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Township, Windhoek, Namibia

Again, it’s been a while… Main reason has been that I started working immediately I arrived to Finland in February. On the other hand, this work has enabled traveling to rather interesting countries. I just arrived few days ago from Namibia and before that I was in Kazakstan, 3,5 weeks traveling all together.

I especially loved Namibia, weather was excellent and it is fairly safe compared to other Sub-Saharan countries. We didn’t have much time to explore Namibia, because our agenda was to create business in Namibia, but one night our partner showed us Township area. Township is basically a favela in Windhoek, but like nowadays in Rocinha, there are also people with normal income living in Township. This is caused by rapidly rising living costs in Windhoek city. We were visiting the area with two locals and we didn’t have to fear anything, I walked into a bar with my camera and nobody cared. Basically 90% of the people there wanted to greet us, since they knew our local friends.

I managed to take some photos, even though it was soooo dark there. I had to use ISO6400 almost all the time, so it kind of shows in the photos, but my intention was to capture the feeling what I felt there. Enjoy!DSCF5158

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-Aleksi

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Bättre Folk

There is an island near Oulu, called Hailuoto. Going there feels like travelling abroad, although you the island is reachable by public transportation. This summer the Bättre Folk music festival was arranged for the third time. It is fairly small festival with thirteen acts and some 2500 visitors during the weekend. Went there on Saturday and the weather was just perfect; might have been the first proper sunny days for the summer. Killer festival!

Death Hawks

Death Hawks

Iisa

Iisa

Iisa

Iisa

Festival area

Festival area

Backstage

Backstage

Technical note: film used was Ilford Delta 3200 pulled to 800 due to the lack of slower film. The result is fairly grainy, but works better when printed on photographic paper.

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The M-Road – Sea To Sky

Sunday 15th of June 2014, A&W Revelstoke, Kootenay Rockies

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So relieved I didn’t have to spend any more time here than I needed to. Don’t get me wrong, amazing city but all the concrete; nah…

On the last day in Vancouver, when I had all the necessities for camping for the next three weeks, I was doing the last minute supply run in the supermarket at 4th Av. and Vine street. Before I was about to head out of the city, towards the Rockies, I looked at my phone with a new text message on it. It was James, backpacker from UK, who asked me if I had any room in my car. I did, so I picked him up from downtown where I dropped Christian off, another traveller from Italy who had been driving all the way from San Diego who happened to need a ride to downtown.

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Ahh, that’s better…

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You might get shit for camping in the wild (aka not-camping grounds) in BC. Basically just another stupid way of saying “We want to keep you safe.”

The next morning me and James woke up from Alexander falls, just off the famous Whistler resort. A massive picturesque water falls tall as many of Vancouvers downtown buildings. We found an relatively easy camping spot on a ridge between the falls and the parking lot and spent two nights there while exploring the village, or more like a pile of hotels and holiday resorts, which was more or less the equivalent of a neighbouring resort back home, a nationally recognised circus for the cheeky and loud called Levi. Something really interesting actually happened in Whistler; I found a super cool hill to ride down with my skateboard, and as my own surprise, I felt immediately comfortable on my board, even though it has been seriously long time since I’ve ridden anything like that. Fast and intimidating open road hill with some tight corners. Skookum*!

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After the 5th or 6th bear sighting, you kind of get used to it. Better hope they are not as interested in us than we are of them…

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The majestic Alexander Falls. Three bear sightings inside of 1 km radius of our camp spot the same day we arrived. They really like those streams and the fish in ‘em

On Monday, the 9th we headed up the valley towards Lilooet. After driving up for quite a while and skating my jeans full of new holes on an other downhill part we came up on a Provincial park of Joffrey lakes. Three glacier lakes stacked up between 1100 and 1600 vertical meters, every one of them overlooking a massive Merriet glacier. James cooked us a pasta dinner by the lower Joffrey lake and I went to find us a camping spot.

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Quite ordinary view in the seemingly endless woods.

It’s weird how similar these forests are to the forests of Northern Finland and that said, it was pretty much following your instinct while scouting a camping ground. As I was walking on the marked path that led to the upper lakes as I noticed a ridge leading off the path, slightly uphill and deep in to the woods. The ridge was covered with incredibly soft moss and after about 5 min walk up the ridge, there was as I would call it a perfect spot to lay down. After a night in the magical woods of Joffrey, we had our oat meal breakfast with dark roast espresso from Italy, which gave us strength to do what we had planned last night while eating dinner; climb up for 5 km to the upper lake, right below the glacier. This is what we found:

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Another magic like view of the Matier Glacier

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First time I had to tune the colours DOWN in after processing since it didn’t make any sense how vibrant the water came out

Once we reached the lowland desert towards Kamloops, it was already long in to the night and we decided to stay in a Motel for one night, charging our batteries and washing clothes. Kamloops didn’t really offer much so we kept going the next day, driving via smaller roads little by little closing in on Revelstoke.Before reaching Revelstoke, we found a nice secluded and chilly lake called Mara lake. We found our ways above the lake on the steep hills and had a scary moment after we set our camp at what seemed to be a nice meadow at the end of an old random logging road. If anyone decides to camp “illegally” out in the wild here, please remember to be sure you are not setting your campsite on a flat sunny spot that is planted full on one of the most famous crops on the area, a world famous species carrying the prefix “BC”… The realisation of what we had come upon led us to a super quick repacking and change of a camp spot. Sorry about that to who ever had their hands dirty on that soil.

