Monday, April 30, 2018

Holy Vappu!

Reject spring. Ski in Pyhä! Party glasses on and champagne in backpack!

This article is also available on TGR. Tämä artikkeli löytyy myös suomeksi Relaasta. Photos and videos (c) 2018 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved. Music by Silent Partner.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Petite Ceinture

I'm feeling a bit alone here. The tunnel ends are too far to see even that pinhole of light. I'm in a long railway tunnel on the Petite Ceinture, the "little belt", an abandoned (I think) rail system under Paris.

And it is officially off-limits, comes with a promise of a legion of rats, and us also the playground of the less fortunate in society. The tunnels on the track are lengthy; the one that I visited was 1.2 km long, and since the other side gate was not an easy climb out, I had to return back the same way. Long walk underground! There were a couple of ventilation shafts with ladders out, but they were locked.

This was a bit different than my experience a few days ago with Jeff on the Coulée Verte René Dumont; that was in sunlight and an officially sanctioned park. This one was ... unofficial or illegal, and I had to sneak in first through a garden to the tracks and then via a hole cut into a security gate to get to the tunnel. I run into either some youngsters or possibly the drug gang on the way in. But they turned out to be friendly.

Also, it is a good thing that flying drones is illegal in Paris. Otherwise I might have flown my drone into the tunnel and crashed to the wall and broken it hard enough that I need to send it to the repair shop. Good thing that didn't happen!

I started my visit through the old Charonne station around coordinates N 48.859273 E 2.403162 in the 20th arrondissement. This beautiful station is today a concert hall, the La Flèche d'or. The Petite Ceinture is a ring railroad around Paris, constructed for both passenger traffic and as a defence supply line. It was opened in 1850s, and passenger traffic continued on it until the 1930s, and goods transport until 1985. The definite guide to the railroad can be found from the official page, although that is perhaps not so practical for visiting it. Other articles that I read include the Atlas Obscura article and the World in Paris article. Read also this excellent Finnish wikipedia article on it.

WARNING: urban exploration, and underground or railway place explorations is extremely dangerous. Do NOT attempt to visit any of these places. You've been warned.

Photos (c) 2018 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved. Tämä blogiartikkeli löytyy myös suomeksi Relaasta.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Coulée verte René-Dumont

Jeff and I were taking a walk after our meeting in Paris, and happened to run into an "elevated linear park", the Coulée verte René-Dumont. Such a beautiful creation! Also with some old railway tunnels.

We run into this old railway line near the Bastille end in the west, and decided to walk to the east for as long as we had time. It turns out that the park is 4.7 kilometres long; the first park of this kind. The other well known example of this type of recommissioned infrastructure park is the High Line in New York, also a nice stroll.

A bit further to the west the line starts to run under the street level, in a space previously carved out for the railroad, and goes under several bridges and tunnels. The line also passes through an abandoned railway station at Jardin de la gare de Reuilly.

Nice find, and a very nice walk or bike ride. Much recommended.

Here are the tunnels:

Photos (c) 2018 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Deadly bunker trap

Well, that was dangerous. We're very careful when we visit blown-up bunkers. But, we did not expect intentional traps, at least not recent ones. Next to a bunker in Siuntio, Jarmo almost fell into a 5-meter deep well that was covered with fresh tree branches. Would he have hurt himself if he fell in, or even if not, would he have been able to get out if he was alone? Who does this sort of thing?!

Otherwise, this location was quite a visit, a big 2-storey ZIF-25 bunker in Siuntio backcountry (is there other kind?). Blown up worse than we've seen elsewhere, but still possible to crawl to the main room through the hanging wreckage. And two functional exit tunnels.

We also saw the remains of another bunker nearby, a smaller one and we didn't even bother to go inside to this badly destroyed structured. However, what was interesting that at the back of the bunker there was a cliff wall, with pipes running to the bottom of the wall. With all the snow it was not possible to see if there was something at the bottom, so we'll have to return in the summer.

