2 months in Norway is a hell of a long time for any recently graduated jobless student. However, like all great sagas, this one (for me at least) is at an end.
Between car repairs and break-ins it was a difficult job for Tim and I to keep each other motivated during our last week. However, like the troopers we are, we plodded on.
On the way back from the Urdlandselvi, we “acquired” a hole in Monty’s sump (see Monty). We spent the next day desperately trying to find a solution to the oil dripping from her belly. Everyone we spoke to seemed certain that it could not be fixed, moreover that the part we needed did not exist in Norway.
With our hope fading we arrived at a garage on the outskirts of Voss. Sheepishly we walked inside, expecting little in the way of advice. What we found inside was a tube of epoxy putty we’d been looking for – and given up hope of finding – earlier that day.
The manager gave us free access to a ramp and any tools we needed. We set to work and within an hour before closing we had fixed the car with some putty, a ramp, all the right tools, plus one thermal sock.
With our troubles behind us we got back to our mission: paddle lots of big scary rivers until it was home time. However it seemed that the Urdlandselvi, Jordalselvi, Brandseth and Upper Raundalselvi were merely warm-ups for the Lower Merkdalselvi in high flow…
Our last day in Voss and it was raining again. Every day we’d planned to head up to Merkdal “When the rain stops”. But now it was our last chance and we decided to go despite the rain. We knew we’d have to portage the slides at this level but the rest of the river? We decided to get on knowing that it would either be too high or too fun.
With two Swiss boaters, Ralph and Toro, we set off in the rain. After the put-in slide, I soon forgot that this was obviously the coldest day in Norway all summer. With the exception of the infamous triple slides combo, all the main events seemed to be on the good side of high with never a dull moment in-between.
In a less than a couple of hours, the four of us had made mincemeat of all the rapids with not a careless moment to speak of. Tim and I wanted more. Suddenly we were leaving the country too early and there is still so much more to be done. This is Norway.
Nick Horwood is still in Norway – see updates at jamfreeride.blogspot.com