2013-03-05 62 27
In Kuopio, Laivonsaari island in lake Kallavesi, near a public lean-to.
Finally, a chance for a cross-country skiing geohash! This hashpoint is only 8,7 km from my home, and I have a few hours to spare. Let's do this! I only need to walk about 500 meters to get to a point where I can put on my skiis, then I can use the publicly maintained ski track network that covers most of Kuopio to get to the hashpoint. The point lies in an island, about 150 meters from the shore, in a very steep slope. Last couple of hundred meters will be very slow going, depending of the fixture of the snow. This is an almost déjà-vu -hash, since there is a lean-to about 200 meters from the hash where I've been before. But that still not counts, I guess.
I ate porridge for breakfast, then packed my stuff to a backpack, grabbed my good skating-style skis and started the adventure. First a few hundred meters jogging to get to - not nearest ski track, but frozen lake of course! About a week ago there was a very warm weather for a few days, it even rained in February, which is very rare in these latitudes. After that the weather frosted again, temperatures dropping to -20°C. The result was that the snow that covers the area got a rock-solid layer on top of it. With skis you can go anywhere and especially lakes are like tables and offer very nice fairways to travel. I cut straight across the first lake passing people ice-fishing there and continued on the skiing track. The track was mostly well maintained, in one point I even encountered the track-making machine laying fresh track. I quickly reached the northern part of the big lake, lake Kallavesi, and stopped to take a picture and fire up my GPS.
GPS showed 1,9 km to the hashpoint, and now I could indeed go straight line. The wind was behind me, and I felt like I was flying across the frozen landscape. When I looked the speedometer on my GPS, it showed 17-19 km/h! That is very fast, but it didn't still feel that fast. The shores were already far away in all directions and because of the heavy cloud cover the light was coming evenly from all directions and any small texture in the snow surface was hard to see. At one point I skied along a track left by snowmobile, and there I could better sense the speed I was going. Very soon I was at the shore of Laivonsaari island, my destination. Still 150 meters to hashpoint..
I took off my skis at the shore and started climbing the slope. First the going seemed easy, the top layer held under my skiing boots, and I didn't sink in. As I got higher, the crust started to give away. Soon I was crawling upwards in all fours, and thinking that geohashing indeed makes you do something you normally wouldn't.. Even crawling, 50 meters is not that long a stretch, so I quickly made it to the hashpoint. There, in a steep slope and among very thick forest I noticed to my amazement, that someone had skied only 5 meters from hashpoint! Probably not a geohasher, though, as the tracks were at least a few days old. I even considered if it would be a good idea to follow those tracks away from the hashpoint to avoid the crawling part, but immediately realized that the other person had used wider forest-skis (which I also possess but which are too slow to cover the entire distance from my home to the hashpoint) and the route he had used was probably too steep for my slippery skating skis.
I did the normal routines at the hashpoint: taking a picture of myself and the GPS, and posting the geohash-note I had prepared earlier. I forgot to bring a thermometer this time, partly because it is so normal that all the hashes this time of year in Finland are Frozen, but will still claim the Frozen geohash, if anyone doesn't object too much. :) The nearest official measurement station is only 3 km away at the University of Eastern Finland Kuopio campus, and it showed -10°C at the time I was in the geohash. It isn't physically possible that the temperature would be over 10 degrees warmer at the hashpoint. :) I then waded back to the shore, this time no need for crawling as going down the slope was easier. After the successful hash-visit the skiing back following the same route I came seemed short, although in the first 2 km I was now facing headwind. Back home the nice smell of peasoup awaited me after a good morning's workout. Very nice hashing experience!
 Additional photos
| Tilley earned the cross-country skiing achievement
| Tilley earned the Frozen Geohash Achievement