Thursday, 16 August 2007

A summer in Norway: a new classic...

A beautiful day by the sea

Last week I took a few days off from rafting work to head over with friends to Valldal, home of beautiful scenery, amazing rivers, and the best gooey strawberry cake in the world. Fact.

Gaute Holthe emerges from the Valdolla's cave drop

After paddling the Valdolla and eating cake on wednesday, we met up with the local paddlers, who invited us on a mission to a possible first descent nearby. The next morning we woke up early, eager to see what was in store, and headed out across the Fjord. After several hours of rainy hiking, and lots of looking at a 'potentially deep enough' 15 metre waterfall, we returned empty handed, to check out 'plan B', the recently discovered Valldal homerun.

The sketchy waterfall; deep enough?

After a frustrating morning, I was hoping that the run would prove a sufficient consolation prize, and I wad not disappointed. Our guide Øivind refused to let us scout any of the run, insisting that it would be more fun this way, and fun it was.

Karl Engen on the big slide

The Mickeymouse-elva (as it has become known, largely due to my mispronunciations) is a beautiful low volume creek in a small wooded gorge, consisting of 12 or so drops and slides between 2 and 7 m in height. Horizon line after horizon line, Øivind would give us directions, which we would generally forget just as he disappeared, and then follow down anyway. The eddies are big enough to stop after each drop, yet small enough for the whole river to feel like one big combo rapid. Altogether, the run is probably a little under a kilometre, and there's a small road straight back to the top, making it possible to do as many runs as you have the energy for.

Mark Basso on a sweet boof drop

Myself on the biggest waterfall

Upon reaching the take out of what is definately one of the most fun rivers ever, I was duly informed by Øivind that I was now one of only 15 people to have paddled the river, and could claim the amusing yet hounourable consolation prize of a first British descent at least.

Take out on the Mikkemuselve

Next time you're in Valldal, drop in to the rafting centre in town and look for local raft guides Øivind and Nils. They're super friendly guys who'd be happy to take you down the Mickey Mouse run in exchange for a few beers.

Sunset in Valldal

More Valdolla photos coming soon.


Sunday, 12 August 2007

A summer in Norway: a big loop.


There are times when being a safety kayaker feels like the most fun job in the world.

More soon...'