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In 2022 I was kayaking only in Norway. I spent 70 days on the water while working full time, being the mum of a 1-year-old child and expecting a second one. It is possible when you decide to prioritize it and get the support you need, and do not forget to get some rest when you need it! Main season was May to September. I made a link at the end of the article to a map with most of the local runs around Støren, 1 hour south of Trondheim.

2022 - full kayaking season in Norway

First day on the water was late April, when the river got free from the ice. It was a beautiful week where the sun power really kicked in, with 0 at night and +20 degrees C at the end of the afternoon. After playing on the sandy beach of Gaula with child and boyfriend I went on the water to try to catch some surfs on the fast waves. The river was quite alive, and I could hear the rolling stones on the riverbed.

In May the spring flood came almost one month earlier than usual because it was warm. I had 16 days on the water, the most active month of the year. After a calm winter in the valley where main activity was cleaning snow and cross-country skiing, I was looking forward to social kayaking trips when kayakers from the city “come back to the woods”. On 15th of May we made the first trip down the beautiful Bua gorge, while it is normally not free from ice before the end of June. It was still quite some snow at put in that allowed a smooth start sliding straight in the water. After the 1st trip in my big kayak Nirvana M, I felt confident to have the next trip in the Antix M 1.0 Europe edition and really enjoyed the little boat down the canyon. This year I mainly kayaked the Antix and was delighted to make things a bit trickier and fun in the local runs. I stopped breast feeding in April and got my menstruation back in May, my body was finally back to normal, and it was super fun to feel so strong. We had many laps on the lower sections of the many rivers in Gaula valley: Sokna, Hauka, Fora, and Bua. For upper sections we still had to wait as it could be too high flow, icy, or road would be closed and require long hikes in the snow to the put in. Season start had as usual some reminder of how to be a good fellow to kayak with. Once an eager group joyfully run in the deep forest to the put in of Hauka, and eventually got lost and reunified only at take out, hopefully no one ended up alone on the river – rushing without waiting is often the best way to lose part of the team and a lot of time. Another day a brave kayaker ran the big hole in Sokna on high water that looked uglier than usual after a recent road work. He was carefully watched by 13 other kayakers on shore, and had an epic swim and a collective strenuous work from catching boat back – being many doesn’t make the river safer and easier!

2022 - full kayaking season in Norway

In June I counted almost as many days kayaking as May but only in Bua on relatively, very, and extremely high water to what used to be local standard. Eventually at the end of the month a medium level was what used to be called super high a year ago. The 20 km from the top of the canyon to home beach were behind in 2 hours including taking eddies and without trying to go fast. The canyon was run on up to 30 m3/s measured on the gage Lillebudal (see link to the gage at the end of article) that is upstream Ena confluence. Be aware this number is very unprecise as it is so far upstream. In autumn we went with almost as much water and it then measured only 17 m3/s. The highest water level at take-out was between the 2 stones at the bridge, not the Fv30 road bridge before confluence in Gaula but the one some few kilometers upstream in the small road towards Budal. With large number of runs with more than 20m3/s in the gage, June also turned out to be history with “shit-shows” in the canyon. Among the locals who know the river well we had many sketchy rolls and at least 4 swims, including one from me on a solo run. A good reminder to stay focus and humble. The lines are not much different or harder, but some holes get big, everything is fast and the river even more continuous than usual. A group of non-local kayakers had a very unfortunate adventure as they put in at the road bridge, and luckily survived through the ugly old bridge drop just above the normal putin. We met more foreigners than the previous corona year on the river, all amazed by the beauty of the canyon! Even the famous « Senders » crew came, starting also from the steep Ena before confluence, you can see their edit on youtube: see link at the end of the article. But it was not only the canyon. When it is too high the furious lower Bua, and the huge waves in Gaula from confluence to Rognes are also places it is impossible to kayak without a big smile. And high up in the valley is the gentle upper Bua in the superb landscape of the national park Forhollogna. It is easier pool drop style whitewater of class 3 with a more difficult rapid in the middle and a significant drop just after take out, ideal place for a picnic. In the family I was the lucky one for Bua canyon trips, but my partner got the epic trip on the epic upper Fora, a river that you never come back without big stories of big rapids. And so came the end of the sunny June full of days with more than 20 degrees and more than 20 m3/s in Lillebudal. At this time of the year there is no night, you can literally kayak 24/7. Besides kayaking I appreciated lazy evenings watching fishermen very dedicatedly waiting for salmons to bite. Once just after the fisherman left, a big salmon jumped couple of times just where he was, a smart fish!