Here's the hidden hole and tree branches:

And the video:

Pictures from inside the bunker:

Approaching the bunker:

Here's the second bunker:

This blog is also available at TGR. Tämä blogi löytyy myös suomeksi Relaasta. Photos and videos (c) 2018 by Jari Arkko and Jarmo Ruuth. All rights reserved. The song "Trap Unboxing" is by Jimmy Fontanez and Doug Maxwell, freely usable in YouTube audio library.

Replacement Poles. Cutting them...

Ski pole bouquet, five poles! Should be enough for redundancy, now.

I lost a ski pole in the Ylläs competition, just an hour or so into it. I had spare ones, although a bit short.

The staff had not received the pole anywhere, nor did we find the pole upon search later. Oh well.

But, this meant that I needed new poles. I use fixed length but lightweight poles unless I'm planning on skinning or packing skis in backpack.

So, I wondered if I could buy another pair from Ski Service, with exact same model and length? Unfortunately, they did not have the 130cm any more... but I got a great offer for 135cms for just 20€ pair. That's a very good price for this composite pole. However, I'd had to cut it by 5cm.

The first attempt at dislodging the glue on the handle did not work with just warm water. But as instructed, with boiling water the glue came off easily. Cut the poles, insert new glue, and now I have correct length poles!

Photos (c) 2018 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Salomon Driver Ski Helmet Review

To be honest, I did not expect much. My old helmet was broken in the back, I was flying to the Ylläs competition next day, and the Ski Service shop was closing. They had only helmet model that was even close to what I was looking for. I had to buy it.

What I got was the Salomon "Driver" ski helmet, one with an integrated visor.

I had grave suspicions that it wouldn't work... would collide with my eyeglasses in practice... would leak too much air at high speed... be too hot in slower speeds... and of course it has a weird name, like I was buying a motorcycle or car driver's helmet. Who comes up with these names at Salomon???

But, to my surprise this helmet was a perfect choice for the competition. It never had any issue with my eyeglasses, and it provided good protection in all situations, much easier to use than regular goggles, particularly when I can wear with glasses. It was also very comfortable, a very good fit to my head with or without additional warming layer, even if at first I thought it might have been a tad too small for my big head :-)

I'm very happy with the helmet now.

The only questions that remain are about bad weather, how protective will be in snow storm? And will the visor get easily scratched in travel? I guess we'll see. I suspect it will be perfect in weather, too, and I'm mostly worried that scratches will harm my new favourite ski toy :-) But for now, I can only warmly recommend this helmet!

Photos (c) 2018 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Tivoliberget Forts

I had a long day at my Kista office today, but on the way back to the airport I managed to scout ruins of fortifications and bunkers at Tivoliberget in Bergshamra, Solna, near Stockholm.

These are not part of the Korvlinjen that I've been tracking earlier. More information about the fortifications can be found here.

I found a bunker, at the top of the hill there some fortifications (perhaps bases for guns), and there's also basement ruins of a house.

And nice graffiti!

Coordinates for the bunker are N 59.37502629 E 18.03478, for the ruins N 59.37506 E 18.03388, and for the fortifications at the top of the hill N 59.37472 E 18.03345.

Photos (c) 2018 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Bromma Airport

Many things are better in Sweden than in Finland. Take their appreciation of small city airports, for instance. Bromma is a small but thriving airport in Stockholm. Whereas in Finland... the idiots are tearing down a historic airport.

Bromma is so convenient for me; it is a 10 minute drive, max, from the office. And it is so small that their maximum queueing situation can result in whopping 4 minute lines through security.

What's not to like? Well, trying to find a seat in the waiting hall or a free bathroom at a busy evening our can be a bit challenging. But I'm sure the new terminal buildings under construction will fix these things.

But Helsinki, oh Helsinki, why are you tearing down the Malmi airport, just when quadcopters, delivery drones, and small aircraft are about to boom? It is a crying shame to destroy a world class historical airport. Why? For the sake of some friendly construction company deals, or gaining more customers for city mayor's nearby businesses?

Photos (c) 2018 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Ylläs 24H Live!

