I’m at home on a Sunday afternoon as I’m writing this. The weather is nice, with big clouds and an odd patch of blue, which makes it easy to dry out my camping gear on the balcony. It’s all still wet from what was going to be a weekend of camping and hiking in Belgium. We decided to leave there early this morning instead of hiking for another day, as the rain forecast was for 20mm of rain to fall in the course of 6 hours. That kind of downpour crosses the border, it’s where the fun ends.
It’s not that I wasn’t prepared as I got some new hiking gear. I got the Haglöfs Fusion jacket partly to take with me to work when going by bike and partly for hiking trips with a chance of rain. It did get a good workout on Saturday already, when we had some heavy rain in the first hour, and so far I love this jacket. Wears great and is easy to pack. The one thing that drives my crazy though is why there is a piece of velcro on the hood. Can that be used to fold the hood away? If so, I’m at a loss how to do that.
I’ve also retired my old backpack after years and years of heavy duty. A few minor annoyances have been building up while using it over the years, and I took the opportunity to correct them with a new backpack: Osprey’s Stratos 32. After two days of hiking I really love this pack. It’s large enough to stow quite a bit of stuff when travelling, but small enough to wear it as a daypack. It’s got a bunch of nice features that make it a treat to use such as the special side pockets for water bottles, the zippered side pockets for maps and books, and bungee loops on the back to easily attach stuff to the backpack.
As for hiking: we did manage to get a good day in on Saturday with only an hour of heavy to light rain at the beginning. The area just east of Liège is pretty heavily populated and the path took us over a bit too many paved routes for my liking, but it also ended right next to our campsite which made shuffling the cars a bit easier.
When will I ever learn to eat well before a hike. Last Saturday I didn’t really have breakfast, and with temperatures up to 30 degrees and no wind I needed to drink a lot. Surprise: loss of minerals and a headache towards the end of the day. Sigh.
I still managed to walk 32km on the GR5, one of the more famous European walking tracks, stretching from the North Sea to Nice. I had walked a tiny overlapping part of it last year near Bergen op Zoom, but this was the first real stretch. Not sure if I’ll ever make it to Nice, or even if I would want to.
By far the strangest sight was the Tour Eben-Ezer with some impressive animals on top of the towers and seemingly located in the middle of nowhere. Other than that nice rolling hills, fields and trees, and a lot of quarries.