(Tømmerflåde i Värmland, 6 dage-100km)
6 Days, 100 km downriver, 1 ton raft–and yes, we built it ourselves! 🙂 with guidance and all materials by Vagabond Tours.
Once a boy scout, forever a boy scout! We both love active trips, but he’s the one who’s been tenting in the wild. One of my girlfriends had apparently joked that I’d never survive this trip, but I’m ready to do it again tomorrow!
I’d like to give a shoutout to Vagabond Tours, for arranging trips like this. (Their links is at the end of this post.)
Basically, we built a 2-ton raft and sailed it down the Klareven River in Sweden. 6 days / 100 km.
The first night we camped at the Vagabond outpost and had a little practical info on how to put our raft together, general tips on safety and what to watch out for etc.
The next morning, along with others taking this trip, we bussed up to the spot where we’d build our home for the next 6 days on the water.
The timber was ready for us on the shore of the river. The idea was to roll the logs needed down to the water and then to rope the raft together in the water, because when the raft was built, it would weigh about 2 tons and we wouldn’t be able to shove it out.
Morten didn’t feel it was necessary to roll the logs down the beach but instead wanted to carry each individual one down to the water lol. About ½ way through he must’ve gotten tired and started rolling them.
I learned about all kinds of knots and did my bit tying the raft together.
We took the 100km-in-6-days option. The current would take us gently down the river, but we needed to spend about 10 hours a day floating along in order to make it to the end point in time.
We were told to fasten the raft to the shore at night, tied to at least 2 trees. Most nights we pitched our tent on the shore, but there was a night where we hadn’t found a good place to tie up our raft and it was getting dark reeeeally fast, so we pitched our tent on the raft for the night.
At the start of our trip, there were a couple of things we were told to watch out for, one of them was spots on the river where the current was basically going backwards. We did get stuck in one of these and it took us a while to pry our way out, using a really long stick against the shore.
We also got stuck on a sandbank. The water was shallow, and all of a sudden we ran aground in the middle of the river and Morten had to hop in and use a log to shove us out again.
Night fell very suddenly out there, away from any city lights, and in the dark one evening, we pitched our tent on the side of a cliff. We didn’t realize how steep the drop was till we woke up the next morning and nearly stumbled over the side.
We were promised that the outdoors and fresh air would make us extra hungry, and it did! I was on pancake and food duty :p We had a lot of these American pancake premix bottles with us, as well as a lot of other food. I had ‘forloren skildpadde’ for the first time, (Danish camping food) and Stroh Rum, 80% Vol., both of these I really don’t need to try again! :p But it made all the difference to have warm food when we were cold and it was raining.
After 5 days on the raft, we disassembled it and sent the timber downriver to it’s catch point.
It was about 7pm, when we finished taking the raft apart and loading up the car. But, instead of calling it a day and pitching our tent for one last night we decided to drive the 700 km back home to sleep in our own bed. The other campers who’d taken the trip thought we were crazy!
After a few hours driving in the pitch black we were both falling asleep to the point that we had to stop at a truck stop and get some sleep.
This was definitely a trip to remember! It was exhausting, and peaceful and magical and very hard work. We did joke about ditching the raft and calling a cab to rescue us, buuuut we kept going and had an amazing time.