Our trip to Karelia, Russia, included many funny and exciting moments. However, today, I want to share our experience rafting on the Loymola river.
Our excursion along the Loymola river originates at the beginning of May, which coincided with the recent flood. In addition to the flooding, this river is deep, then becomes shallow and in areas, almost impassable even in kayaks. That said, we couldn't miss this opportunity to test our survival skills. There are so many interesting rock formations and canyons along the route.
Our group and friends we never met before, all gathered at the rustic cabin. After meeting with the instructor and getting to know our new team, we started our journey. We loaded the trucks with food, clothes, watercraft, and other equipment. Once loaded, we moved to our first site.
Once we arrived, a flurry of activity ensued. Inflating the rafts, stowing the food, securing the clothes to the raft. While the instructors, we got everything set on the barges. At the same time, a group of us cooked our first dinner over a campfire.
This is tricky, thankfully we followed the advice of our guide; pack compact, only the essentials and share one or 2 bags with your travel companion! Thinking of the different weather conditions as well. Oh, and you have to keep things light, compact, and dry. Now that everything is chosen, you have to think of keeping everything dry in case rain or capsizing. Watertight bags that can be crushed for compactness. We selected amazing thermo-packing bags.
There're no small backpacks, there are corrupt handlers! Save space is vital, since the smaller trunks - the more comfortable and faster it will be to unload and load the craft. For group equipment and food provided barrels and buckets with tight lids. Also, at hand should be a light sweater and a raincoat in case you suddenly get cold or the sky begins to precipitate.
When things are prepared and packed, a life-jacket is put on each rafting member, and a paddle is issued. At the general gathering, the first information about the rules of behavior on the water, about the actions in the threshold, and handling equipment is heard. The main thing is NOT to sit in the life jacket unbuttoned, NOT to leave the craft without a crew-member, NOT to lose the paddle in the whitewater rapids, NOT to go unprotected in the hot sun, staying clothed and oiled up with suntan lotion.
Now the long-awaited moment – my first uncertain step into the white water rafting adventure, stepping into the water with the raft floating partially on the shore and in the water. Hands are unusually gripping the paddle. Learning to paddle is easy, you just need to stroke in sync with the whole team. The main thing is to feel the impact your stroke provides the propulsion of the raft. This is teamwork, and each plays an important role. The instructor controls almost everything. He sits at the stern and monitors the raft, with loud commands, and sometimes powerfully overtaking all those sitting ...
Rowing is not only a tedious exercise but also a beneficial exercise for the back muscles, abs, and chest. No need to give all the best at 100%, choose a steady pace of movement and do not strain ... but only up to the threshold! At the limit requires the concentration of one and all. That is why it is contraindicated to go to the alloy drunk.
A thousand years ago, the Karelian rivers struck their way between the rocks, forming rapids. And in those places where the glacier pressed deep troughs with its weight, the bottomless lakes were forming.
Much later, with increasing globalization and urbanization level, dams were built. This allowed raising the water level for HPP. In addition to this, were made a log-stone corridor to direct driftwood in the right direction.
Now we understand the obstacles that await us? Yes, yes, yes, among the natural sights along the banks of the rivers, the remains of Finnish masonry to huge cobblestones in old water mills, as well as wooden log racks of dams, we were impressed with their monumental. On some islands, ancient churches stand chastely, but on others, on the contrary, tourist fantasy gushes with energy, presented in handicrafts made of wood and other fun things.
Our overnight stays were planned in picturesque locations in partially equips bivouacs, with awnings to protect us from the rain. Insulating mats are spread on the ground inside the tents, and on top of them, we placed our sleeping bags. If it is cold, additional sleeping bags are provided. The shelter is sacred - it is forbidden to smoke and litter in it because it is protected to maintain its pristine character.
Instructors recommended not dry to things next to the fire: even though they will dry out, the smoke smell will linger, and the potential of a crazy spark could inflame the drying clothes. However, shoes can be dried by the fire under constant supervision, do not trust anyone to watch for your boots from burning. ! Only YOU can ensure the drying process and safety. The fire was so warm and cozy, providing warmth, drying, and a great place to commune and discuss what happened. We have to thank all the men for gathering the dry wood for the fire once we landed ashore.
Snakes are common in Karelia, the most poisonous of them is only a viper. In general, the snakes will not attack; however, if you touch or step on one, they will defend themselves to your disliking.
Ticks are active in spring and early summer. They bring a different danger, which can be long-lasting with limes disease. The distribution area is southern and central Karelia. For the prevention of pancreatic encephalitis, it is necessary, while on the beach, to wear tight clinging clothes, around the ankles and waist, and to inspect for ticks every 2 hours.
Be cautious when foraging for food or just walking in the woods, should you find berries or mushrooms, Don't eat them. If you are not familiar with them outside of name tags in the marketplace. People could die or get violently sick. It is better first to ask the instructor because eating them or adding them to the community pot could cause mass sickness.
We completed the trip safe and healthy, it was an extraordinary adventure for us to diversify leisure, instead of the traditional glamorous vacation. We learned a lot about ourselves and mother nature, its beauty, and dangers. This was a dream come true, and an experience I recommend but will also remember for a lifetime. I went back to the office and regaled our adventures and will begin planning my next adventure.