Tero and I are joining the Ylläs 24h race. They hold the ski lifts running for 24 hours straight... and whoever skis most vertical, wins. There will be no rest :-)

I've participated this competition a couple of times (see here and here). I don't really feel like I'm good shape this year, but lets see how it goes. Ski as much as I can. At least it will be more vertical than on a usual ski day :-)

This year I will be tweeting live pictures and video as the race goes on. Follow the hashtag #yllas24h or my twitter handle @jariarkko.

Here's the team:

And here's how it looked like in 2015, including my visit to the Gondola sauna:

Tämä blogi löytyy myös suomeksi Relaasta. Photos and videos (c) 2015-2018 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

New Helmet!

My old helmet broke (maybe in transport), and since parts are now sticking out, I needed a new one. I got a helmet with an integrated visor, and it will be interesting to see how it works.

The helmet model is Salomon Driver. It seems to work with my eyeglasses on; but I consider this an experiment. I really don't know if this type of a helmet is suitable for me. I think it will be convenient for the Ylläs 24h competition that is coming up in two days.

I like the helmet's style, it fits well, and is compact. Some of the question marks for testing include:

  • Will it work well with my glasses in reality?
  • If I'm going at high speed in the competition, will the visor actually protect me eyes from excessive wind?
  • Will the visor become scratched or broken in transport?

We'll see! I'll report back.

And where else to get it than from my trusted source, Ski Service in Pitäjänmäki:

Photos (c) 2018 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

More Sepänkylä Bunkers

Olli and I went to Sepänkylä to visit more bunkers, and to fly our drones. We found a standard Soviet Porkkala bunker model, relatively intact except for the room under the gun hole. But what wonderful flowstone!

I've also been doing some reading about stalactites and concrete. Stalactites and flowstone are examples of speleothems; in concrete structures such as bunkers, these can grow very quickly. But they are technically not classified as speleothems in concrete, because the definition of the relates to caves:
Definition 1. Speleothems are secondary mineral deposits formed in a cave [1].
Flowstone is sheetlike deposits of calcite or other carbonate minerals [2], in a cave environment. In concrete, it is called concrete derived flowstone [3]. This is an example of calthemite:
Definition 2. Calthemite is a secondary deposit, derived from concrete, lime, mortar or other calcareous material outside the cave environment [4].
What I definitely did not know before was that calthemite and speleothems actually form with different chemical reactions. Calthemite comes from calsium hydroxide (leftover from making concrete) reacting with carbon dioxide as the two come into contact when dripping water from the concrete reaches air:

           Reaction 1: Ca(OH)

 + CO

 → CaCO

 + H

The resulting solution contains calcium carbonate, some of which will be left on the surface as the water drops away.

But regular cave speleothems form through calcium bicarbonate (from dissolving limestone) reaching air and turning to calcium carbonate:

           Reaction 2: Ca(HCO
 → CaCO(s)
 + H
 + CO(aq)

In other words, both processes end up with calcium carbonate on the surface of the growing flowstone or other speleothem/calthemite, but the process at which they come to this is different.

While cave stalactites grow very slowly, few millimetres per year, calthemite can grow much quicker. A calthemite straw stalactite can grow 2 millimetres per day in optimal environments [3].

The coordinates of the bunker we visited are N 60.161310 E 24.502157.


Here are more pictures of the flowstone. I mean concrete derived flowstone:

Forest and the bunker from above:

The entrance and emergency exit:

And here's the drone pilot:

Tämä blogi löytyy myös suomeksi Relaasta. This blog is also available at the TGR site. Photos and videos (c) 2018 by Jari Arkko and Olli Arkko. All rights reserved. The song "Hollywood High" is by Silent Partner, and freely available from YouTube audio library.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Easter Bunny Walk

April 2nd and the Easter. I'm back from the US, and far too jet lagged, but managed to go out on a walk in Kauniainen. Walked around the lake, through the small nature reserve swamp, through the underground tunnels... and also saw an easter bunny :-)

Photos (c) 2018 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.