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2011.10.21 - John

A river in Slovakia that flows into the Danube provides you a great opportunity to paddle!Grab this opportuniy even on the late days of autumn to enjoy amazing colours of the nature!

River Garam has its rise in the Low Tatras of Slovakia and flows down 289 kilometres in the country until it reaches the Danube and the Slovakian Hungarian border. Garam is a fast-flowing river with some white water characteristics at the upper side, that is utilised by the rafters. Down at the border it changes its qualities becoming a rather calm and safe river, but with some short and fast drops, that can be managed by canoe or kayak if the water level is proper. Be careful under 1 meter it is adviseable to go by kayak. If there is a flood period the river can be dangerous so always check the current water level before you set off.
This trip is a one day one, with 32 kilometres to paddle on the rivers. As both are quite fast we could manage the trip in six and a half hours with four stops, so even a bigger number of people can do it in one day.
Anyone who said that tripping is possible depending on your equipment and outfit had a point. As we were doing our trip at the end of October we tried to prepare ourselves with enough hot and water resistant stuff that finally didn't prove to be enough. Though this was not only our fault, as the guy we rented our kayaks forgot to mention that he didn't really have spraydecks to the ships. "We are only prepared for summer conditions". What we really missed mostly because of this were the neopren clothes that would have kept us warm at the end of the day, when we were a bit wet as the Danube was quite windy, and with the effort we had to make our paddling technique simply seemed to have disappear:)
So the trip started at the Slovakian village of Cata, where we were still looking at the early morning white frost shining on the trees and the grass. We put on all the clothes we could, including some cotton gloves which proved to be a very bad decision becoming extremely wet after an hour of paddle.
The good thing about renting kayaks and not having your own is the fact that you can test a lot different types in a lot of different circumstances. These kayaks (Dag Tiwok) were completely unknown for us, and after initial misunderstanings we quickly got on well with each other. The ships proved to be fast, comfortable and easy to lift and pack. The only backdraw was that the heading of the kayak wasn't really perfect, correction was more commonly necessary than with other types. Its hatches didn't really closed as they were supposed to be, though this time for one day we didn't really needed them anyway.
Water level was very low but fast at the same time, so we didn't have problems with moving forward.After learning the balance conditions of the kayaks we soon enjoyed the variety of speed and slowdown on the river.
There are only a few points where you have to think whether to lift the ships or not, but at high water level probably there is no need for it at all.
After ten o'clock the sun was shining immovably so we felt much warmer. We had one of those crystal clear, cool and shiny autumn days when you could sit and enjoy the colours for hours. And that is what we did during the trip.
Arriving to the Danube was another great flash as the whole of the Danube bend was dressed into yellow. The mixture of the blue river and sky, the light-brown sandpads, the black and grey stones and the green forests created an eye-catching view. We paddled down the Danube around 11 kilometres arriving to Szob to the end of our trip.
Don't miss any opportunities to paddle the autumn river if you are a water enthusiast!

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