What an incredibly crazy day it has been. It feels like I always write that the emotions and mood fluctuate up and down from hour to hour during the tour, but today was something special.
The day began with an eager Pelle coming rolled in to our overnight gates in the Inner Harbor and knocking. It's time for breakfast!
From eating fiber-enriched oatmeal with water the day before (raw oatmeal straight up and down with water) to being offered a really good Karlstad wife with everything that goes with it: breadcrumbs, yoghurt with muesli, orange juice and of course freshly brewed Löfberg coffee from the roastery 50 meters away.
Fine-tune with the boss.
After the delicious breakfast we bowed and bowed goodbye to Pelle. Lowe and Noah went to a second hand shop to get new paddling shirts while William (me) donated with this blog among other things.
If the bridge was our sleeping place, the water in the harbor was our playground. Not only did we have time to paddle SUP before breakfast but when Lowe and Noah came back William put on leaf clothes, put his stuff in a waterproof backpack and just ran out over the dock into the water to swim over to the others. How wonderful it has been to just run out and swim when you felt like it!
During their purchases, the boys Lowe and Noah had come across the same person, Frida from Karlshamn, who had helped us carry kayaks in Munkfors the days before, a fun reunion!
The next thing on our to do list for the day was to buy new food for our upcoming traverse of Lake Vänern. On the way to the grocery store, we took the opportunity to walk past Löfbergscaféet, which is next door to the roastery. Here William took the opportunity to drink his first double espresso. A very pleasant visit with a nice chat with the staff.
After finishing purchases, we headed back to our nest in the Inner Harbor. The sun was still shining warm and happy in the harbor and the atmosphere and well-being were at their peak. Just as it is difficult to describe how tough and challenging things are in text, it is almost as difficult to describe how fantastic it can be. Right there and then everything was as good as it could get.
A simpler pasta dish with fish balls was prepared on the pier in combination with lots of cooling dip before we started to stow down all the stuff and all the food in the kayaks. Henke, who welcomed us yesterday, came down again for a paddling session he was to hold during the evening.
We say goodbye to Karlstad.
Just as the outdoor cafes began to fill up and the live music started, we suddenly got a jerk of previously unknown dimensions: we're going away.
But… it is now a wave of anxiety washes over all of us, some more hit than others in the group. How on earth did we leave such a lovely place where we felt so good? It is precisely such occasions, which only occur occasionally, if at all, that one should take advantage of. The whole way from the Inner Harbor through the Klarälv delta to Skoghall was a misery to get through.
The last meters
Admittedly, it was a really lovely evening with perfect paddling conditions: windless, sunset and sounds from the surrounding nature. We talked to several Karlstad residents who helped us navigate through the delta, including some 16-year-old boys who occasionally acted as pilots by driving their boat in front and showing us the way.
Stora Enso in Skoghall.
Still, we all had a lump in our stomach that rubbed. Sometimes it turned into a widespread fit of laughter over our stupidity of not taking advantage of the opportunity.
The civil engineers consider the industry.
However, when we came to Lake Vänern at Stora Enso's factory at Skoghall, something happened. Lake Vänern was almost windless and the sun was setting in clear skies. The lump was blown away when we paddled at sunset, camped on the smooth cliffs of Stora Axelön in the Segerstad archipelago.
Canoeing at sunset.
Still water on Lake Vänern.
Noah slept in his tent while William and Lowe threw their sleeping pads straight out onto the rocks and slowly dozed off to the sound of the waves moving toward the rocks just a few feet away.
Night harbor on Stora Axelön.