Friday, August 19, 2016

Whitewater rafting in Voss (Norway)

Our foray into the Norwegian wilderness continued in Voss, about an hour on the train northeast of Bergen. Known as the adventure capital of Norway, Voss sits on the shore of the lake Lundarvatnet.

We were booked for a day of whitewater rafting... or canyoning, depending on the water levels. All of that rain we'd been experiencing meant for some truly awesome-power-of-nature-type rushing water. The guide told us the spectacular Tvindefossen (literally "two waterfalls") was the largest he'd seen it in several years. Ergo, we were going rafting.

We stuffed ourselves into thick wetsuits, jackets, and booties, which still didn't quite prepare us for the brisk 8C (~46 F) temperatures. Avoiding the wet was not up for debate, as this tour operator (Voss Active) insisted on a practice run and a swim test for good measure. We had to wade in, assume the legs up position (so your limbs don't get stuck under rocks), deliberately float into a swirling rapids, flip over, and swim across the current to the bank. Easy, right? Well, the cold was still a shock, and maybe I panicked a little with the strength of the current, swallowing more water than necessary, but I made it. Rich, on the other hand, was having so much fun in the rapids that he forgot the swimming part, ending up much further downstream.

The rafts were six or seven people each plus the guide. The Strandaelva river was flowing swiftly with Class 4-4.5 rapids. For the connoisseurs, it was the kind of rafting where there was a real possibility of flipping. We watched as one of our flotilla followed us over a big rapid, and the guide exclaimed, "Whoa, that was really close! If someone would've sneezed, they would've gone under... Probably means we shouldn't have done what we just did." In short, it was awesome!!

One poor sod was blue-tinged and shivering with cold in the van back to base. Luckily, there were hot showers awaiting, a wood fire going, and a hearty lunch of baked Norwegian salmon and potatoes ready for us. Nothing like cold and adrenaline followed by a hot meal to remind you life is good.

Click on the picture to see the whole album.

No comments:

Post a Comment