Nepal – why your visit is paramount #VisitNepalAutumn2015

Nepal’s devastating earthquakes, tremors and aftershocks killed over 8000 people and injured over 100.000 people, throwing down this overwhelmingly beautiful, but extremely poor country down the misery hole. In the immediate wake of this natural disaster, international relief has been coming in with countries, ngo’s and indivuduals rushing to stem the wounds.

Children of Singati Bazar welcome us during our 2012 GHT trek. The village has been severely hit by the quake now with only few survivors. Are thoughts are with the hospitable people of the whole valley we passed through. Children of Singati Bazar welcome us during our 2012 GHT trek. The village has been severely hit by the quake now with only few survivors. Are thoughts are with all the hospitable people of the whole valley we passed through on the way to Rolwaling.

Scantily, more news of the devastation intruded our lives through media and immedialtly a lot of people, especially those with a weakness for the country, felt the urge to do something. They end up fundraising or donating money through one of the many organisations active in Nepal. This help has been paramount in the immediate wake for the country but when international journalists and first relief workers left the country, attention slacked. For many not-involved ,it will be a sad memory to be confronted with when 2015 will be rear-mirrored during numerous annual reviews. And yes there is some good news, with kids returning to school, but international help stays essential with monsoon closing in soon.

Nepal after the quake. Will tourists ever return? Nepal after the quake. Will tourists ever return?

International media coverage of the quake made it sound like the whole of Nepal was destroyed, and images of collapsed buildings and old heritage sites in Kathmandu made the headlines. Media failed to report that 80 per cent of Kathmandu’s houses were still intact, the airport was open, and that only 14 of Nepal’s 75 districts were severely affected. Nepali people are extremely resilient, and altough (international) help will stay necessary for quite some time, Nepal will overcome.

All historical buildings in this picture I took on Kathmandu's Durbar Square, survived the quake! All historical buildings in this picture I took on Kathmandu’s Durbar Square, survived the quake!

If you should believe media coverage, there is nothing left of historical buildings in Kathmandu worth visiting, Natioanal Geographic checked out What’s Rubble, What’s Still Standing. Nepali government is planning to reopen historical sites in and around Kathmandu from the 15th of June onwards.

We have received a lot of signs of life from Nepali people we met through our autumn 2012 great himalaya trail adventure. Even though some of our friends live in makeshift shelters, all of them report normal life picked up fast after first relief. Banks, shops and 90% of hotels are open. Busses are operating. Domestic flights serve all corners of the country. People that fled Kathamndu are returning to their homes, starting to rebuild and pick up their lives.

Nepal has many hidden corners that are open to visitors and that weren't affected by the quake. Humla. West-Nepal. Great Himalaya Trail Nepal has many hidden corners that are open to visitors and that weren’t affected by the quake. Humla. West-Nepal. Great Himalaya Trail

After the earthquake, all tourists fled the country and upcoming trips were cancelled for May and this fall. Now Thamel looks deserted, trekking gear in the numerous shops is gathering even more dust. Trekking routes are completely abandoned, and even Pokhara (Annapurna), where there wasn’t much damage, is largely empty.

#visitnepalautumn2015

Nepal Association of Tour Operators (NATO) has called upon the concerned government authorities, who warn against visits to Nepal,  to step up measures for ensuring tourism activities to resume quickly. Therefore, we can’t encourage enough travelers and trekkers to come back to Nepal, the sooner the better. Tourism is Nepal’s most income generating sector. Nepal is a poor country and without your visit all development work from last decade will be shaked to dust.

The government has already formed a Tourism Recovery Committee in partnership with Hotel Association Nepal and Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN) to repair damaged trekking routes, heritage sites and promote safe tourism destinations. All trekking routes will be assesed by TAAN and will be declared open/closed in the upcoming weeks. So please check their website for live reports.

The west of Nepal was not touched by the quake! Upper Mustang, Humla and Dolpa, where the summer months of july/august/september are an excellent time for trekking! These areas lie in the rain shadow of the main Himalayan range and are therefore not affected by the monsoon. The west of Nepal was not touched by the quake! Upper Mustang, Humla and Dolpa, where the summer months of july/august/september are an excellent time for trekking! These areas lie in the rain shadow of the main Himalayan range and are therefore not affected by the monsoon.

