Filip H.A. Claeys

Trekking in Mountainous and Subarctic Regions


1 Comment

LLT: Xoffraix

A 16.5 km hike with the Lustige Lochtingterters (LLT) along the Warche, Bayehon and Pouhon creeks, at the rim of the High Fens plateau. Starting place is the village of Xoffraix, and one of the highlights is the Bayehon Cascade (merely 9 m, but still the highest natural cascade in Belgium).

Pictures > Belgium 2018-06-16: Xoffraix

DSC_0050

DSC_0043

DSC_0209

DSC_0030

DSC_0067

DSC_0111

DSC_0163

DSC_0160

DSC_0168

DSC_0169

DSC_0203

DSC_0205

DSC_0211

DSC_0216

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Packrafting Zuidlede & Moervaart

Zuidlede is a 15 km creek that flows through a largely unspoiled pastoral and forested landscape in the province of East Flanders, Belgium. In fact, Zuidlede is the original upper section of the Durme river. Around 1300 AD a canal named Moervaart (22.5 km; also sometimes referred to as Noordlede) was dug to bypass the narrow and meandering Zuidlede. Both Zuidlede and Moervaart have now lost their economic significance and are used for recreational purposes only.

On a pleasant Sunday morning I start paddling Zuidlede around 9:30am at Stenenbrug in the direction of Mendonk (i.e. west). After a scenic journey through woods and agricultural lands, I end up at the Moervaart canal and paddle northeast to Kalve bridge, passing Overlede bridge in the process. Both are old iron drawbridges that are protected by law, just as the natural scenery around them. After lunch I paddle the entire stretch back to where I came from, adding up to a total of no less than 23.1 km, which is the furthest I have ever paddled on still water during the course of one single day. I return around 4:30pm after a very pleasant day, with many sightings of bird species such as blue heron, black cormorant, great crested grebe, coot and moorhen.

A couple of remarks:

  • The section of Zuidlede east of Stenenbrug is probably equally scenic, but passage is not allowed here from April 1 until June 30 due to the breeding season.
  • At the moment of writing there is no public jetty at Kalvebrug. The jetty at the Kalvebrug canoe rental is private property and cannot be used. The shop attendant is rather strict about this.
  • There are a number of public jetties along Zuidlede where it runs through the Puyenbroeck Provincial Park.
  • The bridges at Stenenbrug and Puyenbrug are quite low. Depending on water levels one may have to stop paddling, lie back and push one’s hands onto the ceiling to proceed (as I did).

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2085.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2096.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2105.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2127.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2134.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2151.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2162.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2169.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2173.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2175.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2176.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2177.

Knipsel.PNG


Leave a comment

Sweden 2016: Packrafting Rogen

8 minutes of relaxing video footage from my 124 km – 7 day solo hiking and packrafting trek through Rogen (Sweden) and Femundsmarka (Norway) in June 2016. The video covers the first 2.5 days of the trek, and was entirely shot on Swedish soil.

The locations in the video are the following: Hävlingen – Rogen – Nässjöbäcken – Tandsjövålen – Käringsjön – Kråksjön – Källsjön – Uthussjön – Öster-Rödsjön – Väster-Rödsjön.


Leave a comment

Norway 2017: Femundsmarka

The pictures and full report of last month’s 5 day – 125 km solo trek through Femundsmarka (and a bit of Rogen, on the Swedish side of the border) have been uploaded:

Unfortunately, the trip was cut short since I had to return home unexpectedly halfway through. Nonetheless, this was yet another fine adventure blessed with reasonable weather conditions (contrary to the foul weather further west, that I was luckily able to avoid).

DSC_0659

DSC_0660

DSC_0662

DSC_0664

DSC_0665

DSC_0727

DSC_0734

DSC_0744


Leave a comment

Packrafting the Grøtåa river (Part 2/2)

Towards the end of my 5 day – 125 km solo trek through Femundsmarka I returned to the Grøtåa river for some relaxed paddling on its lower section. In the meantime the weather had turned for the better and I much enjoyed both the river and the camp I had established in the vicinity of mount Kratlvola. Fine weather and low winds unfortunately also mean mosquitoes in these areas, so a headnet was unfortunately in order.

DSC_0784

DSC_0789

DSC_0790

DSC_0804

DSC_0810

DSC_0834

DSC_0837

DSC_0838


Leave a comment

Packrafting the Grøtåa river (Part 1/2)

Grøtåa is a small, remote river in the backcountry of Norway’s Femundsmarka National Park, practically on the border to Sweden. The 3rd week of June I did a 5 day – 125 km solo trek through Femundsmarka, during which I descended parts of Grøtåa by packraft.

The source of Grøtåa is the Grötvallsjön lake, which is situated on Swedish soil, above the tree line. The river starts as a narrow and shallow current that meanders through reindeer grazing grounds and marshland. Afterwards it makes a drop and enters the Femundsmarka heartland with several nice flat and wide sections.

I started the descent of Grøtåa only meters away from its source. Due to the narrow and shallow first section of the river, I was initially in for a bumpy ride, with a need for short portages every now and then. Especially at the fence that keeps the Norwegian and Swedish reindeer herds apart, portaging was inevitable. Although without danger, I guess some might say packrafting this part of the river is a bit crazy, and I therefore wouldn’t be surprised if I were the first to attempt it…

DSC_0334

DSC_0335

DSC_0337

DSC_0341

DSC_0343

DSC_0344

DSC_0348

DSC_0349


Leave a comment

The Scandinavia 2016 trilogy

The full reports of the 3 stretches of my Scandinavia trek in June 2016 have been uploaded:

I have started to use a stylish, more contemporary layout that I’m personally quite happy about, as it makes both pictures and text stand out better. The plan is to gradually move reports from previous treks into this new format as well. Let me know what you think.

dsc_0474

dsc_0557

dsc_0236

dsc_0214