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.
Every fall I try to plan a hike so that I get to walk on a carpet of fallen leaves, kicking them up on occasion, and listening to the sounds that makes. Yesterday was such a day. It would have been even better with a bit more sunshine and some dramatic dark-grey clouds in the sky being swept by by a stormy wind, but at least it didn’t rain.
We hiked in the Gooi area, just north of Hilversum, about half forest and half parkland belonging to some estates, with some smithereens of moorland. The forest was varied and especially on the way back had some really nice leaf-covered paths. The parkland was varied with open fields, water features and beech-lined lanes. Recommended.
Glorious sunny late-summer weather is always a good excuse to get out of the house. This morning I explored the Kaapse Bossen near Doorn. This time not one of the long-distance hiking tracks, but a GPS route of my own creation. While the route didn’t always work out very well it was fun to just wander around the forest without paying notice to the painted signs.
I got up really early to be in the forest at daybreak. Unfortunately I didn’t spot any animals, but the forest is always beautiful in the early morning light. The Kaapse Bossen also have the added attraction of a watch tower with a panoramic view of the whole area. Especially nice with the morning light striking the crowns of the trees.
Just back from a weekend in Luxemburg I left for a few days of walking on the North Coast of Brittany in France, more specifically the Cote de Granite Rosé in the Cotes d'Armor. Even though there is a fairly well developed bus service in the area, it still can be hard to get around, especially on some of the more remote areas of the coast, so I have been hiking with full gear, including a tent. I must really pay more attention to packing as my pack was a bit heavier than I would have liked it to be.
The northern coast is not really rugged, but still steep enough to be interesting. With the strong tides in this region whole areas are bare during the low tide but may make passing through them impossible during high tide. Camping out was fun, and I was actually glad to have some sea fog on the second day to avoid the blistering sun to some extend. Blistering indeed, I have a bit of a nasty sunburn in the back of my neck.
Traveling took a bit longer than I hoped for, but I did manage to squeeze in a visit to the Mont-Saint-Michel, one of those must-have-seen places in France.
Finally some good news: my camera survived its first drop test.
Last weekend it was time again to pick up on the GR57. This time we started in Gouvy as the part between Le barrage de Nisramont and Gouvy severly lacks in public transport options. We'll do that another time when we have two cars available. The first day took us from Gouvy to Troisvierges through rolling farmland. We took a quick detour towards the highest point of Luxemburg which was just a kilometer or so from the track. Amazing that it wasn't part of the track, even though the whole thing is rather unassuming.
The second day we went from Troisvierges to Clervaux in a different landscape. Most of the day we walked through the valley of the Woltz, with much more forest and quick steep hikes up and down the plateau surrounding the valley. With the high humidity we did not have much energy left in the end, and we were glad we only had to hike a meager 12km. We still took quite a bit of time, mostly caused by excessive picture-taking. I love my new camera!
Yesterday there was finally some respite from all the rain that has been falling in the last week, so I took the opportunity to continue my hike on the Grenslandpad. This time the path ran mostly through the Chaamse bossen, which gave some protection against the wind.
Again not so many pictures. My camera is slowly failing on me, in particular the batteries. I feel I'm getting closer and closer to buying a new one...