There are hundreds of trekking routes untouched by the quake where people are really hoping you to come visit. Spend your money here and help them raise their own economy. Nepal has 2 distinct trekking seasons, of which October and November are the most popular trekking months. During this time, chances are high for clear skies and great mountain views. People are hesitant to come trekking, because they expect there will be more avalanches and landslides. But these are not new in mountains, they were there before the quake and more will follow. 95% of treks in Nepal, even those going really high up in the mountains, don’t go further then Base Camp of the greater peaks. Climbers in those base camps were hit by the quake, but almost no trekking tourists have been harmed.

Nepali people really hope tourists are going to return this year! Gokyo Ri. Solo Khumbu. Nepal.

Nepali people really hope tourists are going to return this year! Gokyo Ri. Solo Khumbu. Nepal.

The popular Langtang Trekking might not be possible because the village has been destroyed completely. Annapurna region, for example has remained almost untouched. Tea houses open and Sherpas are confident that they can still lead groups to Everest Base Camp and other trekking routes as well. We really encourage you to come for trekking. We know good guides whom we can put you directly in contact with to do all trekking upcoming summer months and for the fall. Government has not stopped giving permits. Hence come and experience adventure!

Be open however, that homes and lives have been devastated in many areas and it will take many years to fully rebuild some communities. Many of the regions affected need income from tourism, either through direct sales of services and products or employment of porters and trekking staff. If you cancel your booking or defer your trip to Nepal, you will only be making the impact of the earthquake worse for many families. Please do not cancel any trips scheduled after the monsoon (September 2015 onwards)… your contribution to employment and the general economy is vital to the rebuild of Nepal. (Robin Boustead, pioneer of the Great Himalaya Trail Nepal)

Nepal is all about high mountains, but it has also numerous trekking routes in the hilly, lush and vivid mountains at the foot of the Himalaya, where trekking from village to village is an experience of a lifetime. Greath Himalaya Low or Cultural Route.

Nepal is all about high mountains, but it has also numerous trekking routes in the hilly, lush and vivid mountains at the foot of the Himalaya, where trekking from village to village is an experience of a lifetime. Greath Himalaya Low or Cultural Route.

Suggestions for you to trek (contact us for more trip ideas!!)

– 95% of the Great Himalaya Trail lower route (now has a free guidebook for download)
Dolpo-region
Kanchenjunga
– …

Is Nepal still safe for visiting after the quake? Read it here!

Please tag your visit with #VisitNepalAutumn2015

Winter aspirations

Here come old flattop, he come grooving up slowly (Come together – The Beatles)

Snow fever over Belgian's High Fens

Snow fever over Belgian’s High Fens

What does Belgium has to offer for you crazy outdoor goofies? Isn’t it all about low land boringness over there?
The Ardennes are your answer, my friend…

Forests, meandering rivers, rolling hills, wildlife and even some sheer rock faces!

We even have our own “high” plateau!

What? A plateau? A highland? In Belgium?

Yep. And it’s just high enough to even host some snow over some cold winter weeks.
We even have gentle alpine ski slopes over there and some nice cross-country skiing.

No, that’s not a joke!

The valley of the Hoëgne  - High Fens, Belgium

The valley of the Hoëgne – High Fens, Belgium

It’s called the High Fens, and it was the decor of our first guided outing with members of Hiking Advisor, another project where I am deeply involved. Hiking Advisor is a small NGO with the aim of promoting safe, responsible and pleasant backpacking. The site is in Dutch, hence our target audience.

This way we ended up with 15 aspiring winter hikers in our wake. Some stills and a short video impression will do the rest.

