Filip H.A. Claeys

Trekking in Mountainous and Subarctic Regions


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Packrafting 2019: Videos

Here’s an overview of all the packrafting videos that I produced in 2019.

It turns out that I did at least one trip every single month of the year, except for the month of May, for some unclear reason.

In addition to the trips below, I also paddled the river Leie in August and the river IJzer in December, but of these trips I do not have video footage.

January

February

March

April

May

No trips!

June

July

August

September

October

November

December


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High Fens: Statte, Polleur and Hoëgne

A 32.1 km solo day hike up and down the slightly frosty, but entirely snow-free, High Fens. I start in Solwaster at 9 am and return at 5 pm, yielding a fine 4 km/h average hiking speed, taking into account a break for lunch and many photo stops.

Solwaster – Rocher de Bilisse – Rau de Statte – Wihonfagne – Baraque Michel – Bouquet Bastin – Botrange – Fagne de Polleur – Rau de Polleur – Hoëgne – Parfondsbois – Solwaster

Pictures > Belgium 2019-12-29: High Fens

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Packrafting Houille

Another murky but luckily mostly dry December day when Evert, Jelle and I put in at Vencimont for a descent of the river Houille. Back in January we did the same descent, but took out somewhere below Felenne, before entering into France. This time we intend to continue across the border, to a location downstream of the village of Landrichamps, where we have our second car parked.

Temperature is around 6°C and after several recent rainy episodes the flow of the river is just below the allowed maximum. The descent is therefore fast and exciting, and several portages are required due to fallen trees and beaver dams. Generally, concentration needs to remain high due to tree branches, rapids, low bridges (I even take a swim at one of these), and small dams.

One location at a meadow just before entering Landrichamps is particularly dangerous, as there is barb wire across the entire river bed. Luckily red & white tape has been stuck it, so it is not entirely invisible. The situation nonetheless is rather unacceptable.

After slightly more than 4 hours and 18.5 km of paddling, we arrive at the take-out. Tired, but content.

(Felenne: 7.87 m3/s)

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Packrafting IJzer

A 20 km solo trip on a pretty murky but nevertheless dry December Saturday.

I put in at 9:30 am in Roesbrugge and paddle the river IJzer upstream towards the French border. The river soon narrows, and I spot several bird species such as common cormorant, kingfisher and coot. I meet an obstruction consisting of tree logs, plant residues and – unfortunately – plastic junk, but manage to get through.

I enter into France, meet another manageable obstruction and notice that the counter current substantially increases. I arrive at the bridge under the D947 departmental road, and – contrary to what is mentioned in online reports – do manage to continue. Eventually I however meet another obstruction just before the confluence with Ruisseau d’Houtkerque, decide not to conquer it, and head back.

The downstream paddle back to Roesbrugge is quite a bit less strenuous and quite a bit faster than the upstream paddle. I get back at 12:30 pm, decide not to take a rest, and just continue to Stavele. The river is wider now, but still scenic.

I arrive at the drawbridge in Stavele, and although in principle I still would have time to continue to Elzendamme or even Fintele, I take out since a nasty wind starts blowing. I have lunch, and hike back to Roesbrugge where I arrive at 3:15 pm.

Unfortunately: forgot to take my head strap, so no PoV GoPro footage, only low quality cell phone shots…

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