all the valley ahead of me, and behind it the high peaks in Nallo.

My dear dogs making their way on untouchable snow - the mountain tops rising from their ears  - This is what I have always dreamed of , what I have always wanted to do. Now that it's done, it striked me,  I'm free to want something else.

In Sälka there were a lot of people.  It was not the most peaceful place to sleep.

DAY 4: SUNDAY 5.4.
Sälka- Kebne 27 km

We woke up at seven to the most beautiful and coldest morning so far. By eight thirty we had finished packing and tiding the room and were ready to go. In the morning light we headed to Signi. First up and then down in good speed. All three men had their own dogs and skied well. I had a three dog team. By now we had eaten so much, that they could pull the sledge. I helped them walking, or jogging, uphill.

In Sälka we made lunch and had a little rest in the same room we stayed before - also two years ago with Markku. It starts to fell like home. The water place in Sälka is far. Older son pulled a tank of water up from the lake with Mora. Those two really are strong together.

The boys said they'd like to spend the last night in Kebne. We asked if they think they can ski there. They said yes. I think the call of electricity was strong, because they both really did it. The only one of us who had problems doing this long day, was Piitu. She lost her nerves in the first long uphill from Signi to Kebne.

It is clear that she is ment for sprint racing. This kind of trekking must be really frustrating for her. She went back and tried to run to front over and over again. I was afraid it would come to the point she'd hurt herself rushing against the harness over and over again like that. I had to give her to Markku and take Miilu to my team. I hoped Piitu would find a way to pull slow and steady with skier. It seemed to work. She started to calm down.

In Kebne we got a really nice room in cabin Jägaren. It felt really good to go to sauna and cook in a real kitchen. After dinner we sat in the hotel lounge feeling happy we have made this trip as a family. In the morning there would only be an easy couple of hours back to car. Or so we thought.

DAY 5: MONDAY  6.4.
Kebne - Nikkaluokta 19 km

At six I woke up and saw there is a storm coming. The wind was so high I did not know what to do with the dogs. I moved them to the safe side of the building, but that was not much. I tried to feed them, but they could not eat. They were freezing.

My husband said the best thing would be to start as soon as we can and get them away from the wind. I agreed. We had breakfast. Our older son had problems believing if it really is wice to go skiing in that weather. I could understand him - If I had not seen a storm even worse last year, I would have felt the same. To his relief we saw some other skiers who were also going to go to Nikkaluokta, trusting it would not be so bad down in the valley.

When we packed the sledge and harnessed the dogs, we had to shout to each other, if we wanted to hear anything. We rushed down to the storm. I thought it was wonderful. I loved my dogs, who worked so well, and my family for being able to make it. The three dogs in front of the sledge, led by Miilu, run like they knew there would be cover from the wind and soft hay waiting by the car.

There is a long downhill from Kebne to Laddju-lake. Skiing down with dog and breaking all the time is very hard for the legs. When you add a strong wind pushing from your back, it gets really chalenging. Luckily Markku and the boys could make it without any bad accidents.

Down in the valley there was no wind at all. Some sunbeams between the clouds welcomed us to Nikkluokta at ten. I checked the dogs and gave them sausage. We changed clothes in the parking place and started driving home.

Family Kungsleden 2015

TALVIVAELLUS NIKKALUOKTASTA

Teimme pääsiäisenä koko perheen voimin vaelluksen Kungsledenillä. Meillä oli mukana kuusi koiraa, kaksi poikaa, mieheni ja minä. Hiihdimme ja kuljimme koiravaljakolla viiden päivän aikana yhteensä noin 100 km.

Päivämatkat ja kohteet näkyvät edellä. Pidimme matkat maltillisina, koska iloksemme pojat halusivat mökki-iltoina käydä kiipeämässä ja laskemassa tunturien rinteitä suksilla. Sää suosi meitä ja aurinko näyttäytyi joka päivä. Ainoastaan viimeisenä aamuna tuli kova myrskytuuli, joka puhalsi meidät pois vuorilta.