Hoëgne ,  one of the many streams coursing from the High Fens, Belgium

Hoëgne , one of the many streams coursing from the High Fens, Belgium

Can we cook over our lunch? Mais, bien sur! - High Fens, Belgium

Can we cook over our lunch? Mais, bien sur! – High Fens, Belgium

For many of the participants, it was their first ever winter bivaouc - High Fens, Belgium

For many of the participants, it was ther first ever winter bivaouc – High Fens, Belgium

Some chit chat in the snow - High Fens, Belgium

Some chit chat in the snow – High Fens, Belgium

Colour in the white... High Fens, Belgium

Colour in the white… High Fens, Belgium

A happy crowd

A happy crowd

Til fots i fjellet (walking in the mountains)

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” ― Marcel Proust

Black Saturday! Record traffic jams!” – howls the radio towards escapees for the French Riviera and Spanish costas. I almost fall asleep cruisin’ behind the wheel on our 1100km ride to Larvik, Denmark’s ferry harbour for Sweden and Norway. Everyday Robots on endless repeat. Clichés reign. Scandinavia isn’t beach dwellers dada.

The mountains are calling and I must go (J. Muir). Bivaouc along Langvatnet. Jotunheimen NP. Norway.

The mountains are calling and I must go (J. Muir).
Bivaouc along Langvatnet.
Jotunheimen NP. Norway.

We had a great 4 week thru-hike loop prepared for arctic Norway and Sweden looping from Bodø (Norway) to Ammarnäs (Sweden) and back to Mosjøen (Norway) through some promising wild country. Personal loss wiped those plans of the table. Trip cancelled. Black summer.

““When you feel life at crossroads, you need higher perspective view.” ― Toba Beta, My Ancestor Was an Ancient Astronaut

““When you feel life at crossroads, you need higher perspective view.” ― Toba Beta, My Ancestor Was an Ancient Astronaut

But as days and weeks passed by, we knew comfort would eventually steer us back into the mountains. We filled up the trunk with gear and food and travelled north. No plans. No maps. Zero expectations.

Tinnsjå (Tinnsjø, Lake Tinn) is one of the largest lakes in Norway, and one of the deepest (490m!) in Europe. Telemark county. Norway.

Tinnsjå (Tinnsjø, Lake Tinn) is one of the largest lakes in Norway, and one of the deepest (490m!) in Europe. Telemark county. Norway.

We knew southern Norway possesses limitless oportunities for spectacular mountain hiking and harbours accesible worldclass fjords. We soon enjoyed Scandinvian’s mild 2k14 summer . Eat. Sleep. Hike. A hassle free metronome.

The no plan trick was a revelation. Not surprisingly our camera was filled with happy memories from backpacking hikes in Hardangervidda, Sunnmøre , Reinheimen, Rondane and Jotunheimen.

“The future depends on what you do today.” Damn right Gandhi!

For those with 5 minutes to waste, we would like to invite you to hit play on our holiday video.

After a 800m climb up from the Hardangerfjord at sea level we finally arrive on the plateau. Hardangervidda NP. Norway.

After a 800m climb up from the Hardangerfjord at sea level we finally arrive on the plateau.
 
Hardangervidda NP. Norway.

The Hardangerfjord is the third longest fjord in the world, and the second longest fjord in Norway. The fjord stretches 179 kilometres (111 mi) from the Atlantic Ocean into the mountainous interior of Norway along the Hardangervidda plateau. The innermost point of the fjord reaches the town of Odda. The glaciers from the Folgefonna National Park almost drop into sea here.

The Hardangerfjord is the third longest fjord in the world, and the second longest fjord in Norway. The fjord stretches 179 kilometres (111 mi) from the Atlantic Ocean into the mountainous interior of Norway along the Hardangervidda plateau. The innermost point of the fjord reaches the town of Odda.
 
The glaciers from the Folgefonna National Park almost drop into sea here.

Bivaouc on the edge of the Hardangervidda plateau, high above the Hardanger fjord. The plateau is the largest peneplain (eroded plain) in Europe, covering an area of about 6,500 km2 (2,500 sq mi) at an average elevation of 1,100 m (3,500 ft).

Bivaouc on the edge of the Hardangervidda plateau, high above the Hardanger fjord. The plateau is the largest peneplain (eroded plain) in Europe, covering an area of about 6,500 km2 (2,500 sq mi) at an average elevation of 1,100 m (3,500 ft).

Inhaling the day's last rays of light. The Oooknest from our faded MSR Twing Tarp perfectly fits under the MLD Trailstar (with some minor adaptions). Contrary to the expected we met little flying critters. Hardangervidda NP. Norway.

