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.






No trips!








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Packrafting Haute Lesse

No freezing temperatures this time when Evert, Jelle, Glen and I meet up in the village of Chanly for another packraft adventure. The weather is cloudy, with a number of short clear spells, and temperature is expected to rise to a good 8°C during the course of the day. On the agenda for the day is a descent of the stretch of the Haute Lesse between Pont des Barbouillons (Daverdisse) and Chanly.

Most of the smaller and more adventurous river stretches in the Ardennes offer similar elements: relatively fast flowing water, small rapids, fallen trees, rocks below the waterline, weirs and dams. What keeps it interesting though is that the exact mix of these elements is different for each river, and as in addition water levels tend to differ, one does get a variety of experiences.

Since we have just witnessed an unusual stretch of 18 days without precipitation, water level is quite low when we put in at the Barbouillons bridge. The ride is therefore a bit bumpy in places. At some locations the river temporarily splits in two branches, and choosing the most appropriate is not always straightforward. At one particular location we get stuck due to a beaver dam, and have to portage to the other branch. At another location a fallen tree blocks passage, and also here portaging is required.

We encounter two weirs on our trajectory. The first can easily be bypassed via a river branch that runs to the right of it. We however do make a stop to give Glen and Evert the opportunity to yet again showcase the effectiveness of their dry suits by making a couple of jumps into a small artificial waterfall. At the second weir (at a sawmill just before our take-out location), we have to portage since there are reports of pieces of iron sticking out of the concrete bedding, which could evidently damage our packrafts.

After 3 hours of paddling (including two fairly long breaks) we reach our take-out point in Chanly. The descent has been quite enjoyable, with a good mix of forests at first, and open pastures further down.

(Daverdisse: 5.8 m3/s)