Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Sauna at the Elite Palace

This week I'm working in Kista, and it seemed like someone had hogged all hotel rooms not just in Kista but Stockholm as well. I was lucky to get one night in a hotel in Kista, and now another night in town in one of the few remaining rooms in the city.

I'm at the Elite Palace Hotel, and to my positive surprise they had a very nice sauna.

Hot, with water to pour on the heater, and a nice seating area to cool off. No pool or outside access, but maybe you can't have everything in the city.

The hotel rooms are tiny, but modern & high-quality.

I might come to this hotel again.

Photos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Solamäki caves

Yesterday we went to the Solamäki caves (Solamäen luolat) in Siuntio. We found a crack system, with a large cave hall by Finnish standards, and many interesting small cracks.

I particularly liked the curving, slanted crack "kaareva halkeama" (Curvy Crack). This crack is slanted 45 degrees and in addition turns a bit as it progresses. The crack is quite high, maybe 5-6 meters. You need to use chimney techniques to stay on the steep rock. At the upper end, you can enter your upper body in a small room where cracks lead further, but are too small at least for me. Intriguing though, wonder if they connect to the other parts.

In the main cave hall there is a nice side crack that you can easily descend from the top of the cliff towards the main cave. At the other end of the main cave hall there are some rocks that you can go through either under or above, and from above you can climb to the top of the cliff.

We also found two side caves further away, one small roof lid that would barely cover a couple of people sitting. The other side cave was under a large boulder, and also housed a gradually tightening end, with animal tracks that may lead to a hideout of some sort. Not big enough for a human to go there, but it would be interesting to know what hides there. This side cave was also a crack that was slanted sideways.

The main cave is at 60°16'57.4"N 24°17'45.5"E, the first side cave "Lid" is at 60°17'00.7"N 24°17'17.8"E, and the second side cave "Under a rock" at 60°16'53.9"N 24°17'53.9"E. We learned of the main cave from the excellent "Uudenmaan luolat" (Caves of Uusimaa) book by Tuomo Kesäläinen. Much recommended!

Here's a map of the caves, drawn without measurements but hopefully it helps show what is where:

Full-size version of this picture is here in JPG and PDF.

There are houses and private roads nearby; be careful to not disturb the locals. We parked far away on a forestry road and walked through the woods. Solamäki is half an hour drive from Espoo and Kauniainen.

Main cave:

Entering the side crack towards the main hall:

The Curvy Crack nearby:

The "Lid" side cave:

The "Under a rock" side cave:

Walk to the caves:

This blog is also available at the TGR site. Tämä blogi löytyy myös suomeksi Relaasta. Remember that pointers to all my stories about caving and skiing can be found at the ​Planetskier.net and ​Planetcaver.net web sites.

Photos and videos (c) 2017 by Jarmo Ruuth, Eino Ruuth, Eetu Ruuth, and Jari Arkko. Video editing on and sounds licensed from Apple iMovie. See discussions.apple.com/docs/DOC-4201.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Closed Ski Areas Tour

Plenty of snow. Greatest snow! Biggest snow. How is skiing in Quebec today, on the third week of May?

In the end, I managed to ski the long, nice run at Mont Saint-Sauver. They will still open this run one more time this weekend. I also skied at Mont Saint-Sauveur, Versant Avila, another one of their locations, and in Mont Habitant nearby, and then in Ski Chantecler. Chantecler was entirely deserted, and even closed off with a gate. But I did manage to hike up and ski the few meters of snow that was left higher up. And got drenched in rain, and worried about the thunderstorm above me.

But, wet and happy, I got off the mountain and decided to warm myself up in a local spa and sauna. See the separate article for the experience at the Auberge and Spa Beaux Rêves.

Mont Saint-Sauveur:

Mont Saint Sauveur, versant Avila:

Mont Habitant:

Ski Chantecler:

Photos and videos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko. Video editing on and sounds licensed from Apple iMovie. See discussions.apple.com/docs/DOC-4201.

