We were really supposed to have left on a Thursday, but with the prospect of extended flooding due to heavy rainfall, we chose to wait out the weather. Then came Friday 22 July and the unfathomable events: The bombing of the government quarter in Oslo and the subsequent massacre of youths on Utøya. It was impossible to leave. We did not leave until Sunday afternoon.
In some ways, it didn’t feel right to go off, to flee away. At the same time, it was good to be together and focus on something positive, almost a relief. Though the tragedy was difficult to comprehend for adults, it was almost impossible for the children.
It is a short train ride from Kongsberg to Drangedal. Nevertheless, the landscape changed a fair bit, and in Gautefall we were met by a fascinating landscape with large, smooth rock faces, open airy pine forests and small glittering ponds and lakes.
The morning after, we inflated our Denali Llamas, packrafts from Alpacka Raft. With a weight of about five pounds, they where ideal vessels for our impending “water skipping” – paddle from lake to lake with short but frequent portages in between.
The girls enjoyed to be captains of their own ship. All in all, we had a total of six days of quiet paddling, swimming, fishing and relaxation. The highlight was Hanetarmane, the little series of elongated ponds that meanders over a mile and a half in the middle of the beautiful area, like a string of pearls connected by the little creek. The landscape was open and bright, with large areas covered with polished rock surrounded by open pine forests. And as Siri said:
– I could live here. Mum [being a nurse] could look after us if we were sick or wounded, and dad could be our teacher.