Majoituimme tunturihotellissa kaksi yötä, Signin tuvalla yhden ja Sälkan tuvalla yhden yön.  Ennen matkaa liityimme STF:n jäseniksi, joten saimme yöpymiset jäsenhintaan.

Ruuat ostimme, kuivasimme ja pakkasimme jo kotona. Reissun alussa reki oli silti painava, mutta loppupäivinä se kulki helposti. Reen lisäksi meillä oli jokaisella selässä päiväreppu, jossa oli taukotakin lisäksi tärkeimmät selviytymisvälineet ja hieman syötävää ja juotavaa.

Koirien kanssa oli jo lähtiessä hieman ongelmia narttujen juoksun ja urosten siitä johtuvan sekoilun vuoksi, mutta reissun aikana ja huolellisella hoidolla tilanne tasoittui. Ainoastaan Piitu meinasi neljäntenä päivänä polttaa päreensä, mutta pystyi onneksi Maken kanssa hiihtäessä keskittymään paremmin kuin sille turhauttauvan hitaassa valjakossa.

Tämä reissu täytti unelmani. Sain viedä pojat vuorille ja ajaa siellä koiravaljakolla. Huomasin, että nyt olen vapaa haluamaan jotain muuta. On uuden haaveen aika. Tuntuu hyvältä, kun en vielä tiedä, mikä se tulee olemaan.

06 April 2015

Many reasons why

We are coming back from Sweden now. We had a good trip. We skied on five days. I will write and tell more about each day soon.

Right now I want to tell you about a conversation we had last night. We were confortably sitting in the lounge in Keb knowing that in the morning we only have a couple of hours to ski back to our car, when our older son asked: Why do you do this? What is your motivation to come here and trek?

I thanked him for a very good question.

My husband said it means a lot to spend some days away from every day life. When you are trekking, everything is simple. There is no other tasks than to go.  And that something happens to you, when you spend many days like that.

I agreed: it's like re-booting yourself. This is something our older boy can understand after skiing four days: it is possible to feel empty or clean or new after spending some time in the wilderness. But he wished there would be more speed and adrenaline to it. You will find your own ways, I said to him.

For me it is a big part of the sport that I can trek with my dogs. They help me to cover wider areas. Taking care of them and trusting them adds some extra value to my trip.

And so do the mountains. Trekking would not be the same without them. I travel in the valley but my eyes look up.

The mountains, said our younger boy, they give him all kinds of feelings.
- No mather how long I look at them, I still can't  understand how big they are, he said.

For him the mountains are the main reason he wanted to come here. He hoped they would give him inspiration for his creative hobbies.
 
I'm proud to have sons like this. The younger son will write beautiful music or stories about the mountains. The older son has the kind of peace around him I would travel to moon with him.

MONTA SYYTÄ

Kotimatkalla ollaan! Takana hiihtoa viitenä päivänä.

Meillä oli eilen illalla hyvä keskustelu Kebnen hotellin aulassa. Pojat pohtivat syitä siihen, miksi lähteä tällaiselle vaellukselle.

Olen tosi ylpeä molemmista. Vaikka he nyt sanoisivat mitä, minulla on tunne, että jonakin päivänä he vielä tulevat takaisin tänne.

02 April 2015

On the Way

I'm writing this in the car. We have just started driving to Sweden. In the evening, I hope, we will be in the Kebnekaise Mountain Station. It will be a long day.

Yesterday evening I would have not believed this is possible. I came home from work and we started packing sandwiches. And then I felt really strange. All my muscles hurt and I was freezing. Fever! No way! Not now!

I took the thermometer and in next two hours it proved the worst case scenario right: I had fever. The rest of the evening I had to stay in the sofa, drink and rest and cry. What if we cant go? Everyone has been waiting for this trip so much.

My husband and sons made a decision to finish all the packing as if we would start in the morning. "Miracles happen" they said. It seems they were right.

Late in the evening the fever went away. And it hasn't come back. Ofcourse I have to take it easy today. I have a thermometer and I check my temperature every two hours. All the others seem to be allright. I hope and pray it'll stay like this.

Matkalla

Kirjoitan tätä autossa. Ajamme kohti Ruotsia.

