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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The Scandinavia 2016 trilogy

The full reports of the 3 stretches of my Scandinavia trek in June 2016 have been uploaded:

I have started to use a stylish, more contemporary layout that I’m personally quite happy about, as it makes both pictures and text stand out better. The plan is to gradually move reports from previous treks into this new format as well. Let me know what you think.





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Packrafting Lac de Nisramont – bis

After witnessing the build up to the fall foliage peak in Quebec last month, I am now back in Belgium, experiencing the same process for a second time this year.

What better way to enjoy the best of the colors than to make a tour of the lovely Nisramont Lake by packraft, on a beautiful mid-October Sunday?

Pictures > Belgium 2016-10-16: Ardennes


Quebec 2016: La Mauricie – bis

The third and last day of the beautiful Labour Day weekend takes me and my packraft back to La Mauricie national park, where at higher elevations the first signs of autumn foliage are starting to appear. This time I leave the beaten path and do a tour that day-trippers normally won’t do as it involves several portages.

I start with a 500 m portage from the parking to Soumire Lake. On the other side of the lake is another 500 m portage to Giron Lake. Once across this lake there is a 1 km portage to the small Dubon lake, followed by a 500 m portage to Dauphinais Lake. I have lunch at the other side of Dauphinais Lake, do a bit of swimming and then return the same way to the parking.

As expected, I do not meet any day-trippers on this tour, only a number of canoeing parties that have spent the weekend camping on one of the primitive back-country camp sites around des Cinq Lake, and are on their way back to civilization.

On this trip I strap my backpack to my packraft in such a way that by putting on the backpack without detaching it from the raft, I can easily carry the raft entirely inflated. It is clear that this way I have a major advantage over the canoers, who have a hard time carrying their stuff over the slippery, stony and steep paths. Overall, I am able to proceed almost twice as fast as the canoers. They have the advantage on the open waters, while I have much more of an advantage during portages.

Pictures > Quebec 2016-09-05: La Mauricie