Filip H.A. Claeys

Trekking in Mountainous and Subarctic Regions


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Packrafting Leie

Instant holiday vibes during another packrafting trip on the scenic and meandering river Leie, on a sunny and warm day in June.

I leave home on foot, pass the small nature reserve of Westerplas, and put in at Leiepark Deurle less than 30′ later. After 17 km and about 4.5 hours of relaxed paddling, I take out at Leiepark Sint-Denijs-Westrem, having followed the river through Sint-Martens-Latem, Drongen and Afsnee.

Paddling the river Leie is of course a very different experience from the more adventurous trips I tend to make, but I typically enjoy it nonetheless. Next to its obvious proximity to home, there are the greenery along its shores, the multitude of posh mansions and historic buildings, and the parade of pleasure yachts of various sizes.

Belgium 2021-06-09: Packrafting Leie


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Packrafting Leie

The first after-work packrafting trip of this year on nearby river Leie takes me from Leiepark Deurle to the public jetty in Sint-Martens-Latem + return on foot. About 16 km in all: 10 km paddling and 6 km walking.

I call it a day at work at 5 pm and a half hour later, I am already on the water. The evening is quiet, sunny and almost windless. The month of April has been unusually chilly thus far, but today temperatures are pleasant.

A bit before 8 pm, I reach the jetty in Sint-Martens-Latem, start walking, and by 9 pm get back to my car, just in time to witness the last bit of sunlight over the meandering river.


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Parkbos Gent: Hiking Challenge

On the morning of Armistice Day, I set myself a little challenge:

  • Complete a hiking loop through Parkbos Gent starting from home
  • Hike at least 15 km
  • Try to do it in 2.5 hours (average speed 6 km/h)
  • Avoid paved roads as much as possible

In the end, I hike a loop that leads via foot trails, duckboards and (muddy) horse trails. I do 15.3 km in 2 hours and 33 minutes. So, challenge succeeded.


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Kayaking Leie – bis

Two days after my previous after-work solo kayaking trip on the river Leie, I again take to the water and paddle 12 km from the public jetty of Sint-Martens-Latem to the entrance to the Bourgoyen nature reserve, on the outskirts of Gent, passing Afsnee and Sint-Denijs-Westrem in the process. Weather is as beautiful as last time, and the atmosphere is still of a southern riviera.

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Water and Meadow Birds at “De Westerplas” – bis

Another early evening photo shoot at “De Westerplas” in Sint-Martens-Latem with sightings of mainly the following species:

Canada goose Branta canadensis Canadese gans
Black-tailed godwit Limosa limosa Grutto
Common shelduck Tadorna tadorna Bergeend
Grey heron Ardea cinerea Blauwe reiger

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