Words, drawings and pictures by Jeremie Lamart, better pictures by Jacob Kastrup Haagensen
On a Thursday afternoon in september 2016 I took my car and drove 622 kilometers from Stockholm to Åre on the Norwegian border for a white water festival. Jacob, the Urban Packrafter was there, waiting for me.
What are we talking about here:
- A white water festival hidden in the middle of Sweden (if you have a map, look for “Åre”, it’s there)
- Skilled kayakers baby-sitting packrafters.
- Packrafters trying to follow kayakers.
- Plenty of nice and athletic people and two hoboes.
- Getting lost in the middle of swamps infested with bears, wolves and ferocious moose.
On Swedish roads, everything is done to prevent drivers from speeding and speed limitation is drastic. In other words, driving 600 kilometers takes as much time as watching Titanic three times in a row, pee breaks included. But my hobo-mobile made it easier. Sleeping in the car is a new habit for me, and I like to add some credits to my hobo experience. So I slept on the way to Åre and picked up Jacob at the train station first thing in the morning and we went to the event which was called Forstfest, “fors” meaning “rapids” in swedish .
Located in Jämtland, Åre is probably the white water capital of Sweden with dozens of creeks and rivers within a few hours drive.
We drove 1.5 hours on sketchy gravel roads to reach this creek. It was mental because I had been behind the wheel already for about 3 hours. But it was worth it.
The river was really cool, it was only a second descend for kayakers so I guess we can say pretty safely that it was a packrafting first descent.
We paddled a class III / IV section with big drops, big waves, big bear droppings on the shore and big swims for us, packrafters. It was very interesting to pair with kayakers and learn from their safety routines. We paddled and swam all the rapids.
I won’t write more about this trip because it was very short and there’s not much more to say. Let’s look at some pictures instead:
Oh! Did I mention that we got lost after we finished the river? Somehow we found ourselves isolated from the group and tried to find the road for two hours. Everyone was looking for us. I guess they will remember the “packrafting guys” as they called us!
I want to thank Lars Larsson who organized this event.
Thanks for reading!
Disclaimer: If you are a skateboarder, then you should have recognized the Creature Skateboard logo in this post. Wrong! the letters are different: it says “carnage”, not “creature”! (ok I totally copied it, but I like this company a lot, I even have a board from them!)