Last month myself and few other from Kingfisher Canoe Club drove over to Austria for a weeks paddling. Out there we were joined by Seth (who was on a tour of Europe in a transit van) and Doug (who flew in from Sweden).
Anyway, it’s been a few years since I last paddled in Austria and I have to say that I was rather looking forward to it assuming that it would be a little more relaxing than my last foreign paddling trip. That we’d also arrange our trip to coincide with the Landeck Staadfest was an added bonus.
With the drive out of the way we decided to warm up on the Sanna, which rather wonderfully finished right by our campsite*. Either our memories failed us or the days of rain before our arrival had swollen the river to higher than normal levels. This provided an exhilarating run and was great fun. Right up until the point that Dave exited his boat.
Fortunately he made it to the bank quickly so the rest of us proceeded to chase his kit down the river. However when we were reunited it appeared that Dave had bashed his ankle and it had swollen quite badly. Still that didn’t stop him paddling the Inn, Oetz, Rissbach and Loisach over the next few days.
It was three days later that we convinced Dave to visit a hospital to get his ankle checked out. So we abandoned him with Seth in Bavaria and headed off leaving them instructions to give us a call if it was anything serious.
Later that evening whilst sipping a beer and wondering what had happened to Dave and Seth the phone rang.
Next day headed back over the border to see Dave and his broken ankle. The doctors were trying to ease the swelling so that they could insert several metal pins in his leg. It was obvious that he wouldn’t be paddling for a while.
Seeing as we were close by it seemed rude not to have another run down the Loisach. Unlike our first trip down we now knew where the fallen trees where and we discovered what a wonderful run it was. So good in fact we did it again.
Returning to Austria and a little weary of all the driving we opted for a local day and spent it playing on the Wolfs Gorge and the Sanna. Of course that evening was also the main reason we’d come to Austria in the first place, the Landeck Staadfest…
Next morning. Somewhat aching, bruised, blistered and hung-over we dragged our sorry selves out of bed and went to visit Dave. I’m not sure that several sunglass wearing sore looking kayakers really fitted the image of healthiness that the German hospital wanted to portray. Never the less we regaled Dave with tales on beer, music, dancing and stage diving. We managed to get back to the campsite and hop on the Sanna for a late evening run, just so we could say we’d paddled every day!
Our last day of paddling saw us still not quite feeling 100%. After driving up the Oetz valley we decided that we didn’t really fancy the Upper Oetz and so opted for a more leisurely run down the lower section.
And that was it. Broken, ankles, boating and beer. It had been a hectic week and yet despite all this it had been and extremely relaxing trip with some mellow kayaking and great company.
Leaving Dave behind with a promise from his insurance company to fly him home we started the long drive home.
More photos HERE.
* I say campsite, we were actually staying in a luxury ten person chalet. The sleeping arrangements of which consisted of one bunk bed that slept five above and five below…
Simon was accompanied in Austria by Andy, Dave, Fred, Seth and Aquaman.