We took off in search of our own secret journey, scouting the backroads and trails for a drop site to begin the next leg of our paddling tour.
We found a few spots above our destination in lake Vättern, but they proved too high to climb for with our heavy lake kayaks. But, a wrong turn down what looked a private drive, turned out to be a hidden entrance to the shoreline!
We parked our Jeep near another ruin that was not on the historic sites map. (hmnn..)
What a find! (if you are planning a visit – message me and I can give you an idea where it is).
Finding the perfect launch is an exciting part of the journey. We eagerly slipped our boats into the breezy lake, looking to our left at the nearby harbour. We quickly realized that this part of Vättern was special. There is a mysterious feeling here, as if we were uncovering secrets for the first time on this non-touristy reconnoitre.
The cliffs were sharp, being carved by the glaciers long ago. We paddled by that charming gazebo at Ellen Keys Strand during our huik. We looked at each other and smiled. Not everyone can follow this wanderlust as we do. We are grateful for the opportunities our home turf allows.
We paddled for 20 minutes or so and I was beginning to wonder if the caves here were too hidden or was the stuff of legends. They recommended that we look further up around a corner and they seemed excited.
Sure enough, just nearby we came to an opening. Funny though – it takes a stubborn ambition to seek these out. My guy paddled right by, but I just had to stick my nose in. Low and behold..a magical cove!
So, this was Rödgavels Grotto. I felt it pulling me in with curiosity. I have never seen a cave in person before.
We tried to film, but due to the echo, absence of light, and a flashlight that decided not to work, we were not able to edit the film enough to post.
We are still beginners at using the action camera, so hopefully we do better on our next attempt. Fortunately, we were gifted a wonderful underwater camera from our friends as a wedding gift. I definitely made use of it!
Being inside this cave is magical – since the sun was strong and there was a light wind, the waves lapped softly at the rock walls. The colors were magnificent as they reflected off the water’s surface.
Legend has it that the Queen Omma can be heard crying here, for her giant who plummeted into the lake when his horse stepped through the cliff, causing this cave. The actual hole through the rocks is about 23 meters long with about 1.2 meters of headroom.
Paddling till exhaustion, exploring each promising nook with wonder, we took pictures in every setting possible. There were many small caves, but only a few were large enough to paddle into – believe me, we tried!
A large metal crane appeared on the cliff ahead and we knew we had made it to Stocklycke. This is the port where we parked our car above earlier, searching for an entry point. The old foresters would load their cargo here onto the vessels below for transport to industry across the lake.
From the water, the view of the lower cove was every swimmer’s dream – crevices and rocks to dive from and sunbathe on. Not to mention the breathtaking, clear blue water, that sparkled in the sunlight.
We rested on a small beach, taking a swim and short fika, fueling up on granola bars and vitamin water.
I finally saw a frog in Sweden! Strange, but they hide well. This one behaved as if he thought he was invisible.
I have to say – this tour of Vättern’s extended beauty did not fail us. It was one of our favorite excursions so far. A few other people showed up when we were filming in the cave and they crowded us a bit, but they were as anxious as I was to see it. I wish they had been more patient, but that’s my only complaint. I recalled a moment from the movie, The Beach that reminded me that we all share this planet and it’s beauty.
We managed to find our way back to our private beach and I sat there looking back, mindfull of the amazing trip we just experienced.
So, as usual – if you decide to take this tour,here are some tips:
1. Check the weather first
2. Come early to beat the possible groups that might be touring.
3. Repect nature – leave no footprint.
4. Keep the peace – silence is golden.
5. Carry out what you carried in!
See you soon! Please comment on what you like and don’t so I can create a better experience for next time. I imagine you are all with me on my adventures!