16-Jun-2007 -- My first confluence in Finland! As the Scandinavian coordinator, it has long rankled me that I didn't know about the project during my previous visits to Finland, and therefore didn't visit any confluences.
This weekend I was going to take part in the world's largest orienteering relay, the Jukola which takes place over a weekend in the middle of June every year. The relay starts an hour before midnight, and lasts until the early morning, with the winning team finishing before 07:00 on Sunday morning. This year the competition area was nearby the small village of Lapua, about 70 km east of Vaasa on the Baltic coast. Both Vaasa and Lapua happens to lie almost exactly 63°N, so I would pass close to two confluences on this trip.
Together with three of my team mates (each team has 7 runners), I flew from Oslo via Helsinki (the Finnish capital) to Vaasa, where we promptly got in trouble:
The kind guy at the Hertz rental counter had noticed that I'm a frequent renter, so he had upgraded me from the large car I had ordered to a nice small sports car! This could have been fun except for the fact that I needed to fit four persons and their luggage for an overnight stay in tent & sleeping bag. After quite a bit of messing around with car keys and rental forms, he finally gave me a very nice Saab Turbo Wagon. :-)
In the meantime my team-mates were waiting for our luggage, and that's when the real problems started: It didn't arrive, Finnair had lost it all in Helsinki!
We soon determined that we'd been on the last flight of the day to Vaasa, so it was impossible to get it the same day, in the end we had to pay for a taxi driver to take them all the way from the airport to the Jukola venue in Lapua, a distance of over 400 km, and since he wouldn't arrive in time for the relay start, our first runner, Bjørn Henning, had to buy a complete new competition outfit since he only had shorts, T-shirt and sandals.
While waiting for the taxi driver to arrive I used the free time to visit this confluence which was situated just 3.6 km from the competition area: I drove the car up to highway 16 where we had arrived from Vaasa, crossed the river to the east, then tok the first road (Poutuntie), after just 150 m, to the north.
After 500 m, just past a red barn building, I took Leipähilankuja road to the NE, then followed this until it ended after 1.1 km. At this point I was just 390 m from the confluence, so I parked the car, took GPS and camera and walked almost due north. Since the time of the previous visitor, logging work had generated a few new tractor tracks through the forst, and one of them happened to pass exactly through the confluence!
GPS reception was very good, so it only took a few minutes to zero out the digits, take photos for a full 360-degree panorama and a couple more to show the area. Total time on foot was just 12 minutes.
After this nice evening trip, only the orienteering competition remained: My team, which consisted of 7 guys all old enough to the the fathers of our first team runners, did almost as well as we hoped, ending up in 239th place out of 1370 teams. :-)