The “Kayaking” section of my website has been inactive all this time, you couldn’t even simply click on it. When I started to write this blog, I wasn’t even thinking of kayaking. My leg didn’t let me walk evenly, so I couldn’t imagine carrying around a kayak at all. But eventually having gathered inspiration from many sources including Natty Cordon, I started to realize that kayaking was there to stay for me. And after all these months I have to go into the website code in order to activate the “Kayaking” section.
Resuming kayaking was not just fast – it was done at breakneck speed! I didn’t have the slightest idea which kayaking skills had remained with me and which had left me for good. I knew only two things – I was physically fit enough and I remembered how to do an escimo roll. So I simply couldn’t turn down Ivan Kozlachkov’s offer to go to Norway and do some “classics” there. I could hardly imagine a better place for resuming my rowing skills than the rivers which I have gone through for about 10 times.
I had my newly-bought camper van with me, so I went to Europe and parked it there for the next three weeks so that I had a chance to travel with the rest of the team using our kayaks.
As a huge smile stretched over my face in Zambezi section (Numedalslagen), so it never left it during the whole trip. A deer is my witness!
Having gone down this classical and ideal in all senses of the word river, I made sure that the 4 year beak didn’t erase any of the rowing skills from my memory, though their quality and stability of performance suffered badly.
That is why on the second day we went to a new river called Usteani (which by the way has some pretty dangerous obstacles) and went down it without any unplanned adventures.
The biggest challenge for my leg turned out to be a race up the Trolltunga. It was a 22-km route picking up 700 meters of height. We set off at 5 in the evening, so in order to go back down on the same day we had to run up, rather than walk. White nights, unusually snowy and cold weather this year let us enjoy awesome views during the whole track.
At about 9 o’clock in the evening
Full of snow and happiness we went to Voss to jump into the waterfalls (I didn’t do it), take part in competitions (I didn’t do it either) and go down classical rivers full of water – Jordalselvi, Myrkdalselvi, Raundalselvi, Bransethelvi. The amount of snow in the end of June literally drove me crazy.
The way to Jordalselvi
Voss was the meeting place for several teams, and we shared our excitement with Egor Voskoboinikov, Alyona Buslaeva, Andrey Lysenko, Mityay Danilov, Ivan Rybinikov and the deer. That was amazing!
It’s 3 o’clock in the morning, I’m driving in my sunglasses, the deer aren’t sleeping this night either.
Lagen, 100 cubic meters
Unfortunately, Voss has a limited number of rivers, so we moved to the Otta region and continued paddling classics.
Getting bored with classics we went to discover new rives to Oppdal. The main river there was Driva featuring almost 200 cubic meters of water, so the neighboring small unknown rivers also got enough water. A flashback from Yauza – there is a small stinky river Alma winding through the center of Oppdal city and going around bushes, garages and city dumps.
It was 8 o’clock in the evening and with local beauties watching us in one of the dumps we changed into our kayaking clothes and disappeared in the nearest bush. At some point perfectly normal green water turned into drops and cataracts and flowed into Driva. A nice, though not very technical, class 4 in 15 minutes.
Alma, a rapid near the confluence with Driva
The other river nearby called Gisna is also an easy class 4 for half an hour. It starts with a serious drop and goes down into a canyon with easy entertaining obstacles which you can come over on the go! But still too short!
Our tour was coming to its close, there was only 1 day left, when suddenly driving over some bridge we saw a miracle! The miracle was called Veo, it was grey and flowing… I’ve already described that magic day here…
So the tour ended, but not for me and Lena Vostrikova. We had to start working hard, that is why we went to the office and continued working on the way from Kongsberg to the annual Shoa-fest. As a rule, the internet connection was bad and we went out to the balcony to relax.
Shoa-fest turned out to be an extremely friendly and positive event. All the rides were held in the afternoons, so in the mornings we had time to ride with participants and their friends, and in the evenings Lena performed. This year I permanently fell in love with Finna – so very simple, but serious. That piece of Norway, that looks so much like Altay. So very easily accessible, but completely impossible if the time isn’t right.
At that point the tour “for ourselves” finished. We met the ww-school and that was the beginning of a totally new story…
Photographs by: Lena Vostrikova, Alyona Buslaeva, Natalia Zakharova, Bas Horstink, Ivan Kozlachkov