Filip H.A. Claeys

Trekking in Mountainous and Subarctic Regions

Packrafting Houille


After a couple of weeks of rather depressing gloomy weather the sun is finally back, but so are the sub-zero temperatures… We however don’t let ourselves be deterred by the latter, and while the thermometer indicates -7°C, our gang of four (Evert, Jelle, Glen and I) prepares to put in at the picturesque village of Vencimont, on the Houille river.

Houille is merely a small river in a forgotten corner of the Belgian Ardennes, but it is rated 3 stars in terms of technical difficulty and “engagement”, and we soon discover why. Indeed, the river twists and turns and we meet one obstacle after the other: rocks, fallen trees, debris and beaver dams. We often manage to get through one way or another, but on a great many occasions portaging is still required.

The scenery is wild and beautiful with practically no habitation and very little infrastructure (to Belgian standards that is). We also meet one artificial dam that is fun to jump, although with care, since made-made structures are known to be more dangerous than others.

After having paddled 12 km we take out somewhere below the village of Felenne. In principle it should be possible to paddle further into France, but since we couldn’t determine a take-out spot in that area, we decide not to take any chances this time.

(Felenne: 2.30 m3/s)

















3 thoughts on “Packrafting Houille

  1. super, zo sportief !!! gelukkig hou jij van koude temperaturen! Ik durf wedden dat je gisteren (zondag) gaan wandelen bent in de sneeuw in de Hoge Venen !

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wel, mijn initiële plan was packrafting zaterdag + bivak + sneeuwwandeling Hoge Venen zondag, maar uiteindelijk was ik zondag niet vrij en het is dus bij packrafting gebleven. Volgend weekend echter nieuwe poging om tot in de Venen te geraken. Hopelijk nog wat sneeuw dan.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Prachtig Filip !
    De wandeling van augustus ziet er veelbelovend uit.
    Keep up the good work !


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