Filip H.A. Claeys

Trekking in Mountainous and Subarctic Regions

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Italy 2017: Cinque Terre

In July we spend the second week of our family holidays in Italy’s scenic Cinque Terre region. Despite the heat and the fact that I don’t have a map, I explore part of the area on foot. The remainder is done as a family by car and by train.











Descent of “Gorges de l’Ardèche”

During a recent family holiday I made a 32 km descent of “Gorges de l’Ardèche” in southern France by packraft. Although canoeing on the Ardèche river is extremely popular during the summer season, it is not entirely trivial, in contrast to the equally popular Dordogne river in the same area.

I started paddling at 8 am in Vallon-Pont-d’Arc and had the river to myself for the first 8 km. Afterwards I was joined by some of the canoers taking on the 24 km descent. Much to my surprise it only took me until 2:15 pm to arrive at the “Sauze” beach in Saint-Martin-d’Ardèche, where the gorge ends (including 2 short breaks).

Although the water level was quite low, packrafting did not pose real problems. I only had to get out of the raft twice, once at Vallon-Pont-d’Arc soon after departure, and once at Les 3 Eaux. Albeit inexperienced with any form of whitewater, I got through all rapids without problems, except for one. At La Dent Noire I didn’t really take the sign hinting to keep to the right to heart, and was hence shortly thrown out of the raft by the current. No harm done however, except for the fact that I lost my hat …

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A micro-adventure in my own backyard

A micro-adventure on a beautiful summer day in my own village: first 12 km of packrafting on the river Leie (from Leiepark to the E40 bridge and then back to the public jetty in Sint-Martens-Latem), followed by a return hike through the woods and meadows of the “Latemse Meersen” nature reserve and the posh residential area of Deurle. The whole tour took about 5 hours to complete.

The map shows the packrafting part (in red), the hiking part (in blue), and another packrafting trip (in pink) of 6.5 km back and forth the next day.

Video footage of the first day is below. Note that I don’t have an action cam of any kind. Don’t ask me therefore about the utterly clumsy procedure I had to go through to capture this stuff…




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What’s the plan?

With this new blog site my plan is to publish reports of some of my multi-day treks through mountainous and subarctic regions. Only treks during which I have taken digital photographs will be considered.

I have already uploaded the following reports:

Hopefully the following will follow in the not too distant future:

For the following treks I unfortunately don’t have digital photographs, these will therefore not be considered:

  • Egypt 2001: Sinai Desert
  • Morocco 2001: Atlas
  • Finland 2001: Lapland
  • Canada 2000: Rocky Mountains
  • USA 1999: Alaska
  • Iceland 1998: Jökulsárhlaup
  • Iceland 1998: Laugavegurinn
  • Iceland 1998: Fimmvörðuháls
  • Germany 1997: Mosel
  • Greece 1997: Crete
  • Norway 1997: Jotunheimen
  • France 1991: Queyras
  • Belgium 1983: Ardennes