Inhaling the day’s last rays of light. The Oooknest from our faded MSR Twing Tarp perfectly fits under the MLD Trailstar (with some minor adaptions). Contrary to the expected we met little flying critters.
 
Hardangervidda NP. Norway.

The varying climate of the plateau has a marked effect on the flora, which is richer on the wetter west side than in the drier east; much of the plateau is covered by coarse grasses, mosses (especially sphagnum) and lichens. Hardangervidda NP.

The varying climate of the plateau has a marked effect on the flora, which is richer on the wetter west side than in the drier east; much of the plateau is covered by coarse grasses, mosses (especially sphagnum) and lichens.
 
Hardangervidda NP.

The landscape of the Hardangervidda is characterised by barren, treeless moorland interrupted by numerous pools, lakes, rivers and streams. Hardangervidda NP. Norway.

The landscape of the Hardangervidda is characterised by barren, treeless moorland interrupted by numerous pools, lakes, rivers and streams.
 
Hardangervidda NP. Norway.

Hardangervidda National Park, at 3,422 square kilometers, is Norway's largest national park. It has the southernmost stock of several arctic animals and plants. Its wild reindeer herds are among the largest in the world. We didn't met any. Probably something to do with the fact I should keep quiet a bit more often...

Hardangervidda National Park, at 3,422 square kilometers, is Norway’s largest national park. It has the southernmost stock of several arctic animals and plants. Its wild reindeer herds are among the largest in the world. We didn’t met any. Probably something to do with the fact I should keep quiet a bit more often…

“You'll never find a rainbow if you're looking down”  ― Charles Chaplin

“You’ll never find a rainbow if you’re looking down”
― Charles Chaplin

Walk. Slip. Stand. Try to walk again. Coccyx and slippery slab. No friends. Hardangervidda NP.

Walk. Slip. Stand. Try to walk again. Coccyx and slippery slab. No friends. Hardangervidda NP.

How can you resist the enchantingly microforrest around your toes. Hardangervidda NP. Norway.

How can you resist the enchantingly microforrest around your toes. Hardangervidda NP. Norway.

Jostedalsbreen is the largest glacier in continental Europe. It is situated in Sogn og Fjordane county in Western Norway. You can drive through it! Try it now before rock takes over blue ice.

Jostedalsbreen is the largest glacier in continental Europe. It is situated in Sogn og Fjordane county in Western Norway. You can drive through it! Try it now before rock takes over blue ice.

Branches of the Jostedalsbreen glacier reach down into the valleys. The glacier is maintained by the high snowfall rates in the region, not the cold temperatures. This means the glacier has high melting rates in its snouts. The Jostedalsbreen has around 50 glacier arms such as the pictured Briksdalsbreen near Olden.

Branches of the Jostedalsbreen glacier reach down into the valleys. The glacier is maintained by the high snowfall rates in the region, not the cold temperatures. This means the glacier has high melting rates in its snouts. The Jostedalsbreen has around 50 glacier arms such as the pictured Briksdalsbreen near Olden.

Awaiting friendly weahter in the comfy Patchellhytta. Sunnmøre Alps. Ålesund-Sunnmøre Turistforening.

Awaiting friendly weahter in the comfy Patchellhytta. Sunnmøre Alps. Ålesund-Sunnmøre Turistforening.

Sunnmøre is the southern part of the county “Møre og Romsdal” near the Art Nouveau sea harbour of Ålesund on the west coast. of Norway  It has numerous dramatic steep mountains fringing the fjords. These starkly beautiful region is often overlook by foreing mountain dwellers.

Sunnmøre is the southern part of the county “Møre og Romsdal” near the Art Nouveau sea harbour of Ålesund on the west coast. of Norway It has numerous dramatic steep mountains fringing the fjords. These starkly beautiful region is often overlook by foreing mountain dwellers.

The curious case of the short-tailed weasel running in franzy over rock and fjell. On average, males measure 187–325 mm (7.4–12.8 in) in body length, while females measure 170–270 mm (6.7–10.6 in). To encounter a weasel when setting out for a journey was considered bad luck, but one could avert this by greeting the stoat as a neighbour, which I gladly did. A couple of hours later we climbed on the summit of Slogen, once desribed as the one of the proudest mountains in Europe.

