Filip H.A. Claeys

Trekking in Mountainous and Subarctic Regions


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Norway 2017: Femundsmarka

The pictures and full report of last month’s 5 day – 125 km solo trek through Femundsmarka (and a bit of Rogen, on the Swedish side of the border) have been uploaded:

Unfortunately, the trip was cut short since I had to return home unexpectedly halfway through. Nonetheless, this was yet another fine adventure blessed with reasonable weather conditions (contrary to the foul weather further west, that I was luckily able to avoid).

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Packrafting the Grøtåa river (Part 2/2)

Towards the end of my 5 day – 125 km solo trek through Femundsmarka I returned to the Grøtåa river for some relaxed paddling on its lower section. In the meantime the weather had turned for the better and I much enjoyed both the river and the camp I had established in the vicinity of mount Kratlvola. Fine weather and low winds unfortunately also mean mosquitoes in these areas, so a headnet was unfortunately in order.

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Packrafting the Grøtåa river (Part 1/2)

Grøtåa is a small, remote river in the backcountry of Norway’s Femundsmarka National Park, practically on the border to Sweden. The 3rd week of June I did a 5 day – 125 km solo trek through Femundsmarka, during which I descended parts of Grøtåa by packraft.

The source of Grøtåa is the Grötvallsjön lake, which is situated on Swedish soil, above the tree line. The river starts as a narrow and shallow current that meanders through reindeer grazing grounds and marshland. Afterwards it makes a drop and enters the Femundsmarka heartland with several nice flat and wide sections.

I started the descent of Grøtåa only meters away from its source. Due to the narrow and shallow first section of the river, I was initially in for a bumpy ride, with a need for short portages every now and then. Especially at the fence that keeps the Norwegian and Swedish reindeer herds apart, portaging was inevitable. Although without danger, I guess some might say packrafting this part of the river is a bit crazy, and I therefore wouldn’t be surprised if I were the first to attempt it…

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Bois de Wallers

In the center of the densely populated and heavily industrialized north of France are the woods of Wallers-Arenberg. These woods are best known for a horrible stretch of cobble stones that leads through them, and is often the place where the cycling classic of Paris-Roubaix is decided.

Although April is nearing its end, weather unfortunately seems to have taken a turn for the worst, and it is therefore a rather dull and chilly day when I join the Lustige Lochtingterters on a 25 km hike through the area.

Pictures > France 2017-04-22: Bois de Wallers


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Lacs de l’Eau d’Heure

The Eau d’Heure lake system sits on the border between the Belgian provinces of Hainaut and Namur, and is the result of damming the little river by the same name.

Now that spring has officially arrived, I decide to join the Lustige Lochtingterters on a 18 km circumvention of the largest lake in the system. The weather is brilliantly sunny, and the lake’s deep blue to turquoise waters induce visions of Scandinavia and far-away tropical destinations …

Pictures > Belgium 2017-03-25: Lacs de l’Eau d’Heure