If you were to come into my humble home right now and take a look at the bookshelves, scattered amongst the more proper written works, you would find notebook after notebook of mine, filled with ideas and plans for obscure quests and romantic adventures. Many of these half-baked pursuits are nothing more than pipe-dreams, most of which may never come to fruition. Every once in a while though, an opportunity comes along where I get the chance to make one of these dreams come true. A week from today my friend, Kiia-Riikka, and I will depart on one of these off-the-wall adventures. Opportunity has arrived. This time, we will be attempting to complete the first recorded kayak crossing of Finland.
While we have a modest amount of experience on the water, paddling is certainly not our forte. For me, that is just fine. It feels good to mix it up every once in a while and I am very much looking forward to exploring a new landscape, traveling over a new medium, learning new skill sets, and experiencing the trials and challenges that come with being out of one’s normal environment.
Below is a brief look at what our expedition will entail.
W.T.F Trip Overview:
Objective: To tandem kayak across Finland via a continuous waterway that stretches from the Russian border east of Kuhmo all the way to Oulu and the Gulf of Bothnia in the west.
History: So far, there are only two recorded water traverses of Finland. The first traverse was done in the ‘80s by a lone man via a rowboat. The second traverse, which occurred in the ‘90s, was completed in identical style. Both expeditions followed a very similar route to the one which we have chosen.
Duration: Approximately 20 days
May 15, 2015- Travel from Oulu to start point (approx. 8km north of the city of Viiksimo, Finland)
June 6, 2015- Arrive in Oulu and the west coast of Finland
Basic Outline of Expedition:
Day 01: Get to the drop off point in the afternoon and spend the night close to the starting point.
Day 02: Paddle east from the drop off point to the far (eastern) side Lake Iso-Tahkonen. This marks the border boundary zone and is as close to the Russian/Finland border as we are allowed to travel. After reaching this point we will start our westward travels
Days 03-11: Travel along lakes and rivers to the city of Kajaani, on the eastern side of the massive Oulujarvi (Lake Oulu).
Days 12-16: Make our way westward across the notoriously windy Oulujarvi.
Day 17-21: Paddle the Oulujoki (Oulu River) west to the city of Oulu and the west coast of Finland.
Team: The team will consist of Kiia-Riikka Niemi and myself, Alan Goldbetter.
Expedition coverage: Words, photos, videos, and dispatches from the field can be found at the following locations;
Pohjolan Kanootti– Thank you for providing us with one of your fine kayaks to use for this amazing journey!