The curious case of the short-tailed weasel running in franzy over rock and fjell. On average, males measure 187–325 mm (7.4–12.8 in) in body length, while females measure 170–270 mm (6.7–10.6 in). To encounter a weasel when setting out for a journey was considered bad luck, but one could avert this by greeting the stoat as a neighbour, which I gladly did. A couple of hours later we climbed on the summit of Slogen, once desribed as the one of the proudest mountains in Europe.

Slogen is a mountain rising up from Hjørundfjorden. Even though it is not among the highest peaks in Norway, the 1,564-metre (5,131 ft) tall mountain is rated among the top ten mountain walks in Norway. This is largely due to its beauty, view, and the fact that it's rising directly from the fjord. Sunnmøre Alps. Norway.

Slogen is a mountain rising up from Hjørundfjorden. Even though it is not among the highest peaks in Norway, the 1,564-metre (5,131 ft) tall mountain is rated among the top ten mountain walks in Norway. This is largely due to its beauty, view, and the fact that it’s rising directly from the fjord. Sunnmøre Alps. Norway.

Peering one vertical mile down into  Hjørundfjorden from the summit of 1,564-metre (5,131 ft) tall Slogen. A thrilling sight!

Peering one vertical mile down into Hjørundfjorden from the summit of 1,564-metre (5,131 ft) tall Slogen. A thrilling sight!

Isvatnet and Storevatnet lakes in the Langeseter valley with the pyramid Brekketinden summit rising above. Sunnmøre Alps. Norway.

Isvatnet and Storevatnet lakes in the Langeseter valley with the pyramid Brekketinden summit rising above. Sunnmøre Alps. Norway.

Au soleil, sous la pluie, à midi ou à minuit il y a tout ce que vous voulez aux Champs-Élysées.

Au soleil, sous la pluie,
à midi ou à minuit
il y a tout ce que vous voulez
aux Champs-Élysées.

Climb towards the alpine crossing between Gullmorebreen and Gullmoredalsvatnet. Sunnmøre Alps. Norway.

Climb towards the alpine crossing between Gullmorebreen and Gullmoredalsvatnet. Sunnmøre Alps. Norway.

Bypassing the Gullmorbreen glacier right underneath Brekketindane (1578m). Sunnmøre Alps. Norway.

Bypassing the Gullmorbreen glacier right underneath Brekketindane (1578m). Sunnmøre Alps. Norway.

By this way we sincerely want to thank the Ålesund-Sunnmøre Turistforening for building and maintaining the Velleseter hytte. Probably the cosiest hytte in Southern Norway. Takk!

By this way we sincerely want to thank the Ålesund-Sunnmøre Turistforening for building and maintaining the Velleseter hytte. Probably the cosiest hytte in Southern Norway. Takk!

Happy backpacker with a key! Velleseter hytte. Sunnmøre Alps.

Happy backpacker with a key! Velleseter hytte. Sunnmøre Alps.

Crossing into Liadalen under a ray of sun. Sunnmøre Alps.

Crossing into Liadalen under a ray of sun. Sunnmøre Alps.

Ready for the 800m steep dive into the Norangsdalen. Sunnmøre Alps.

Ready for the 800m steep dive into the Norangsdalen. Sunnmøre Alps.

Geirangerfjord. A UNESCO World Heritage site. This fjord is surrounded by the steepest and, one is almost tempted to say, the most preposterous mountains on the entire west coast. It is very narrow and has no habitable shore area, for the precipitous heights rise in sheer and rugged strata almost straight out of the water. Foaming waterfalls plunge into the fjord from jagged peaks. Møre og Romsdal county, Norway.

Geirangerfjord. A UNESCO World Heritage site. This fjord is surrounded by the steepest and, one is almost tempted to say, the most preposterous mountains on the entire west coast. It is very narrow and has no habitable shore area, for the precipitous heights rise in sheer and rugged strata almost straight out of the water. Foaming waterfalls plunge into the fjord from jagged peaks. Møre og Romsdal county, Norway.

