Filip H.A. Claeys

Trekking in Mountainous and Subarctic Regions


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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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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.

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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…

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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.

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Sweden 2016: Rogen

My Scandinavia experience in June 2016 started with a 124 km trek on foot and by packraft through a region that is sometimes referred to as “Grenselandet”, as it sits on the border between Sweden and Norway. The core of Grenselandet is made up of a 2000 km² conglomerate of national parks and nature reserves that includes the following areas:

  1. Langtjønna
  2. Femundsmarka
  3. Femundslia
  4. Grøvelsjøen
  5. Gutulia
  6. Rogen
  7. Töfsingdalen
  8. Långfjället
  9. Städjan-Nipfjället

In June 2015 I respectively traveled through Femundslia, Femundsmarka and Rogen. In 2016 on the other hand I crossed Långfjället, Rogen, Femundsmarka and Grøvelsjøen. Focus was mainly on Rogen.

The beauty of Grenselandet is in its remoteness and ruggedness, as one will not find any spectacular fjords, glaciers nor jagged peaks in this area. Grenselandet is to be experienced by being immersed into it, rather than by some superficial sight-seeing.

I spent 8 days in the area and enjoyed lots of dry and sunny weather. Temperature-wise there was a strange contrast between warm days at the beginning and at the end, and a cold snap in the middle where temperature suddenly dropped to 0 – 5 °C.

I crossed the entire Käringsjön lake system by packraft and intended to do the same for the Røa river depression. However, due to cold weather and high winds, I only accomplished part of the latter.

Grövelsjön – Hävlingen – Slagusjön – Storrödtjärnstugan – Tandsjövålen – Käringsjön – Kråksjön – Källsjön – Uthussjön – Öster-Rödsjön – Väster-Rödsjön – Skedbrostugan – Skedbrofjället – Reva – Møllerbua – Litlbuddhåen – Storrundhåen – Kløfthåbua – Røabua – Grøtådalen – Sylen – Grövelsjön

Pictures > Sweden 2016-06: Rogen

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