The track from Saarijärvi to Kuonjarjoki unmanned cottage is one big, gentle and never ending uphill. Whenever you decide to do this, in summer or winter, take a lots of patience with you and as much the favourite snacks as you can carry. During the day, you get comfort by reminding yourself that after this hill the summer body is about guaranteed.
To be honest, I slept the first night on the ski tour very bad. There was nothing wrong with the unmanned cottage. Instead, my body was overloaded with skiing. Sudden 8 hour physical demand to my office body was just a bit too much. I slept in total maybe 3 to 4 hours in small bits. Once, I even needed to go to the toilet in the middle of the night. It was horrible. It was dark, windy, -24C and stepping out from the comfort of the sleeping back is not to describe with words. However, this was the last time during the trip that I woke in the middle of the night to go to the restroom. I think my subconscious realised it’s better not to excuse yourself here in the winter wilderness in the middles of the night.
Luckily, after hearty breakfast, packing all our stuff and skiing the first kilometer drawing the still from all the food heavy sledge, I did not feel at all bad after the the night slept horribly bad. The fresh air and delicious snacks kept me going even the leg was pretty much just uphill. Actually, the first 8,5 km where uphill followed by 1 km flat and then 0,5 km downhill.
The weather was pretty bad. This was propably the coldest day of the 7 day hike. During all day, we saw only one group of snowmobilists. No other skiers, no animals but just more or less wind and snow everywhere. It was snowing and the visibility was quite bad. At one moment, we could only see one track mark in front of us. Luckily we saw that, otherwise we should have followed our agreed procedure and put up the tent and wait that long that the visibility would become better. Next to getting frost bites, a real danger in this environment is to get lost. As there are almost zero other people at this time of the year, you are pretty much on your own to find the way and keep yourselves safe.
Directly as we arrived to the unmanned cottage, I took a good nap before making dinner in the candle light. I cannot easily find a more satisfying feeling than after a full day of exercise cook dinner and relax in a good company. We made some vegan indian curry accompanied with rise. As dessert, we enjoyed frozen cinnamon rolls that we bought from the local supermarket the day we departed.