The weather doesn’t know what to do with itself recently, temperatures have been bouncing around the low positives melting all the beautiful snow. Nooo, fingers crossed for a decent snowfall soon, I’m itching to try out the old wooden forest skis.This week we visited Vapriikki Museum, had our safety passport exam, learnt some more about plants, had a big group meal, did some planning for the winter guiding task and went foraging for mushrooms and traditional fire starters. But first I want to tell you a story all about how an elderly lady named Carmen from the Costa Del Sol brightened up my Saturday.
This week we were taught all about preparing and cooking food outside. Our tutor for the week, Turka, was a memorable guy, dressing in an army green jacket and trousers each day, with an old shirt below and worn-out smart shoes upon his feet – a smart casual look for sure. Each time he spoke, a long low rumbling voice would emerge past a thick bushy broom-like moustache, as if gurgling from the depths of a ancient cave.
Started the week with a walk in a nearby forest to observe birds and plants. Got introduced to some more mushrooms – some edible and some deadly. One that I will definitely remember was the destroying angel, the name says it all, eat this mushroom and you’re probably going to die. Symptoms do not appear for 5 to 24 hours, when the toxins may already be absorbed and the damage (destruction of liver and kidney tissues) irreversible. As little as half a mushroom cap can be fatal if the victim is not treated quickly enough! On a lighter note we the also found many brittle gill (pictured below) and gypsy mushrooms – which are both edible, and very tasty.
We spent week 2 camping in the college forest, a short drive away. It was a great week and a good opportunity for the group to bond whilst still in our ‘Honey Moon’ period, as Mikko, our tutor put it. Throughout the week a range of skills we taught, including orienteering, fire making, whittling, fishing, proper use of an axe and also local plants and wildlife knowledge.
On Monday morning, the first thing we did was to organise all the equipment and pack it into the trailer of one of the vans. Again, much more to do than initially thought – we collecting the vans and trailers from the school garage, 2 of the guys collected the shopping lists from the others and did the food shop for everyone, only going 7 euros over for the whole group – their efficiency could be down to the fact that they were both German. Continue reading
The first week was a combination of classroom based work, trips to local camping spots and Seitseminen national park, with a bit of camping, foraging and wild swimming thrown in for good measure.
We were also split into our expedition planning groups – I am in the group planning the trip to Russia. So much more to do than I initially thought, from car route plans, to the walking route, sorting visas, daily timetables, food plans for the week, driver rotas, safety plan, risk assessment, summary of safety plan for local rescue stations, gear plan and budget. It’s going to be a busy month.