Filip H.A. Claeys

Trekking in Mountainous and Subarctic Regions


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High Fens: First Snows

After a few dustings in November, the first real snows arrive beginning of December on the high plateaus in the east of Belgium.

I make a 25 km solo hike on a day with non-abating light snowfall and pretty pitiful conditions for photography due to the lack of light.

Baraque Michel – Bouquet Bastin – Noir Flohai – Geitzbusch – Petit Bongard – Herzogenhügel – La Béole – Haie de Souk – Botrange – Neûr Lowé – Béleu – Fagne de Polleur – Baraque Michel

Pictures > Belgium 2017-12-03: High Fens

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LLT: Jodoigne

After a windy and rainy episode I make a 20.5 km hike with the gang of the “Lustige Lochtingterters” through the slightly hilly pastoral landscape in the vicinity of Jodoigne / Geldenaken, crossing the language border on a number of occasions. Trails are seriously muddy, but apart from the odd shower towards the end of the day, weather holds up pretty nicely.

Pictures > Belgium 2017-11-25: Jodoigne

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Flemish Ardennes: Hotondberg & Kluisberg

Autumn has one more gorgeous day in store before a depression arrives that blows away the last of the foliage.

I make a 21 km hike through the woods and hills of the Flemish Ardennes from Hotondberg (145 m) to Kluisberg (141 m) and back, passing through Kwaremont and the outskirts of Ronse.

Pictures > Belgium 2017-11-22: Hotondberg & Kluisberg

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Scandinavia 2016: Turku Archipelago

When taking a westbound night ferry from Turku (Finland) to Stockholm (Sweden) one has the chance – under good conditions – to enjoy the scenery of the Turku Archipelago. By some definitions this archipelago is the largest in the world by the number of islands.

While taking the Turku-Stockholm ferry in July 2016 we were lucky to experience marvelous conditions: little wind, excellent visibility and a mesmerizing display of color during sunset.

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Scandinavia 2016: Stockholm Archipelago

The ferry from Stockholm (Sweden) to Turku (Finland) passes through no less than 3 archipelagos, each of which consist of thousands of islands and skerries. When taking a night ferry eastbound, one first sails through the Stockholm Archipelago for hours until the sun sets. In the middle of the night the Åland Archipelago is reached (Swedish-speaking, but Finnish territory), and by early morning one enters the Turku Archipelago.

Below are some pictures from our journey through the Stockholm Archipelago in July 2016. Weather was excellent and I hence stayed on the upper deck enjoying the spectacle until the sun disappeared below the horizon.

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Scandinavia 2016: Nacka Reserve

During our visit to Stockholm in July 2016 we stayed in an apartment located in a part of town that is known as Hammarby Sjöstad. A short walk from the apartment are the Sickla lake and the Nacka nature reserve.

While the rest of the family was spending the day swimming in Lake Sickla, I made an easy hike through the neighboring Nacka nature reserve. Nacka is quite scenic and offers a refuge for animals such as beavers and reptiles, just a stone’s throw from the bustling heart of the city.

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Scandinavia 2016: Lake Vättern

Lake Vättern is Sweden’s second largest lake and has a surface area of almost 2000 km2. It’s as deep as 120 m in places and its waters are crystal clear.

In July 2016 we camped close to the eastern shore of the lake and in the evening were able to enjoy a colorful sunset over the magically still lake. The next day the weather was perfectly sunny and warm, and we hence took a dive into the frigid waters of one of the lake’s many secluded coves.

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