I still headed off into a drizzle next morning to tackle my first lock. What I saw there was going to repeat itself at almost every lock: no portage route was provided - on the contrary: the only sensible route was marked with "No portage" signs and even blocked by a hedge. Although I can understand these measures in the busy summer time they infuriated me now in off season. Paddlers in the Dalsland canal are required to go through the locks like motor boats - and pay for it: about 3 € per lock chamber. Blocking the possible portages forced paddlers to obey this rule - but what about now when the locks did not work?
After all this lock disaster I wanted to be really clever the next day. The locks in Mustadfors and Dals Langed are only 1 km apart and I decided to portage around both on a forest road. Little did I know that the forest road was in bad shape and first incredibly steep uphill - and then impossibly steep downhill. When I finally arrived back at the canal sweating and swearing I stood on private property - and the house owners were just having coffee on the terrace. Luckily Swedish people are very friendly and when I asked politely for permission I was allowed to put in at their boat landing. I must have looked really exhausted because they explicitly told me that I could have a little rest there as well....
|Portaging on a bike path|
|View over the rapids|
|The accident spot|
Next morning I had a rare encounter - I met other paddlers. I guess they were the typical Dalsland paddlers and the reason why I advise everyone not to come here in summer... They were a group of eight coming out of a campsite just minutes before me. Of course they did not wait to chat. Instead they were going ever which way on the choppy lake. To my great surprise they stopped after only 30 minutes on a set of little islands where half of them whipped out their dicks right in front of me to pee (I guess they hadn't expected me to paddle by so close) and they other half whipping out their cameras to take silly pictures of each other - most of these including beer cans and singing loudly in German. I pretended to be Swedish and paddled on - turning off the main canal again at Gustavsfors.