Filip H.A. Claeys

Trekking in Mountainous and Subarctic Regions


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Packrafting the Dommel on August’s Last

Last day of August and temperatures are again soaring to unexpected heights. I manage to convince Evert and Glen to join me on another trip on and along the Dommel river: i.c. the classical descent from Neerpelt (B) to the Venberg water mill (NL), followed by a return hike through the woods, heath and wetlands of the Malpie, Plateaux and Hageven nature reserves.

The entire trip is a bit over 30 km and takes us approximately 7.5 hours to complete, including a one hour lunch break. Even though the summer has been warm and dry, the water of the river is surprisingly clear and cool, and the flow is quite good.

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Packrafting Oude Leie

An after-work evening paddle with Evert and – partly – Jelke on an old branch of the river Leie in Astene. We put in around 6 pm, have a relaxed paddle and swim, and put out just after sunset at 9 pm. We much enjoy the laid back atmosphere and the fairly unusual warm late summer weather.

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Flemish Ardennes: Kartuizer route

An easy 14 km hike on Assumption Day along the Kartuizer route in the Flemish Ardennes. The trail passes through a typical hilly pastoral landscape as well as interesting villages such as Hemelveerdegem (picturesque village square) and Sint-Martens-Lierde (partially preserved historic Carthusian priory).

The weather is rather chilly for the time of year. Clouds move fast, but at least it doesn’t rain…

Pictures > Belgium 2019-08-15: Kartuizer route

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A Brussels Waste Bag in Jämtland

In the southwest corner of the very sparsely populated Swedish province of Jämtland lies a remote farm by the name of Käringsjön. This farm is the gateway to a complex lake system, and at the heart of the lake system is a wind shelter that can only be reached by boat. Just like anywhere else the idea is that everything that is packed into a place like this, is also packed out, especially garbage.

During my recent visit to the Käringsjön wind shelter I notice a waste bag attached to the shelter’s wall. This is surprising by itself, but what is even more surprising is that the bag appears to be an official waste bag of the community of Brussels, Belgium. Apparently some fellow country men or women considered it appropriate to just dump their waste instead of packing it out as everyone else does. What were they thinking? That a Brussels garbage truck is going to pass by to collect their junk? Really despicable behavior…

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Scandinavia 2019: Videos

Footage of some highlights of this year’s 8 day, 140 km solo hiking and packrafting trip through the Långfjället, Rogen and Femundsmarka wilderness areas in the Swedish & Norwegian borderlands.

The first video covers about 2.5 days of the Swedish part of the trip. In order to give a feel of the serene atmosphere and solitude of the trip, I deliberately kept the original sound and did not overlay it with music.

The second video was taken during a paddle under windless conditions at 10:30 pm on remote lake Krokathåen, in Norway’s Femundsmarka NP:

Bear in mind that on a trip such as this, I unfortunately never give a lot of priority to shooting video footage, since there is also nagivation, taking pictures, paddling and hiking to be taken care of… The videos are therefore not a comprehensive nor accurate representation.


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Packrafting the Ghent Waterways

An after-work evening paddle with Glen and Evert through the historic center of the city of Ghent.

We put in at Korenlei, first paddle back and forth to Rabot, and then make a counterclockwise circumvention of the heart of the city. We pass through the vaults below Laurent square, descend the slide at the Scaldis locks and regain the 1.20 m height difference by portaging the St-Joris locks. Sun sets and the nicely lit historic buildings add an extra dimension to the trip…

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