What to do when skis are all tuned up and ready, but snow refuses to show up? With temperatures mostly above zero degrees celsius and rivers still flooding, I opted to pull out the packraft (which I had already cleaned and stored for winter after the last trip once more, to go and check what else (aside of bushwhacking) Keravanjoki has to offer.
I found descriptions (and photos) of three interesting rapids (Matarinkoski, Pikkukoski and Hanabölenkoski) close together, and decided to do a hike'n'paddle along the river. On Saturday I drove to Havukoski elementary school near Hanabölenkoski, and hit the trail following the river on most parts. Hiking to the start of the paddle, I was able to take a look at each of the rapids on the way, checking for hazards, obstacles and possible routes. Water levels had already dropped somewhat from the autumn highs, but the flow was still very good.
Starting from Matari suburb, first rapid is class I Matarinkoski. Close to the start there’s a small island which is better to be passed from the left, otherwise it’s a straightforward run around 500 meters in length (6 meter drop).
Only few hundred meters downstream comes Pikkukoski, which starts from under a bridge. It’s a short 100 meter run, class II during the flood, and has a few steps and some debris (fallen trees and driftwood) to watch out. There is also a large rock plateau on the right hand side, so the best line is on the middle (or slightly to the left), down the steps.
Last one is Hanabölenkoski, which is also categorized as class II, and most difficult of the three. It’s about 300 meters long, and starts from a small low-head dam. Overall the run is pretty straightforward, but at the end it’s advised to keep right, going around the island.
There are few fast flowing sections between Havukoski and Tikkurila, but this time I finished in Havukoski, packed up and hiked back to the car. All in all a nice trip (roundtrip took about 3 hours) to finish the season, and I will most likely come here again next year to run these rapids during the spring floods.
I borrowed a V.I.O. POV.HD camera for this trip. Compared to cameras from GoPro and Contour, POV.HD is somewhat different with lens separated from the main recording unit by a long cable. The rugged main unit has a small LCD display, runs on AA-size batteries, and comes with a remote control (w/ wrist strap). Couple of other interesting features include magnetic attachment for the lens housing and a loop mode. Loop mode means you can set the camera to buffer video when you go, and hitting a button on the remote will save the buffer (up to 5 minutes) and continue recording from there - very useful feature, and something I hope to see others to adopt as well in the future.
Here’s a short video from yesterday, shot mostly with the POV.HD. I had some trouble aligning the camera on my shoulder correctly (inconveniently a tool (philips screwdriver) is needed to rotate the lens in the housing) so the footage from this viewpoint is somewhat warped.