This blog is also available at the TGR site. Tämä blogi löytyy myös suomeksi Relaasta.

Auberge and Spa Beaux Rêves

I'm wet. Cold. Sweaty. And have 16 hours of travel ahead of me. Auberge and Spa Beaux Rêves' sauna to the rescue!

I was returning from the closed ski areas tour in Quebec, and had been drenched by rain at the Chantecler ski area. The first spa that I wanted to enter didn't accept guests other than those staying at the hotel. But then I saw Auberge and Spa Beaux Rêves!

They had three saunas, one steam, one barrel, and one "mill" sauna, a small rock tower with the best heat. They also had one cold pool/waterfall, and two heated rock pools. This little spa and hotel is located between Boulevard de Sainte-Adèle and a rocky river.

Much refreshed, probably to the benefit of the fellow tourist class inmates at the back of the British Airways plane. Recommended!

Photos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko

Friday, May 12, 2017

Woven Stone. And Cave Under.

I am making turns on a fresh norwegian moss, when I see something strange. A dramatic outgrowth of moss on a rock? No, it was art wrapping! The Woven Stone by Lise Wulff, a norwegian ecoartist. And a cave underneath!

A cave by Finnish standards, of course. Maybe a meter and half long.

Photos and videos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko. This blog is also available on the TGR site. Remember that pointers to all my stories about caving and skiing can be found at the ​Planetskier.net and ​Planetcaver.net web sites.

Video editing on and sounds licensed from Apple iMovie. See discussions.apple.com/docs/DOC-4201

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Can walk!

The swelling has dissipated, the redness has reduced, and I am no longer in pain.

I can walk, a bit carefully still but the improvement is very promising!

The meds are working?

Photo (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko

Monday, May 8, 2017

Can't walk

Foot barely walkable today 😟 doctor thinks it is not broken, but something else. Hurt it briefly when putting on ski boot on Saturday. Was fine then, worse now.

Photo (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Biking to the ski hill, in boots

This morning I woke up and asked myself what would be the most stupid thing I could do today. Can you bike to a ski hill, on your ski boots? Turns out the answer is yes. Although maybe not advisable...

I also found a good way to attach my skis to the bike. With a couple of ski traps, you can attach them on both sides of your bike, along the main beam from the seat to the front. Very easy!

But, I forgot to take my poles. Duh.

This blog is also available on the TGR site. Tämä blogi löytyy myös suomeksi Relaasta.

Photos and videos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko, Olli Arkko, and Janne Arkko. Video editing on and sounds licensed from Apple iMovie. See discussions.apple.com/docs/DOC-4201

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Gardnos Meteorite Crater

On my way back from Hemsedal, I ran into a sign for a meteorite crater near the highway at Nesbyen. The Gardnos meteorite crater is the site of a 200-300m meteorite colliding with the earth 500 million years ago. It must have been quite a hit...

In fact, per recent research, the impact energy from a 300m meteorite would be roughly a gigaton. A gigaton! Remember that Hiroshima atomic bombs were measured in kilotons...

There's no immediately recognisable crater, but there is a hill at the centre of the crater, and the ridges around the site are the crater walls, some eroded away by the ice age. The crater is 5 kilometres in diameter, yet it was identified as a meteor crater in only 1990.

But, if you look closely, the rock here is odd. There's a dry riverbed running over ground rock near the parking lot, and is has a glassy, melted feel to it. Some of the boulders have distinct colours. But, you have to do some research to know what you're seeing. The wikipedia link above is a start, and the Earth Impact Database is another good one.

The meteorite crater place isn't officially open except in the summer, but at least on my visit the road was open, there's a parking lot, and one can walk on the river bed and on the trail towards the centre of the crater. It may not be advisable, however. And you'll miss the very interesting explanations from the tours. I plan to make a donation to the organisation to pay for my visit...

Sign at the entrance:

More of the melted stone:

The view from the centre cone:

The river:

Photos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko