Kayaking in Sunnmøre

Before we went to Norway I had planned to kayak Hjørundsfjorden. To be more exact my plan was to hike Slogen, then kayak from Øye and find a nice camping spot, stay overnight and then kayak the rest of the fjord, but what happened? Well.. Weather does not follow your plans! We could not do Slogen the day I had planned it and we ended up kayaking Eksund – Ulsteinvik instead, since it was supposed to be better weather there. Notice the “supposed” :D? There were no super conditions for kayaking in Eiksund either that day, but it was doable. On the positive side I did learn a lot that day.

Lessons learned:

  1. Do not only consider wind speed, but also wind direction. We had headwind the whole way, which made it very exhausting. Had I considered the wind direction we could have done the route other way around.
  2. Check your map often when kayaking between small islands. Me and Elias thought we knew the direction, but it is just way to easy to lose it between all the small islands and espesially when you also want to take the “shortest path”. Much like when hiking. So we ended up kayaking in wrong direction for one and a half hour. That together with the headwind probably resulted in us not making it the whole way to Ulsteinvik :(.
  3. Kayaking in rain is completely fine, it’s just a different kind of experience 🙂
  4. Kayaking close to each other is a challenge, when in big waves.
  5. On the sea the wind/weather can change within 15 minutes, so sometimes you need to turn around so that the waves do not hit you from the side.
  6. Make sure you seal the kayak covers properly during the breaks and while kayaking. Especially with big waves. Elias did not do this and so all the equipment in his kayak got wet. We did use waterproof bags , but his shoes were inside the kayak without a bag…

 

Eiksund is a village in Ulstein Municipality in Møre og Romsdal , Norway. It is located on the southern tip of the island of Hareidlandet.

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Iniitial plan was to kayak from Eiksund to Ulsteinvik
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The route we ended up doing

The waves were the worst when kayaking towards Eika, so when I afterwards figured out that all this struggle and fear was for nothing I was a little angry at myself. But I on the bright side I got some experience with kayaking in medium to big waves (At least for me they were big 😛 ).

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Yes I know, the water in the pictures looks perfectly still, but belive me it was not like this the whole time. I just did not dare to take out my camera in the big waves, it was more important to stay alive 😀

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After struggling in the waves and realizing that we were on the wrong course, we decided to take a break at Kleppane. We had packed tea and coffee, lots of sandwiches and cookies with us.

 

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From Kleppane on we checked the map frequently to not make any more mistakes. We found a nice place where to take the kayaks to the land, not too far from the road so that we could be picked up.

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All in all we used 5 hours on this route, but that is included a 40 minutes break and heavy head wind. In other words, on a nice day there should be no problems to make it the whole way to Ulsteinvik, as long as you do not end up taking detours, that is 😀

Now I need to get ready for some serious hiking tomorrow. Last weekend we had actually planned to hike Aplspitze, but I was so tired that I did not even want to watch TV so we had to cancel our plans. I guess the first week back at work hit me like a wall and I just needed some rest after it.

Anyways, I hope for a nice hike tomorrow. Even thought it’s going to be a long and heavy one 🙂

 

 

 

 

Sledging in Germany – a serious sport.

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The hut, right before Brünnstein.

Couple of weeks back a friend organized a sledding hike. I had seen Germans walking around with their sledges before, both in the city and in the mountains so I knew that this was an established sport here and not only an activity for kinds. I did not quite understand it thought, and it did seem funny watching adults sledding down a hill. Nevertheless I was ready to try it out!

The hike went to Brünnsteinhaus: – walking up,sledding down.
Ascent: Brünnsteinhaus lies on 1360m and the climb up is 750hm. So an easy and nice hike for winter.

Time: We used ca  2:45h up and 0:45h down. But you can for sure be faster down. Some of the people there really knew what they were dong and were very fast the way down.

Getting there: Take the Meridian to Oberaudorf (direction Kufstein).
If the conditions are ok you could also do the peak: Brünnstein (1619) – another 45-60 minutes. We did the mistake of having a beer on the hut first and after that we just got too lazy, but I saw people doing the peak so it is a possibility, depending on how much snow there is.

The nice thing is that Brünnsteinhaus hut is open also during winter and  you can rent sledges at the hut (5€). I would always recommend to call the hut in advance and ask about the conditions and to make sure that there is enough snow to sledge down. They told us that they had about 60 sledges so unless you are in a very big group you should be able to get a sledge.

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20170219-brunnsteinhaus-kathrin-26Oh man how much fun this was!! On our way up we saw some rather old sledge riders :). They all had such a smile on their faces and their eyes were shining from joy. It really seemed that they had found back to their inner child. Never the less they made me a bit scared, when I saw how fast they were going!

So the excitement was big when we got our sledges and were about to try this out. In the beginning the sledge went crazy fast. I tried to control the speed, but it was almost impossible. So I just drove out from the track into the snow to stop. Then, luckily Elias told me to use my whole feet to break and that made a huge difference! Therefore my tip nr 1: use the whole feet to slow down, not only the heal.

The rest of the way down I was more or less able to control the speed  except in one of the turns where I almost hit a tree 😀 😀 Luckily I jumped of my sledge just in time.

In conclusion I can highly recommend this for everybody, but I would not put any kids on these sledges. They pick up speed extremely fast and you can really injure yourself – as the title says – this is a serious sport! 

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At the end of your ride you just leave the sledge on the roadside, so convenient !
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The view from the hut – can’t complain!

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My first ski touring experience

For several years I have been thinking that I want to start with ski touring. For three years to e exact. This weekend we finally realized our dreams – well it was not quite according to what we had dreamed but at least we got out there.

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Picture by Štěpán Jirka

So why ski touring? Couple of years back we realized that during the winter season we are quite inactive. Yes, we went skiing couple of times, but you really get bored with riding the same slopes after couple of days and its also quite expensive sport. Another thing is that it does not provide the freedom that I usually feel while hiking. I think anybody who as been to a ski resort knows that you are no exactly alone in the mountains while there. All in all I think it is nice, but my husband and I wanted to try out ski touring so that we could have more freedom, get away from the people and closer to the mountains also during the winter season.

In order to go from dreams to action, we rented the equipment from DAV and found an “easy” tour that we could try out. I was a little anxious before the tour because we have no avalanche training. I know that many of you know think safety first – what were you thinking. BUT to my defense, I did try to sing up for avalanche course for ski touring, but it turned out that some ski touring experience was a prerequisite. How you should get one before the other, I wondered? I guess the way we ended up doing it. You just do some ski touring without avalanche training. Not the ideal scenario, but I decided that after three years I just can’t use more years on finding somebody who already knows this sport and is willing to let me tag along.

Long story short we found a tour marked “easy” in one of the ski touring books, rented skies from DAV, followed the avalanche reports and were ready for a real adventure. We didn’t even know how to use touring bindings, but luckily you can learn a lot from watching YouTube 🙂 .

The tour went to Fockenstein (1564m). We had to do a 900m climb and were supposed to use two and half hours to the top, but in the end we used three and half hours. Nevertheless, the trip up was actually quite as expected. I guess I had mentally prepared myself that it will be supper heavy and the reality was not as heavy as I had thought. It is amazing how you can walk up using skins and not even slightly glide backwards! We also had super nice weather so the way up was really nice.

After a while I started worrying about the snow conditions. Since it was warm the snow was very wet and I was afraid that on the way down, when temperature was decreasing it would be very slippery and icy. Another thing that worried me was that there was not that much snow on the top and that my rented skis were too long for me. I tried not to think about that too much on the way up but on the way down all my fears became a reality.

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Picture by Štěpán Jirka

First of all I must admit that I am not the best skier, even on slopes. So I did not have the best confidence in myself. The fact that my touring skis were longer and wider than my regular skis did not help. Therefore there was one place where I actually took of my skies and walked 😦 😦 . At that point I was thinking that my overall goals was to not get insured and when I was standing there I was not sure that I would not get insured when trying to ski down. So I did not. Off course this is a defeat that strikes me hard. Trying to do something that you have dreamed of for so long and then failing so hard, makes me so sad. I would almost say depressed. Because it is so easy to just generalize this defeat to every other dream I have regarding outdoors. I know that it is not how I should think, but I am not going to lie and tell you that I sit with just positive thoughts after this experience. Yes, I try to focus on the positive – I made it down without insuring myself or destroying the skis, It was easier than expected to go up and I am one more experience wiser. I also know that one can not expect to be good at something the first time you try, but I was expecting to be able to ski down the whole way even if very slowly. Therefore I still feel defeated and unmotivated.

I now need to decide what I will do next. Should I say OK ski touring is not for me or should I make a plan on how to get better?? I don’t know yet. I think I will try it once more before I decide. With shorter skis 🙂 .

Anyways, here are some pictures from the trip, as I said the way up was a really nice experience.

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Picture by Štěpán Jirka
 

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