The Troll Wall (Trollveggen) is the tallest vertical rock face in Europe, about 1,100 metres (3,600 ft) from its base to the summit of its highest point. At its steepest, the summit ridge overhangs the base of the wall by nearly 50 metres (160 ft). The Troll Wall has been a prestigious goal for climbers and base jumpers alike. Carl Boenish, the “father” of base jumping, was killed on the Troll Wall in 1984 shortly after setting the world record for the highest base jump in history. Base jumping from Troll Wall has been illegal since 1986, altough there are still illegal jumps almost every day. Basejumping. Nah. Let’s fish.

Gone for fishing on a fresh summer evening. Ulvådalsvatnet lake. Tafjordfjellene. Reinheimen National Park. Oppland. Norway.

Gone for fishing on a fresh summer evening.. Ulvådalsvatnet lake. Tafjordfjellene. Reinheimen National Park. Oppland. Norway.

Hiking up to Hogtunga leaving Ulvådalsvatnet lake behind. Tafjordfjellene. Reinheimen National Park. Oppland. Norway.

Hiking up to Hogtunga leaving Ulvådalsvatnet lake behind. Tafjordfjellene. Reinheimen National Park. Oppland. Norway.

Rain on me! Enjoying prime summer weather in the Norwegian mountains. Tafjordfjellene. Reinheimen National Park. Oppland. Norway.

Rain on me! Enjoying prime summer weather in the Norwegian mountains. Tafjordfjellene. Reinheimen National Park. Oppland. Norway.

Incredible sollitude in the Tafjordfjellene mountains of Reinheimen National Park. Oppland. Norway.

Incredible sollitude in the Tafjordfjellene mountains of Reinheimen National Park. Oppland. Norway.

Who needs the fish? Nodre Botvatnet. Tafjordfjellene. Reinheimen National Park. Oppland. Norway.

Who needs the fish? Nodre Botvatnet. Tafjordfjellene. Reinheimen National Park. Oppland. Norway.

If there ain't no fish to bite then let them pancakes taste. Pyttbua. Tafjordfjellene. Reinheimen National Park. Oppland. Norway.

If there ain’t no fish to bite then let them pancakes taste. Pyttbua. Tafjordfjellene.
 
Reinheimen National Park. Oppland. Norway.

Real nice biking into Rondane NP on a rainy day. Hedmark and Oppland, Norway

Real nice biking into Rondane NP on a rainy day. Hedmark and Oppland, Norway

Rondane is a typical high mountain area, with large plateaus and a total of ten peaks above 2,000 m (6,560 ft). The highest point is Rondeslottet (“The Rondane Castle”) at an altitude of 2,178 m (7,146 ft). The lowest point is just below the tree line, which is approximately 1,000 to 1,100 m (about 3,300 to 3,600 ft) above sea level. The climate is mild but relatively arid.

Mountain arteries. Rondane NP. Norway.

Mountain arteries. Rondane NP. Norway.

Apart from the White Birch trees of the lower areas, the soil and rocks are covered by heather and lichen, since they lack nutrients. Rondane NP. Norway.

Apart from the White Birch trees of the lower areas, the soil and rocks are covered by heather and lichen, since they lack nutrients.
 
Rondane NP. Norway.

Morning view on Gjende lake. Jotunheimen (English: The Home of the Giants) is a mountainous area of roughly 3,500 km²  in southern Norway and is part of the long range known as the Scandinavian Mountains. The 29 highest mountains in Norway are all in Jotunheimen, including the very highest - Galdhøpiggen (2469 m).

Morning view on Gjende lake. Jotunheimen (English: The Home of the Giants) is a mountainous area of roughly 3,500 km² in southern Norway and is part of the long range known as the Scandinavian Mountains. The 29 highest mountains in Norway are all in Jotunheimen, including the very highest – Galdhøpiggen (2469 m).

“The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love color the most.”  ― John Ruskin, The Stones of Venice

“The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love color the most.”
― John Ruskin, The Stones of Venice

Jotunheimen contains Jotunheimen National Park, which was established in 1980 and covers an area of 1,151 km². Jotunheimen is very popular with hikers and climbers, and the Norwegian Mountain Touring Association maintains a number of mountain lodges in the area, as well as marked trails that run between the lodges and others that run up to some of the peaks.

