Filip H.A. Claeys

Trekking in Mountainous and Subarctic Regions

Packrafting the Dommel on All Saints Day

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The Dommel is a small river that has its source in Belgium and flows into the river Meuse in the Netherlands. The section between Neerpelt (B) and Valkenswaard (NL) meanders nicely through a largely untouched landscape and is therefore popular for canoeing during the summer season.

As the weather on All Saints Day is forecast to be quite pleasant, I decide to descend the Dommel by packraft, from the outskirts of Neerpelt to the Venberg water mill south of Valkenswaard.

I start packrafting just before 10 am and after having arrived at the water mill, swiftly head back on foot in order to make it back before dark. The return hike is quite enjoyable as I pass through 3 nature reserves: Malpie, Plateaux and Hageven. I eventually get back well before dark at 4:30 pm, with 30+ km of distance covered, packrafting and hiking combined.

The weather is indeed as pleasant as expected as it gradually becomes sunny and warm after a cloudy start. I do not meet anyone during the entire river descent, and also during the return hike things are generally very quiet.

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