"Poorly Planned... Badly Executed"

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Do We Have To Go Kayaking?

Eden running Spånemfossen

With all three of us finally in the same spot and after being well feed and looked after we headed for the Telemark region about two hours drive from Oslo. Water in the area usually only last for a couple of weeks but this season it has already been going for two months! Apparently Norway got heaps more snow than they usually do over winter and they had a colder than normal spring (not that you would know it with temperatures consistently in the thirties). For those who do not speak ‘kayak’ all that translates into plenty of water for us to play in for the season…. booyah

Boating in Norway is a little different to anywhere I have paddled before… all the regular kayak runs are right beside roads (well in Telemark at least). There are established put-ins and take-outs but essentially one can just drive until they think the river is suitably scary enough and then paddle until they are too scarred.

Rolfy Bear's attempt at flight on the Gøyst

The first river we hit up was an upper section of the Austbygdi (note: upper doesn’t equal harder over here). As we all got changed Eden realised that he had managed to leave his helmet in Switzerland!!! “That’s a funny place to keep it… how are you going to kayak here?!?” Oh well looks like Rolf and I have a shuttle driver… and a spectator as Eden was able to stop and check out our form at almost every drop. All was good and finally we had paddled out first river in Norway… live is good (for those of us with helmets). The next day we sampled the delights of the Gøyst (pronounced like just but with g… Norwegian is an interesting language – the only thing I know for sure is that I’m saying it wrong!). It has some very cool slides on it which seem to make up the staple diet of paddling in Telemark. Slides and waterfalls… and so far we have been hiding form the latter.

Our guide Sam on the Home Run section of the Mår

Sam to the rescue… a friend of ours, Sam Hughes, who lives in Oslo saved Eden’s trip when he arrived in Telemark Saturday morning with a shiny new F&A helmet. You who think that Eden would be stoked but not so… Have you not heard that beggars can’t be choosers Eden? Lucky for Eden Sam also had a slightly used full face helmet that he could have. It’s pretty funny though, it makes Eden look like a German (and worst – a German who needs a full face helmet due to lack of paddling grace). Hahaha

The paparazzi our out in force today - Sam runs the smallest drop on Home Run

With Sam in town for the weekend he showed us some of the sweet drops in the area… either that or he tried to scare us, I’m not totally sure. On the Saturday we paddled the Gøyst again from a bit higher and then did a blue angle run (one after the other no stopping), although still not a fast as Sam would have liked. Apparently we weren’t meant to catch any eddies!

Jono on the California section of the Austbygdi

On Sunday things got more interesting however. The day started early (not a problem in Norway you could paddle through the night… if you can even call it night) with a short section on the Mår called Home Run. Sam and some others we camped with had been talking it up the night before so Eden and I were a little wary but Rolf ‘the bear’ Kelly was ready to fire it up and he wasn’t disappointed. The run is only 500 meters long and has only seven drops with the average height of each drop being close to seven meters. Yeah I think Sam is trying to scare us but the kiwis were up for it and Rolfy Bear even had a grin on his face.

With the waterfalls dispensed with we headed for a big slide (just above a waterfall you can’t run without breaking yourself) and another even bigger waterfall, Spånemfossen, which is apparent ‘all good down the middle’. Sweet as

More from the Californian section

Well I’m still typing so all was well and we even found our favourite run to date. The Californian section of the Austbygdi which was more of a river than a waterfall-slide combination. Much closer to what we are use to in New Zealand - nice.

Spot the paddler!!!

Good times…