Jotunheimen contains Jotunheimen National Park, which was established in 1980 and covers an area of 1,151 km². Jotunheimen is very popular with hikers and climbers, and the Norwegian Mountain Touring Association maintains a number of mountain lodges in the area, as well as marked trails that run between the lodges and others that run up to some of the peaks.

The walk over Besseggen ridge  is one of the most popular mountain hikes in Norway. About 30,000 people walk this trip each year. From Besseggen there is a great view over azure Gjende (glacial) and dark Bessvatnet lake. Jotunheimen NP. Norway.

The walk over Besseggen ridge is one of the most popular mountain hikes in Norway. About 30,000 people walk this trip each year. From Besseggen there is a great view over azure Gjende (glacial) and dark Bessvatnet lake.
 
Jotunheimen NP. Norway.

Rocks rock!  Jotunheimen NP.

Rocks rock! Jotunheimen NP.

Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia). Jotunheimen NP.

Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia). Jotunheimen NP.

We hike because why wouldn't we? Jotunheimen NP.

We hike because why wouldn’t we? Jotunheimen NP.

A painter's dream. Memerutunga. Jotunheimen NP.

A painter’s dream. Memerutunga. Jotunheimen NP.

Flares from aurora borealis in the Norhern starsky. Memerutunga. Jotunheimen NP.

Flares from aurora borealis in the Norhern starsky. Memerutunga. Jotunheimen NP.

Nothing beats a coffee in the morning sun under the tarp. Memerutunga. Jotunheimen NP. Norway.

Nothing beats a coffee in the morning sun under the tarp. Memerutunga. Jotunheimen NP. Norway.

Gjendebu is the oldest cabin of the Norwegian Mountain Touring Association (DNT). The cabin lies 995 metres above sea level, by the western end of the lake Gjende, central in Jotunheimen. It is accessible by hiking along marked trails, or by boat over Gjende from Gjendesheim. The cabin was built in 1871 and was at that time 45 m² and with 12 beds, today there are 119 beds.

Gjendebu is the oldest cabin of the Norwegian Mountain Touring Association (DNT). The cabin lies 995 metres above sea level, by the western end of the lake Gjende, central in Jotunheimen. It is accessible by hiking along marked trails, or by boat over Gjende from Gjendesheim. The cabin was built in 1871 and was at that time 45 m² and with 12 beds, today there are 119 beds.

Memerutunga. Jotunheimen NP.

Memerutunga. Jotunheimen NP.

Around 400km of marked hiking trails and routes can be found in Jotunheimen. They are maintained by the Norwegian Trekking Association which marks cairns and rocks with the famous red T.

Around 400km of marked hiking trails and routes can be found in Jotunheimen. They are maintained by the Norwegian Trekking Association which marks cairns and rocks with the famous red T.

Room with a view. Langvatnet. Jotuheimen NP.

Room with a view. Langvatnet. Jotuheimen NP.

Urdadola runs into Langvatnet. Dusk. Jotunheimen NP.

Urdadola runs into Langvatnet. Dusk. Jotunheimen NP.

Despite it's moderate altitude in comparison with other mountain ranges, northern latitude give Jotunheimen typical high alpine climate. Gulf stream bring lots of precipitation that is released especially on the western parts of Jotunheimen. Rapid weather changes are possible and winter conditions are not impossible even in the middle of summer. Jotunheimen NP.

Despite it’s moderate altitude in comparison with other mountain ranges, northern latitude give Jotunheimen typical high alpine climate. Gulf stream bring lots of precipitation that is released especially on the western parts of Jotunheimen. Rapid weather changes are possible and winter conditions are not impossible even in the middle of summer.
 
Jotunheimen NP.

Snoholtinden as seen from Olavsbu, Jotunheimen NP.

Snoholtinden as seen from Olavsbu, Jotunheimen NP.

It's been a while since the last blogpost so thanks a lot for your patience.

It’s been a while since the last blogpost so thanks a lot for your patience.

It’s oh so quiet!

You’re right. Blogging has been at low ebb over here. It’s part rat racing, part lazyness and part other pursuits. Such as writing for printed magazines, both in English and Dutch.

Offline writings... Sidetracked and Op Pad.