At the start of July we reached 30 degrees and Bua raised to 70 m3/s, no one was on the water then, and certainly it would not have been possible to survive on this flow. We were careful on the first trip down the canyon after the flood, as the year before one of the biggest rapid had changed and there are always risk for tree. Another day we started with a low level and got caught up by the flood wave just after we exited the canyon less than 1 hour after the start, suddenly the water was brown and very high, and the river sides looked like a deep jungle where water was rushing down in powerful cascades between the thick green vegetation. We were lucky we did not start 30 min later. When we started the gage 10 km upstream still had not got any increase or peak, so we would have need to pay more attention how much it rained to foresee what was to come, peak always come sharp in Bua. The summer holiday started in mid-July, but that is when the summer weather ended in contrast with the rest of Europe. The sky turned grey, and temperature did not rise above 14 degrees. We aimed for the first trip outside of home valley to Sjoa and then Trofors, places that we never get tired of visiting years after years. As we got grandparents joining the trip we could kayak together twice a day, while the child would throw stones in the river, a true holiday for all family!

In August for the end of the summer holiday we wanted to walk from home to Røros through the mountain, about 80 km with the child and a mini tent. The weather would never be good and stable for enough days, so eventually we drove halfway and did half of the trip walking «only» 3 days. We came back by train and then saw the upper Gaula with a lot of water from the railway bridge, 60 m3/s in Eggafoss. That brief view got us inspired to explore upper Gaula in kayak. In August the rivers start to be dryer. I kayaked Bua canyon with only 6,5 m3/s, a level where you need precision to avoid rocks, but get plenty of time to admire nature around. Then we drove to the famous Voss with young slalom kayaker Iris, for the girl weekend with the freestyle and whitewater legend Marlene. It was my first trip and night without my daughter! When I came back, she would say «Maman Voss» anytime she does not see me. The trip was fabulous, we were all day out on Strandelva and Raundalselva and the group dynamic was magic of only women (coach and participants) giving each other self-confidence and pushing their own limit, to run a rapid or try a hard move. Challenge and fun for all, and a sunny weather to kayak in short. Back home I kayaked Gaulfossen where you can surf and do difficult moves when the water level is fairly low (below 50m3/s) and you no longer needs to fight or fly through super pushy water (above 150 m3/s). This canyon is a scenic place, I always feel in a different universe even though it is so short (700 m) and close to the road. At the end of the month we went to Oppdal on weekends to kayak the Driva and the Grøvu, the only rivers in Trøndelag with blue water and white rocks. Not only is the place charming but the whitewater technical and lovely. In Oppdal I also had the chance to join a truly first descent on the Kaldvella river, that is in an area that used to be accessible for only military for a long time. The locals were really kind to invite me in this adventure that was a proper big day: scouting a long canyon from high above and feeling completely blind back in it, portaging around « the end of the world » drop and not finding back my huge red Nirvana kayak after going to take a picture of the massive drop, luckily the rest of the crew find me and my boat back, and the river even goes through a tunnel before take out. In August I was pregnant again and I appreciated to kayak on the local quality rivers that are technical but without big drops or extremely committing. Only I missed the Forra and Sona rivers in North Trøndelag, that are drop-drop in style (pool-drop without pool). I look forward to going there again in the seasons to come.

In September comes the autumn and the rain. Bua went up to 100 m3/s, which had not happened since 2010. For several days we did not see the sun behind big clouds and only heard the river louder and louder. We aimed for a weekend trip to Sjoa, mentally too tired for a very high water run not necessarily difficult, but random and dangerous. We were blessed with sun and colorful autumn scene in the beautiful Åmot. Back home I went to the Bua canyon that still was on high water, for the 16th and last trip of the year. As a celebration of a beautiful season ending, we took a day off to explore the upper Gaula. We had high expectations, and we came back deeply happy. The river was beautiful and friendly on a level of 20m3/s at Eggafoss. We did the section above the dam. The section below the dam where is the railway bridge was completely dry: you need a flood to have enough water above the dam. It is also extremely steep, I am not sure I would run it but I would love to see it with the correct flow. The section below the power station down to the road bridge looked good, we saved it for another day. We had a picnic by the «end of the world » last drop shortly after take-out bridge. You certainly want to look at the last eddy before you run that section.

In October the winter slowly came in. I kayaked only once a week. In Gaulfossen, making exciting difficult lines, then in Driva and finally in Voss for house-warming party of a lovely kayaker home.

In November was the nostalgic last trip of the year on the lower section of Bua, before the sun disappear till January in the narrow valley and the river gets taken by the ice. And so was another beautiful year on the river over!

See you in Norway next season maybe, thanks for reading !

Here is my video recap of the year:

Here is a map with the sections of Gaula river and its tributaries around Støren village, 1 hour south of Trondheim. On the map you can choose plane-photos from many years (“historiske”) to see rivers on different flows:
FINN kart – en ledende norsk karttjeneste

Gage for Bua canyon measured upstream Ena confluence at Lillebudal:

Video from Sender in Bua canyon also starting from Ena. And at the end in Gaula