En olisi eilen illalla uskonut että pääsemme matkaan. Minulle nousi kuume. Nyt se on poissa. Toivon vain, että se pysyykin poissa, myös muista perheenjäsenistä.

Yritämme päästä Nikkaluoktaan, mutta emme tietenkään lähde sieltä hiihtämään, jos kenelläkään on yhtään lämpöä.

29 March 2015

Kuusamo Sprint 2015

I could not resist it. I had to go. Even if it was a little too close to our trip - I went to Kuusamo and drove the race with Miilu, Piitu, Mora and Tete.

I packed everything in the car on Friday evening. In the morning I woke up at five to give the dogs their drinks. My husband drove us to Kuusamo. He stayed there to work and I went half an hour more to reach the Sprint Race place. Except that I didn't. A mile or two before the right place I stopped to look at the map - and could not get moving anymore. The snow was too soft.
8.30 Stuck - Jumissa















I tried everything: Going slowly, back and forth, disconnecting the trailer, shoveling the snow and putting tree branches under the wheels, but no. I was stuck. I realized I will not make it to the mushers meeting at 8.30. I tried phoning anyone I thought might be there, and one of my friends managed to send a man with a tractor to help me. If he had not come, I would have taken the sledge and the dogs out of trailer, built  my team and drove it along the road to the race. Thanks to a very helpful local farmer, it didn't come to that.
9.00 Arrival - Varikolla












When I arrived, all the others were already walking and warming up their dogs. I started putting the dogs out, when I suddenly realized Tete was running free - and heading to the start. Her chain was open. Luckily a man stopped her before she run the whole 9,5 km loop alone.
9.30 Warming up - Lämmittelyä














I was really happy when I finally drove my team to starting area in time. But then the judge came and told me I have to have a sack in my sledge in case a dog is injured on the way. I had one - at home. Knowing this is not an official race, I had not been careful enough. The judge said I can still take part, but she'll have to give me a written warning. Maybe I should put in frame and on the living room wall? After all, it's the only thing I have ever brought home from these races.
10.00 warning - Varoitus
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The race itself went really well. No problems on the way. My dogs ran as well as they could, galloping most of the way. The trail was better made than last year, but the weather was worse, more wet and soft. Time 26.24 means the average speed was just a little bit over 20 km/h, which is my goal. This year it was enough for fifth place. If you want to get higher, you need to concentrate on sprinting - not trekking.
10.30-11 On the track - Kisa
PHOTO (C) KATI MÄKELÄINEN














After the race I wanted to thank my dogs and all the people that have made it possible for me to have a hobby like this. I phoned the breeder of Tete and Piitu. We made a very nice plan. I hope I can tell you more about it later this spring.
Thank you, Mora and Miilu!














Thank you, Tete! 
Thank you, Piitu!



























The rest of the day I spent watching six-dog class, talking to other mushers and then driving home in bad weather. Here is a film, where you can see all the six dog teams starting.

Kuusamo Sprint 2015


Lauantaina en voinut olla menemättä mukavaan kisaan jo kolmantena vuonna peräkkäin, vaikka tällä kertaa se olikin vähän turhan lähellä Ruotsiin lähtöä. Valjakkoni keulassa juoksivat Miilu ja Piitu, pyöräkoirina Tete ja Mora.

Ura oli yhtä erinoimainen kuin palvelu ja järjestelyt kisoissa muutenkin. Sää oli huonompi kuin edellisvuosina. Aika 26.24 riitti tänä vuonna viidenteen sijaan. Olen siihen tyytyväinen. Tavoitteeni on pystyä ajamaan sprintti yli 20 km/h keskivauhtia, ja pöperöisestä kelistä huolimatta valjakkoni pystyi siihen. Jos haluaisi kivuta korkeammalle tulostaulukossa, pitäisi keskittyä sprinttiharjoitteluun eikä vaellusretkiin.

Kisan jälkeen soitin Teten ja Piitun kasvattajalle. Teimme mielenkiintoisen suunnitelman, josta toivottavasti voin kertoa lisää keväämmällä.