More or less so far it has been an unrealistic drive through the Western Rockies, but not to worry, this is only a quarter of our trip, next chapter; Revelstoke, natural and super secret hot springs and more bears as we head down to the Kootenay Rockies.

-M.
*: “Skookum” – “Awesome” in Canadian

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The M-Road – Finding the Connection

Monday 26.5.2014, Tofino, Vancouver Island
The overwhelming feeing of freedom rushed in me while I was standing across the street of famous Ice Cream bar of Whiskey Creek in the middle of Vancouver Island. I had already had at least 5 rides with the people from the island, everyone as surprised to hear I come from Finland as the previous. If you are ready to get lost and if you are not afraid of surprises there is no other way of getting an easy first hand experience of adventure than lifting your thumb up and letting the road take you where it’s bound to. I’ve said this too many times. Ask for a ride, receive one, respect the act of helping and know that it will take you where it will. This is what I love about hitch hiking, unpredictability.

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Sometimes when you take a picture, it won’t resemble the reality. But still, you might get a beautiful shot from a perspective that no one would be able to see otherwise. Below my camera there was 15 meters of air and a stream flowing through razor sharp rocks.

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There were moments where you really had to stop and look around, recall what you have eaten lately, make sure they were not hallucinogens and admire the unyielding nature.

This time it took me to a small hippie/fishing/surf village literally at the end of the road on the west coast of the island. An old school logging expert took me with him from Whiskey Creek for the drive down towards Tofino and we had quite interesting verbal pingpong about the environmental questions that Canada as well as Finland is facing at the moment. Turns out that the people who took down the huge first growth forests are all not that bad folks after all. And turns out that Finland and Canada have much more things in common than only sick passion for ice-hockey.

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Sometimes we would find a path leading to the rocks revealed by the low tide.

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Coffee break by one of the countless creeks we had to cross

After 6 hours on the road I got dropped of to a very nice and small guest house by polish scuba diver who was still angry to Santa Claus for not responding to his letters when he was a kid. I told him that I would have a word or two with the Man when I meet him the next time. He told me I could borrow his surfboard. On top of that he gave me couple of good tips how not to sleep outside if you want to avoid waking up with a bear licking your face.

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With mud all the way to you knees there is no end to the joy of seeing these wood paved paths

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There is more black bears in these forests than there is hikers. To make it easy for the people on the trails they’ve put up “Bear Boxes” to hide you food in for the night. Handy!

Before I started hitch hiking, I was hanging out in Victoria, getting shown around by a beautiful french canadian Shaya and recovering from the three day hike we did on the South-West coast called Juan De Fuca Marine Trail. The same day I arrived to Vancouver my friend Josh, who I met in New Zealand few ears back, told me they’re about to do this hike with his friend Thomas. The day after Josh invited to go with them, couldn’t turn down a opportunity like that even though I promised myself to take it easy at first because of the 10 hour time difference.

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If I believed in magic, I’d say this part of the world is filled with it

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Maybe I will be back here some day, I sure hope so

Beautiful and rugged 20 km piece of coast line which with all of its features offered 47 kilometres of muddy and sweaty hiking. Not to mention some of the coolest camping areas, cliffs, beaches, creeks and mind-blowing forrest teaming with life. This area was clear cut by the _____ more or less 30 years ago. So all the 40 meter tall trees and endless unaccessible patches of Salal-bushes have conquered these areas in less than a lifetime. The trail offered some excitement too, although we were waiting to see black bear, at one point I actually found myself looking in the eyes of full grown cougar larger than most of the women I’ve met! After a split second of connecting with this animal, both of us found our instincts telling us to fear each other. The cat ran away and I grabbed the closest stick I could find. End of that story. We kept hiking, with sticks…

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Azores, São Miquel, Part III

Last day of the trip arrived and we were willing to take the most out of it. Alarm was set to ring 4.30. To our discomfort,  it fortunately did. With the power of muesli, fruits and mint tee we got up and faster than expected finding ourselves driving towards the north coast. Once more the beach of Santa Iria was waiting for us.

I  would not call myself a natural early morning person, but if there is something to wake up for, then it’s easy. I’m filled with gratefulness to have a hobby that makes me get up at times I might otherwise be going to bed at. Quite amazing to witness the first light, to notice the moment when end of the night is nigh. To observe the arrival of a new day when pitch black scenery begins to fill with the most gentle light. A new and completely unique day filled with new opportunities, the day when you have the most experience of being you. It’s now and it’s only today.

At this specific spot it made a difference weather you leave on time or not. Once the high tide was there, the path was flooded and waves were mashing the stones.  Need to head back grew stronger as the departure time approached. We were walking carefully, a steady stop after another and waiting for the perfect timing. Actually Lucas was the one going first, waiting for the set break. So calm, so careful. He took his time and eventually managed to keep his shoes dry.  For the disadvantage of rest of the cavalcade, we stood knee deep taking the splashes of the set waves on our feet due to the prudent road blockage. The picture below was taken twenty something kilo backpack in my back, a surfboard in my other hand while standing in knee deep water. And still my camera store guy is laughing at me for being careless and sloppy with my gear when I go and buy a new lens cover. Namely, because the previous joined all the other plastic trash found in the ocean.

That was it and it was amazing. A remarkable and unforgettable adventure filled with intensive moments. Epic sceneries under carefree circumstances. Being there made an impression on and brought more motivation, how many more of these places is there? How many more adventures can I live trough? How many more stories is there to be told?

Plenty, I hope
Antton

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Above the skies

Hi all, took few flights last week and it was pretty beautiful weather! Enjoy your weekend !

Cheers,
Perttu

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