Visiting Ostrobothnia over Easter, despite the typically busy schedule trying to meet everyone, friends and family, I managed to snatch a day for myself. Having found a handy resource last summer, for outdoor destinations in the Suupohja region, I had already earmarked few potential destinations for a day out, and decided to head towards Kurikka this time, visiting one of the ‘mountains’ of Ostrobothnia, Santavuori (merely a hill of course) and the trails around it, named as Nuijapoloku.
This weekend I was supposed to join a few paddlers to explore the Härkälänjoki river, which would have also been the season’s opening for me. But unexpected duties called and I had to bail out at the last minute. Others went, read about the wallow'y paddle in Janne’s blog (in Finnish).
Vexed, spending most of Saturday indoors (weather was pretty miserable, so not a huge loss though), come Sunday I packed the bike and hit the road. Decided against paddling, traditional season’s opening in Espoonjoki river can wait, I rode to Kirkkonummi to cycle around lake Meiko.
I’ve never been much of an ice skater, but used to roller skate years ago quite a bit, and memories from childhood mostly, skating with flimsy leather skates, have effectively kept me off the ice rinks ever since. Few years ago I did had to jump back on it, to enjoy this dreaded sport with my daughter. Back on ice, but not thrilled about it, I thought Nordic skating could be fun. But few short tests with different boots, such as ones for cross-country skiing and ice climbing, left me wanting for more support. Having a size 46 foot, but narrow and loose ankles is not an optimal combination for a sport that demands control and strength on lower legs, and well-fitting, supporting shoes have been hard to come by.
I had played around with an idea to use my telemark boots for ultimate control, but having switched from the old norm to NTN, could not make myself to invest into another pair of Rottefella Freeride/Freedom’s just to try if it would work, and generic bindings did not seem like a good fit. I was also concerned if the mere weight of the plastic boots would be an issue for skating. Last winter I read about some of the amazing tours Luc Mehl had done in Alaska, and noticed he was using his Dynafit boots and bindings also with skates. Come this winter, encouraged, I decided I would try to work something out, and finding a great deal on pair of Skyllermarks Möja skate/binding combo at Bear & Water, I was ready for a trial when the first snow fell.