Offline writings… Sidetracked and Op Pad.

I’ m quite proud being invited  to contribute to the first printed edition of the inspiring Sidetracked adventure e-zine.

This brand new magazine swirls around the world, across land, sea and air. It takes us underground, underwater, and soaring high up into the sky. Extraordinary men and women head to the very ends of the Earth in search of inspiration and their own limits. And Sidetracked brings their stories home to us, curated in these beautiful pages. –  Al Humphreys

Please order your copy over here.

Sidetracked volume one

Sidetracked volume one

Closer to home I’ve also been published in the low lands major outdoor magazine Op Pad, which has 130.000 printed subsribers. It’s available on most newsstands in both Holland and Belgium during May 2014.

Op Pad - the great himalaya trail

Op Pad – the great himalaya trail

In both magazines I’ve been writing the article and providing photos about our traverse of the Nepal Himalaya along the Great Himalaya Trail, back in the fall of 2012. It has been a rollercoaster of trial and error with editors of both magazines to get things finalised. It has been a steep learning curve to get things professionaly printed on paper, but I’m very happy with both results, so I hope there’s more to come.

And have you been out there or are you completely pale from screen gazing?

Well it hasn’t been a spectacular outdoor past half year since the gap year, but we get out from time to time on micro-adventures of trailrunning, hiking and paddling close to home. Dreamers on lower clouds, but dreamers nevertheless.

 

Packrafing the Lesse. Belgian Ardennes. March 2014.

Packrafing the Lesse. Belgian Ardennes. March 2014.

 

Across Sarek. Swedish Lappland. April 2014. #moreonthenextblogupdate

Across Sarek. Swedish Lappland. April 2014. #moreonthenextblogupdate

2013 rear view mirror

A belated happy new year to all our readers. Hope you will have a ball in 2014!
Never stop moulding your dreams! Even more, try to make some of them come true!

Inspired by Dave’s post and with my head plunged in my pics for upcoming talks this weekend, I decided to bring up some memories from last year in chronological review. I cheated on April (2 pics) and September (pic from 2012 because lack of pics for 2013).
[edit 26012014] I noticed David also made a similar calender post! Go have a look![edit]

January. Packrafting Rio Limay. Patagonia. Argentina.

January. Packrafting Rio Limay. Patagonia. Argentina.

February. Packrafing Rio Yelcho. Patagonia. Region de los Lagos. Chile.

February. Packrafing Rio Yelcho. Patagonia. Region de los Lagos. Chile.

March. Valle Hermosa. RN Jeinimeini. Future Patagonia National Park. Aysen. Chile.

March. Valle Hermosa. RN Jeinimeini. Future Patagonia National Park. Aysen. Chile.

April. Glaciar O'Higgins. Southern Patagonian Ice Cap. Aysen. Chile.

April. Glaciar O’Higgins. Southern Patagonian Ice Cap. Aysen. Chile.

April. Autumn glow in lenga forrest. On the border between Chile and Argentina. Lago del Desierto. Patagonia.

April. Autumn glow in lenga forrest. On the border between Chile and Argentina. Lago del Desierto. Patagonia.

May. Tayrona National Park. Carribean. Colombia.

May. Tayrona National Park. Carribean. Colombia.

June. Cordillera Blanca. Ancash. Peru.

June. Cordillera Blanca. Ancash. Peru.

July. Nevado Ishinca (5500m). Cordillera Blanca. Peru.

July. Nevado Ishinca (5500m). Cordillera Blanca. Peru.

August. Sierra Nevada del Cocuy. Colombia.

August. Sierra Nevada del Cocuy. Colombia.

September. Self portrait. Suorvajaure. Stora Sjöfallet. Laponia. Sweden.

September. Self portrait. Suorvajaure. Stora Sjöfallet. Laponia. Sweden.

October. Mont Blanc. Haute-Savoie. French Alps.

October. Mont Blanc. Haute-Savoie. French Alps.

November. Mont Blanc. Haute-Savoie. French Alps.

November. Mont Blanc. Haute-Savoie. French Alps.

December. Adventures in your own backyard. Kalkse Meersen. Belgium.

December. Adventures in your own backyard. Kalkse Meersen. Belgium.