Monday, October 20, 2014

Dalsland: Final days

Campsite on Lake Foxen
I was now on lake Foxen again and because I had paddled along the eastern shore before I now wanted to see the western one on my way back. Bad decision: the wind was only 4 m/s, but it came directly sideways and on a wide lake like the Foxen it kicked up quite uncomfortable waves. Should I capsize hypothermia would be a serious issue in these cold temperatures. I had a very cold and uncomfortable lunch break in a shelter along the way. But I had to push on. The forecast for the next day was disastrous and I needed a very good shelter that night.The water became calmer soon as I passed into the narrower Stora Le and I reached the first possible campsite in the early afternoon. I had reached the Swedish-Norwegian border.

Norway
When approaching the campsite I saw a dog nearby - quite a surprise as the whole area was otherwise deserted. It was so late in the season that no one was staying in the summer houses any more. And although I wanted to paddle a bit further I decided to get out and check out the location. A hundred metres away from the shelter I spotted some neon orange, the same colour my own cap has. Getting closer I realised it was a hunter who was completely taken by surprise by my unexpected appearance. He also turned out to be one of the very few Swedes who don't speak English. He tried to explain (or at least this is what I understood) that there was a big elk hunt for at least another hour - and that it was best for me to disappear that long if I didn't want to get shot.

I jumped into my boat and ventured into Norway for the fun of it - and it didn't look different than Sweden. My map showed a campsite in the Norwegian side but it did not have a shelter - only garbage cans which was also nice. I ended up on Trollön, an island that is half Swedish and half Norwegian. It even has  two shelters: one in each country. I chose the Norwegian side. But with a little patience and walking around I could still get Swedish cell phone reception.What I saw on the weather forecast next morning was even worse than expected: rain the entire day and a day time max temperature of 3 degrees Celsius. Not to mention a wind of 6 m/s. I decided to stay put the entire day. Luckily I still had enough reading material!

Paddling in full battle dress
But this unexpected rest day wasn't very pleasant: it was just too cold to do anything. Because of the rain and wind I didn't want to walk around much. But it was so cold that even reading led inevitably to frozen fingers after half an hour. I even set up my tent inside the shelter to be a bit warmer.At least I had friendly company: no mice, but several very curious little birds who came inside the shelter to feast on my breakfast leftovers. They weren't shy at all and came incredibly close to me - or maybe they just didn't see me inside my tent. Another visitor was an adventurous squirrel but I was afraid it might steal more food than the little birds. Time passed very slowly and even I can't sleep more than 10 hours per night....

Stora Le
Therefore I was up very early next morning and after running around for 10 minutes to find cell phone reception the weather forecast promised a slightly better day. 6 degrees Celsius day time max! Hurray! A veritable heat wave.... Plus less wind and not much rain. I wanted to paddle 30 km to get to a decent shelter and left with first daylight in full paddling battle dress: rain jacket and hat plus neoprene socks and gloves. Still my hands and feet were ice cold after half an hour. Again I had a very uncomfortable and short lunch break especially because it rained (despite the weather forecast claiming otherwise). But the forecast was right in some other respect: it sort of cleared up in the afternoon and even patches of blue sky were to be soon. And as soon as the thermometer rose above 5 degrees paddling became very comfortable again.

I finished 30 km and reached my designated campsite at 5 pm - quite a success in this weather. This was to be my last campsite and it was a great one. A huge shelter with plenty of space to put up my tent inside - usually the shelters are so low that my tent hardly fits. There was even grass on the roof. Unfortunately, the shelter also had a resident mouse which kept me awake for several hours until it realised that no food was to be found.

Last shelter
Next morning I only had about 10 km to my finish point and the forecast did not sound too bad. Unfortunately the weather does not believe in forecasts and it rained. This would not have been too bad, but the wind was stronger than expected and I had to cross the Stora Le. The lake was only about 1 km wide and I had an almost direct head wind - but I was still scared. And relieved when I finally reached the other side although the water remained very choppy. I counted down the last kms, then hundreds of metres until I finally saw some red bouy marking my final destination. I took out my boat for the last time on this trip and did my last portage. It had been a great trip - but it was time to stop paddling now.

6 comments:

Amy L said...

glad you finished safely. Stay warm and dry for a while!

Amy L said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nicke 2012 said...

Christine, I am very impressed what you are able to do. What is driving you? All the best, Nicke and Trollnäset

German Tourist said...

Nicke, first of all thanks a lot for all your help! As you might imagine the answer to your question is quite complex. I think I'll write a whole blog post about it - but this will take a couple of days.

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