The summer is fading away, new snow is appearing on the hills round Voss and a new season approaches!
Right now it feels like it has been raining since June, sun seems a luxury once indulged in, back in June, but overall I would say it has been a great summer. Our rivers have been feed well most of the summer by good snow pack from last winter, but then, just as we thought low water was in, bang, 0 - hero and every things in flood!
In the last month the local river around Voss have gone from low water to full flood about 4 times and counting. The Raundal river goes has gone from 13 cumecs to over 200 in an evening of rain, then back to 50 or so 24 hours later. Needless to say this keeps you on your toes and keeps you guessing where you should head next.
These days we are both living in Norway on more of a permanent basis. I am ops manager at Voss Rafting and Liz runs Liz Bell Fysioterapi in Årdal Kommune, 2 hours from Voss. We do still manage to get out and about on the rivers of Norway and with so many amazing rivers within a hours drive time from Voss we are spoilt for choice!
One of mighty home runs is the Myrkdale. This is about 35 minutes from home and is in fact the major tributary of the Strandaleva which we raft on. The Myrkdale offers upper and main runs, the upper needing more water to clean it up and the lower better with slightly less. You can still go for an action run at high flows, but there will be a few more portages than normal. The main run at normal flows offers all sorts of rapids and slides, sticky holes and blank horizon-lines! On a good day with people who know the way you can get down there in half an hour or so, on a bad day, with no clue it can take you hours!
The are a few rapids to get the blood pumping, and a few to send your friends down blind with minimal directions. One of the fun features of this run is that is quite near the source, so on a rainy day you can put-in in the rain,with a normal flow and by half way down it could be up and running at action flow. You might not notice until someone runs a drop and find the hole slightly more sticky than expected. There is, however a lack at the bottom of the run to catch all gear and boats you may loose on the way.
Just before you get to the main road bridge, the normal take out for most, there is one last quite a large drop. At a glance it is quite intimidating, but when you work out that all you need to do is boof off the middle, they lean forward for re-contact on the slide its all good! There are a few more drops after the bridge and you can take out on the left just below the little caravan site if you wanted. Generally people take out on the right just below the bridge and park by a craft gallery near the road. (Remember to respect the locals and parking areas when using these areas!)
So now snow is creeping its way down the mountain sides, winter is on its way. It looks like we are about to have another flood come down the valley and the rafting season is coming to an end. Norway and Voss have again lived up to the reputation of being an amazing place to live in all sorts of ways and the winter madness will just add to the cocktail.
Sometimes it is very easy to take things for granted, even when you live somewhere amazing, if you live there long enough the amazing rivers, rugged mountains, crystal clear waters, long summer nights, winter snow, lack of pollution, lack of crime, lack of traffic jams and general pace of life can be undervalued. But one glance at the world news and we suddenly realise just how lucky we all are.
Love an cherish the freedom we have, and enjoy the ride!