Filip H.A. Claeys

Trekking in Mountainous and Subarctic Regions


Leave a comment

LLT: Ename

A very unseasonably warm and sunny 17 km hike with the “Lustige Lochtingterters” (LLT) around Ename, at the foot of the Flemish Ardennes. Quite a bit of variety on the itinerary: woods, hills, the valley of the river Scheldt, and the early-medieval church and abbey ruins of Ename.

Pictures > Belgium 2019-02-23: Ename

DSC_0691

DSC_0701

DSC_0717

DSC_0749

DSC_0759

DSC_0772

DSC_0806

DSC_0808

DSC_0833

DSC_0858

DSC_0900

DSC_0902

DSC_0904

DSC_0922

DSC_0926

DSC_0937

DSC_0944

DSC_0952

DSC_0954

DSC_0983

DSC_0988

DSC_0993

DSC_0999

DSC_1001

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Packrafting Aisne

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)

20190216_083030492_iOS

20190216_083034663_iOS

DCIM100GOPROGOPR1709.JPG

DCIM100GOPROGOPR1710.JPG

DCIM100GOPROGOPR1713.JPG

DCIM100GOPROGOPR1755.JPG

DCIM100GOPROGOPR1756.JPG

DCIM100GOPROGOPR1762.JPG

DCIM100GOPROGOPR1764.JPG

DCIM100GOPROGOPR1768.JPG

DCIM100GOPROGOPR1774.JPG

DCIM100GOPROG0041810.JPG

DCIM100GOPROG0041811.JPG

DCIM100GOPROG0041812.JPG

DCIM100GOPROG0041813.JPG

DCIM100GOPROGOPR1823.JPG

DCIM100GOPROGOPR1826.JPG

DCIM100GOPROGOPR1831.JPG

DCIM100GOPROGOPR1843.JPG


Leave a comment

High Fens: Snowshoeing + Bivouacking

The highest spots in Belgium are to be found on the plateau of the High Fens, in the very east of the country. The region lies between Ardennes and Eifel and consists mainly of raised bogs, low grass- or wood-covered hills, moorland and forest. The highest point is Signal de Botrange, at a very modest 694 m. Despite its relatively low altitude, the area catches and retains quite a bit of moisture, which gives rise to temperatures that are lower than anywhere else in the country, by a substantial margin.

In winter there is often a quick succession of colder and warmer periods, and during cold snaps a snow cover of 20-50 cm (or more) can quickly, but temporarily, build up. During one of these cold snaps I spend a weekend snowshoeing and bivouacking the area around Baraque Michel. Temperatures are fairly steady between -4°C and -1°C, and snow lies 30-40 cm thick. The first day is rather bleak and foggy, but on the second day the sun gradually comes out and unveils a fairy-tale winter landscape!

Report > Belgium 2019: High Fens

DSC_0238

DSC_0262

DSC_0255

DSC_0448

DSC_0457

DSC_0471

DSC_0478

DSC_0531

DSC_0532

DSC_0556

DSC_0567

DSC_0574

DSC_0578

DSC_0596

DSC_0600

DSC_0602

DSC_0631

DSC_0661


1 Comment

LLT: Moerbeke

A 18 km hike with the “Lustige Lochtingterters” (LLT) through the “Heidebos” nature reserve nearby the Flemish village of Moerbeke-Waas. “Heidebos” is made up of a mixture of pine and deciduous forest, and open spaces with grass and heath.

The day has a frosty start, but is perfectly sunny and generally pleasant, especially at locations that are sheltered from the bitterly cold northeasterly wind.

Pictures > Belgium 2018-02-24: Moerbeke

DSC_0449

DSC_0455

DSC_0468

DSC_0470

DSC_0487

DSC_0509

DSC_0511

DSC_0523