Filip H.A. Claeys

Trekking in Mountainous and Subarctic Regions


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Iceland 2019: Report

After 6 prior trips to Iceland between ’98 and ’18 (mainly for trekking), I take the rest of the family on a sightseeing and hiking tour of the island around Easter. The trip has a dramatic start, which forces us to throw plans around entirely and opt for an alternative scenario. This alternative however turns out beautifully, and we are able to enjoy an incredible variety of landscapes under good conditions, while the country slowly awakes from the dark and cold winter months.

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LLT: Achouffe

A surprisingly strenuous 16 km hike with the “Lustige Lochtingterters” (LLT) around the village of Achouffe in the Belgian Ardennes. Nice river valleys with plenty of beaver activity and wonderful vistas over the hilly and forested landscape. We see one beaver swimming towards its burrow and later on I also spot a beaver in the thicket. Only of the first sighting I manage to get a (unfortunately very bad) shot.

Quite a chilly day for the end of April, with a high of 8°C and showers of rain and hail.

Pictures > Belgium 2019-04-27: Achouffe

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Packrafting Ourthe Moyenne

A 29.4 km packrafting trip on the middle section of the Ourthe river on a sunny April Sunday, together with Mathias and Dominic.

We paddle from Maboge to Hampteau, passing the lovely town of La-Roche-en-Ardenne with its medieval castle, and then continue on foot to Hotton, as the stretch between Hampteau and Hotton is – surprisingly – not open for paddling.

The river has a good flow and temperature is well above 15°C. We start around 10 am after a small hiccup, and arrive at 3 pm on the dot, while thunder clouds start moving in.

(Durbuy: 13 m3/s)

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Semois: Monthermé

The second day of our weekend takes us to the French part of the Semois region (where the name of the river is spelled as Semoy). We steeply climb up to Longue Roche and enjoy the many viewpoints overlooking the town and its bend in the river Meuse.

In the afternoon we head to the picturesque site of Roc la Tour for a bit of scrambling fun.

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Semois: Rochehaut & Bouillon

After 2 months with mostly below average temperatures spring suddenly arrives in Belgium with temperatures around the 20°C mark. We head over to the Ardennes for the weekend and spend the first day on a 18 km hike through and around the Semois river valley, from the village of Rochehaut to Tombeau du Géant and back.

The warm temperatures are in strange contrast to the trees, which have not sprouted one bit yet and still look the same as in the dead of winter.

We spend the night in the town of Bouillon, close to its citadel. The latter was first mentioned in 988 AD and was once owned by Godfrey of Bouillon, one of the leaders of the First Crusade.

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