Filip H.A. Claeys

Trekking in Mountainous and Subarctic Regions

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France 2017: Hiking Basses Gorges du Verdon

In July we spent our family holidays in the vicinity of the lower gorge of the Verdon river. Next to packrafting and canoeing the very scenic gorge, I also made an easy solo hiking trip, more or less following the abandoned drinking water canal that runs parallel to the river.

The trail involves stairs, ladders, sections that are cut out of the rock, and tunnels. Striking are the contrasts between the arid plateau above the gorge, and the lush vegetation (mostly mosses) in the Sainte-Maxime ravine.












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Another glorious Easter skiing holiday

A late season skiing holiday in the French Alps always gives a good chance of fabulous weather, pleasant temperatures, and strong contrasts between early summer conditions at lower elevations and good ski fun higher up the mountains. This is exactly what we encountered during our family holiday mid-April in La Plagne: sunny weather all week long, mild temperatures, and skiing from the glacier at 3170 m down to 1350 m.

Pictures > France 2017-04: La Plagne

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LLT: 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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Where Semois becomes Semoy

A short 2.5 day – 45 km solo trek through the French Ardennes early May, along GR16 from Monthermé (F) to Bohan (B) and back.

Weather was splendid and the Semois river (spelled “Semoy” in France) was a sight for sore eyes. For the first time in my life I had the pleasure of spotting a wildcat, which shows how surprisingly quiet and unspoiled this area is.

Monthermé – Longue Roche – Roche à 7 Heures – Roc La Tour – Roche aux Corpias – Naux – Robertsart – Failloué – Bois Jean – Bohan – Bois Jean – Failloué – Robertsart – Naux – La Gire – La Lyre – Monthermé

Pictures > France 2016-05: Ardennes