Filip H.A. Claeys

Trekking in Mountainous and Subarctic Regions

Packrafting Aisne

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9 am on a perfectly sunny Saturday morning in the village of Bomal-sur-Ourthe (Belgian Ardennes). Glen, Evert, Jelle and I meet up for what promises to be another fun packrafting experience. During the early morning drive, my car’s thermometer indicated -4.5°C in places, but during the course of the day temperatures are expected to soar to unseasonable heights, in fact we may even see another all-time high for February 16!

We leave Glen’s car behind, load all gear into mine and drive to our put-in location in the tiny village of Fanzel. The plan for today is to descend Aisne (a short but interesting tributary of the river Ourthe) until our take-out spot in Bomal.

The 12.5 km descent of Aisne is classified 3 stars in terms of technical difficulty, but only 1 in terms of engagement. The latter is due to the fact that the river nearly constantly follows (small) roads and passes through several (equally small) villages. Less of a wild atmosphere therefore than e.g. Houille or Ourthe Occidentale, but this is made up for by a multitude of challenging passages and 3 jump-able dams. In fact, the 2nd and 3rd dams are so much fun that we jump them several times…

By 1 am we are already back in Bomal, enjoy the sun for a while (10+°C at this point), and then head back. During the ride home we joke about today’s experiences, e.g. Glen jumping a dam backward with Jelle following bow to tail, or me almost tipping over when hitting a rock sideways unexpectedly…

The smaller and more interesting rivers of the Ardennes are only open for paddling until March 15, so hopefully we will be able to squeeze in at least one more trip similar to today’s before the season ends!

(Erezée: 1.88 m3/s)

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One thought on “Packrafting Aisne

  1. Pingback: Packrafting Aisne | Filip H.A. Claeys

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