Following the first drops of rainwater

After a long drive up to Lake Ölen we began unpacking our equipment and assembling the foldable Kayaks. Above you can see Jan at Lake Ölens water source which was the reason we went on this trip - we wanted to follow the first drops of rain in the mountains down to sea level. Unfortunately we didn't quite have time to paddle all the way to Lake Mälaren as planned - but we reached Lake Hjälmaren which is a very big lake that connects to Lake Mälaren through a canal and it is just 20 meters above sea level.

Both were satisfied when we arrived in Örebro City last Sunday having traveled 86 kilometers (53 miles) in four days - being forced to stay in shelter one of the five days because of thunderstorms and heavy winds which made paddling complicated due to steep waves in lake Toften.. 

Day 1

Around noon when we got out of Lake Ölen we ran into a friendly man while carrying our Kayaks, giving us a fill up of water and best wishes for the upcoming sailing endeavour. Later that evening Jan found a small restaurant while surveying the area where we had to carry the Kayaks. Both felt that we should visit the restaurant - not knowing when we would eat anything but freeze dried food again.

The day went by quickly and it started to get quite dark even though it is midsummer and the sun sets late here up north. We had just reached Svartå Herrgård and once again had to carry the Kayaks, this time across a motorway and down to a riverbed. Luckily we got some solar powered lights with the Kayaks, which proved useful while paddling in the dark.

We arrived at our destination around 1:30 AM the next morning. When we woke up 7 hours later thunderstorms swooped by and we had to spend most of that day in a wooden shelter due to stormy weather. 

Day 2

Jan enjoying our  wooden shelter home - waiting for the bad weather to pass

Jan enjoying our  wooden shelter home - waiting for the bad weather to pass

During the Second day we tried to dry up some wet clothes and got time to eat properly, talk, plan the upcoming day and just have a good time relaxing in the shelter. Later in the evening the weather cleared up, but the winds were still too strong to be kayaking in. We decided to carry the Kayaks through the forest 6.5 kilometers, we knew carrying 40kg's each in this manner were no small feat so we decided to walk half the distance the second day and spending the night in the tent somewhere in the forest.

Day 3

We got up pretty early knowing we had to carry for several hours again. After an hour or two both were pretty exhausted from carrying these things fully packed, hands taking all the weight. We decided to start carrying the backpacks separately walking back and forth to spare our hands and the integrity of the Kayaks. Fine idea - but the distance to walk is three-fold all of a sudden.

We had spent too much water as well so we had to walk without the kayaks to find a nearby house to fill up our 10L canister plus our camelbacks which holds 1.5L each. Not sure how we could miss filling up the 10L canister the first day - lets say we learned a lesson here. When we finally found civilisation we just happened to run into this very kind man giving us water and asking if he should just help us with his trailer and deliver the Kayaks to the nearby lake which we were heading to. We decided to go with his plan and probably saved our hands thanks to him.

Day 4

The fourth day were a bit different, meeting a group of guys out on a 2-day canoe paddle with music and booze taking it super slow downstream. These guys had wheels for their metal canoes so they asked us after a friendly chat if we wanted to put our small ones on top - which was a relief for us having carried so much weight the previous days. After they helped us across land we paddled on to the next shelter and waited there for them to arrive.

When we arrived at the shelter we noticed it was already occupied so we yelled for the kids there asking if there was any tent spot left, they said yes so we got up and introduced ourselves and sat down at a pre-made fire. It was eight 13-year olds who had decided to go out on a hike together - quite amusing listening to them and asking them whats up in the youngsters world nowadays.

After a while we started to wonder where the other guys went, thinking they must have put up a tent along the way. Then all of a sudden in the middle of the night in came four pretty drunk guys, two of which had turned their canoe over and had a heated argument who was the cause of this disaster, haha. We had a lot of fun, first getting their canoes up on land, getting a dry towel out and listening to their amusing stories and having a BBQ. 

Day 5

At first we didn't plan on getting all the way to Örebro on day 5, it just felt great paddling into the night like we did the first day.

When we arrived outside Örebro Castle around 9PM we got stormed by people wanting to know what kind of strange kayaks we had and it didn't take long before we had told people about the circumnavigation as well - meaning we spent more time talking than folding Kayaks. Which led to the hours passing by and when we finally managed to pack the Kayaks we had missed the opening hours of all decent restaurants in Örebro - bummer. But totally worth it, very nice talking with these fine people!

We went to a fast food place instead that were open at night, the food was alright - especially after 4 days of freeze dried food. Jan had a Kebab with fries and Jens had a falafel sallad but wasn't satisfied so he devoured a vegetarian pizza as well. Double yummie!