Filip H.A. Claeys

Trekking in Mountainous and Subarctic Regions


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Scandinavia 2019

Another memorable Scandinavia experience at the end of June and beginning of July:

  • In Denmark I do some short walks on Tornby beach and pay a visit to the massive dunes surrounding (and almost engulfing) the Rubjerg Knude lighthouse. I spend the night on an official remote forest bivouac spot, which is a new experience for me in this country.
  • On the border between Norway and Sweden, I do an adventurous and physically strenuous 8-day trek including packrafting through the adjacent protected areas of Långfjället, Rogen and Femundsmarka. Nights are spent wild camping, and as usual I have to negotiate endless boulders, tree roots, marshes, … while walking.
  • I subsequently head further into Sweden and do a fairly comprehensive 1-day exploration of Sonfjället NP on foot. This park consists of a mountainous area surrounded by extensive forests, and hosts Europe’s densest population of brown bear.
  • Finally, I end up in Skuleskogen NP at the shores of the Gulf of Bothnia. Skuleskogen is part of the so-called Höga Kusten, where since the last ice age the land has risen 300 m from the sea. I do a 2-day trek during which I walk most of the park’s trails.

Full-blown reports including pictures will follow in due time, here is however a sneak preview:

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Norway 2018: Videos

Finally got around to completing all 5 PoV videos of the packrafting part of September’s solo trek through the colorful forests and fjells of eastern Norway’s villmarken. The videos may seem a bit lengthy but do give a good idea of the serene atmosphere and general conditions of the trip: no people, hardly any infrastructure, just unspoiled nature.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy…

Rendalen: Sølensjøen / Arasjøen lakes and Sølna river



Rondane: Atna river


For more information, the full reports (with pictures, story and maps) are here:


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Norway 2018: Packrafting Rondane

During the third week of September I also make a 2 day – 60 km solo hiking & packrafting tour of the Atna river in the Rondane mountains. I start at Straumbu, hike up to Dørålseter via Langglupdalen, hike down to Frekmyre, and then paddle back to Straumbu. Conditions are fab, except for the wind which is gale force at higher elevations and makes any summit attempt impossible.

A full report of the Atna experience is available below. Videos will follow later, in due time.

Report > Norway 2018: Rondane

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Norway 2018: Packrafting Rendalen

Third week of September in the Rendalen villmarken: autumn foliage is at its peak and I make a 2 day – 50 km solo hiking & packrafting tour of the Sølna river. I start in picturesque Fiskevollen on the shores of lake Sølensjøen, and then gradually move north by packraft and on foot to the location where I take to the water of the meandering Sølna river, in order to paddle back south.

A full report of the Sølna experience is available below. I have quite a bit of video footage as well, but haven’t found the time yet to process it properly.

Report > Norway 2018: Rendalen

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Three Years of Packrafting

It is now three years ago that I decided to buy a sturdy and inflatable packable raft, also known as packraft. Truth be said, these things are not cheap, so it was a bit of an investment. The question therefore is, was it worth it?

Well, even though I am not overly adventurous and have not been using my raft on whitewater very much, I have been using it quite a bit on lakes and still water, in a variety of countries. So, I definitely do not regret my purchase, since it has brought me to places I would not easily have been able to go to otherwise, and since it has allowed me to enjoy nature in a completely different manner than before!

The furthest I have paddled on flowing water in one day is the 32 km from Vallon-Pont-d’Arc to Sauze on the Ardèche river. The furthest on still water are the recent 23 km on Zuidlede and Moervaart. The time I regretted most not to have taken my packraft was during our family trip to Denmark, Sweden and Finland in 2016, since I could easily have seen myself paddling parts of Lake Vättern, the Stockholm and Turku Archipelagos, and Copenhagen’s Nyhavn.

Anyway, below is an overview of the places I have so far explored by packraft (sometimes more than once). In most cases a video is available, in some cases unfortunately only photos.

Belgium

Leie – Old branch in Astene:

Leie – From Astene to Sint-Martens-Latem:

Leie – From Sint-Martens-Latem to Baarle:

Leie – From Sint-Martens-Latem to Ringvaart:

Ghent waterways (Leie, Lieve, Ketelvaart, Schelde, Coupure):

Zuidlede & Moervaart – From Stenenbrug to Kalvebrug:

Dommel – From Neerpelt to Valkenswaard:

Lac de Nisramont (Spring):

Lac de Nisramont (Fall):

Quebec

La Mauricie NP – Across Lac Wapizagonke to Waber Falls:

La Mauricie NP – From Lac Soumire to Lac Dauphinais:

Sweden

Rogen NP – From Käringsjön to Skedbrostugan

Norway

Femundsmarka NP – Røa waterway:

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Femundsmarka NP – Grøtåa:

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France

Basses Gorges du Verdon – From Quinson to Lac d’Esparron:

Gorges de l’Ardèche – From Vallon-Pont-d’Arc to Sauze:

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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.


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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).

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