Filip H.A. Claeys

Trekking in Mountainous and Subarctic Regions


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High Fens: Getzbach & Hill

A 16.5 km family hike around Haus Ternell in the German-speaking part of the High Fens, mostly along the Getzbach and Hill creeks. A slightly chilly and frosty start of the day, but nice and warm for the time of year in the afternoon.

Ternell – Getzbach – Rotenbüchel – Hohes Venn – Getzbach – Wesertalsperre – N67 – Hill – Ternell

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High Fens: Breaking Trails

December is well on its way to become one of the murkiest on record. It is therefore no surprise that during another 20+ km solo hike across the High Fens conditions are extremely eerie: all is silent and white, and there is hardly a person to be seen. I have to do a substantial amount of trail breaking, but manage relatively easily without snowshoes as there is only up to 25 cm of snow.

Baraque Michel – Noir Flohai – Geitzbusch – Petit Bongard – Helle – Herzogenhügel – Spohrbach – Miesbach – Cléfaye – Pont Marie-Anne Libert – Baraque Michel

Pictures > Belgium 2017-12-17: High Fens

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High Fens: First Snows

After a few dustings in November, the first real snows arrive beginning of December on the high plateaus in the east of Belgium.

I make a 25 km solo hike on a day with non-abating light snowfall and pretty pitiful conditions for photography due to the lack of light.

Baraque Michel – Bouquet Bastin – Noir Flohai – Geitzbusch – Petit Bongard – Herzogenhügel – La Béole – Haie de Souk – Botrange – Neûr Lowé – Béleu – Fagne de Polleur – Baraque Michel

Pictures > Belgium 2017-12-03: High Fens

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High Fens: Soaking up the sun

Last Sunday I again spent the entire day on the High Fens, from the crack of dawn until sunset. In contrast to last week, the weather was brilliantly sunny, and hiking went like a breeze since snow had nicely settled in the meantime. I walked around 30 km and to my surprise only met very few other hikers, except for the area around Baraque Michel, which is inevitably always quite crowded.

Due to a rather extreme case of temperature inversion, it was only -6°C on the highest summits in the morning, while at the same time in sheltered valleys merely 100 m lower (e.g. Helle) temperature dropped below -17°C.

Baraque Michel – Noir Flohai – Geitzbusch – Petit Bongard – Helle – Herzogenhügel – Spohrbach – Brackvenn – Spohrbach – Herzogenhügel – Helle – Pont Marie-Anne Libert – Noir Flohai – Baraque Michel

Pictures > Belgium 2017-01-22: High Fens

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A rough and tough snow slog

Ever wondered about good ways to test physical fitness? Well, here’s an idea: consider a 20 km snowshoe slog through half a meter of freshly fallen snow … That’s what I did on Sunday on the high plateaus in the east of the country, and it was seriously tough.

I started my ordeal at Mont Rigi and plodded along the Polleur, Bayehon and Ghaster creeks. Especially the trail along the latter was virtually impossible, and at a certain point I had to give up by steeply climbing out of the valley towards a track in a more reasonable condition.

The weather was pretty murky with a couple of snow showers. Not overly cold though.

Mont Rigi – Polleur – Setai – Bayehon – Ghaster – Bayehon – Setai – Polleur – Mont Rigi

Pictures > Belgium 2017-01-15: High Fens

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High Fens: A gloomy early winter’s day

The second week of November brings some unexpected wintry weather to the high plateaus in the east of Belgium, with snow and ice above 600 m. I make a strenuous 29.3 km hike over slippery frozen duckboards, sluggish snow and muddy trails. The day is pretty gloomy, with only a tiny bit of sun towards the evening. Rather typical for the time of year.

Baraque Michel – Helle – Herzogenhügel – Spohrbach – Brackvenn – Nahtsief – Brackvenn – Miesbach – Pont Marie-Anne Libert – Helle – Baraque Michel

Pictures > Belgium 2016-11-12: High Fens

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