Exploring a 30km beaver creek on an air mattress

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Trip stories

Approximately three kilometers inland from the coastal town of Holmestrand in southern Norway, you will find a small beaver infested creek running 30 kilometers south to Tønsberg. Along the way the creek joins forces with Storelva and Aulieelva before entering the Tønsberg Fjord.

Come along to the jungle of southern Norway, to a muddy little creek where the beavers rule and where Håkon and I obviously are in the wrong spot.

Håkon feeling confident outside the rural area of Skjeggestad. However, we had to abandon the river after just 10 meters due to impenetrable vegetation and low water levels.

Håkon feeling confident outside the rural area of Skjeggestad. However, we had to abandon the river after just 10 meters due to impenetrable vegetation and low water levels.

Walking along a small road for a few kilometers in the countryside with wetsuits, PFDs and airbeds.

Walking along a small road for a few kilometers in the countryside with wetsuits, PFDs and airbeds.

Lunchtime in Sørby, where we decided to put in on the river again.

Lunchtime in Sørby, where we decided to put in on the river again.

After a brilliant start with a few hundred meters of paddling, the water level decreased and we had to plunge into the river and walk.

After a brilliant start with a few hundred meters of paddling, the water level decreased and we had to plunge into the river and walk.

Even if the river was running dry, the scenery was spectacular along the banks with lush vegetation due to the nutrient rich soil and clay.

Even if the river was running dry, the scenery was spectacular along the banks with lush vegetation due to the nutrient rich soil and clay.

Ah, did I mention the clay and the mud?

Ah, did I mention the clay and the mud?

The narrow river valley was a haven for mosses and ferns.

The narrow river valley was a haven for mosses and ferns.

We had mixed feelings about the presence of beavers – their dams raised the water level, allowing us to paddle, but also made the river impassable in places.

We had mixed feelings about the presence of beavers – their dams raised the water level, allowing us to paddle, but also made the river impassable in places.

Håkon sporting the airbed pose in the early morning.

Håkon sporting the airbed pose in the early morning.

We decided to take to the roads so we would stand a chance of reaching Tønsberg in the evening.

We decided to take to the roads so we would stand a chance of reaching Tønsberg in the evening.

We put in one kilometer north of Storelva and quickly the river turned into a mess.

We put in one kilometer north of Storelva and quickly the river turned into a mess.

And it got even worse.

And it got even worse.

Then, finally, we reached Storelva and could start on the final ten kilometers or so to Tønsberg.

Then, finally, we reached Storelva and could start on the final ten kilometers or so to Tønsberg.

Did we regret not bringing any hand paddles?

Did we regret not bringing any hand paddles?

Even Storelva had a couple of surprises up its sleeve.

Even Storelva had a couple of surprises up its sleeve.

Hypothermic and miserable, we stuff ourselves with nuts, chocolate and coffee.

Hypothermic and miserable, we stuff ourselves with nuts, chocolate and coffee.

Approaching the marina in Tønsberg.

Approaching the marina in Tønsberg.

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Outdoor magazine writer, author and photographer with a soft spot for biking and paddling.

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