Patagonia – baby Lotta’s 7 week backpacking adventure (part 1)

“As soon as I saw you I knew a grand adventure was about to happen.” ― A.A. Milne

It’s all so quiet in the blogosphere, when you’re busy living. Blogging has become low on the priority ladder, due to being a full-time dad and a timeconsuming career change to teaching. Nevertheless I hope I will find some time to add some posts about the adventures we do/did with Lotta, who is almost 2 years old at the time of writing. I’m lagging behind reports of quite a pile of longer adventures: Patagonia (austral summer 2016), Vosges (spring 2016), Lapland (summer 2016), Mallorca (winter 2016), Picos de Europa (spring 2017), Canadian Rockies (summer 2017), Iceland (summer 2017)… Well, we’ll see how fast/slow the fifo runs out.

When our baby girl was 20 weeks old we took her on a 45-days adventure to south-central Patagonia. In a series of 3 posts I will give a pictorial insight in the adventurous trip we took in february-march 2016.

Hang on there. Pic from day 38 on the 6-week adventure. Fitz Roy range. Parque Nacional Los Glaciares. Santa Cruz. Patagonia. Argentina.

Hang on there. Pic from day 40 on the 6-week adventure. Fitz Roy range. Parque Nacional Los Glaciares. Santa Cruz. Patagonia. Argentina.

Babies are so flexible. All they need is love, warmth and breastfeeding. Keep them close to the body and slow down your adventure. Anything is possible. In my first post on the Patagonia trip I will not add much chatter. In the next update, I’ll give some more logistical insights. Here is part 1 of the pictorial trip report.

A breastfeeding rest after a climb out of Pampa Linda. Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi. Rio Negro. Patagonia. Argentina.

A breastfeeding rest after a climb out of Pampa Linda. Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi. Rio Negro. Patagonia. Argentina.

For a multiday trek, mommy carried Lotta in a flexible swing on the chest. Close contact is possible. Mommy carries a 8-9kg backpack, containing sleeping bags, clothes and baby stuff.

Tomamos curanto en Marita Estrella. Chaitén. Region de los Lagos. Patagonia. Chile.


Camping under the Milky Way. Parque Pumalin. Region de los Lagos. Patagonia. Chile.


I’ll stop my first post on Patagonia here, because tomorrow we leave for a new 6-week adventure to the Canadian Rockies and Iceland. The second post you might expect by the end of the summer! Happy adventures.

For those of interest you can follow our Delorme sattelite beacon updates by clicking on the following map!

Live updates from Lotta on adventure!

Live updates from Lotta on adventure!

Baby Lotta goes backpacking in Patagonia – video

Everything you can imagine is real. – Picasso

It’s been a while. Parenting. Time consuming. Free moments are spend together and outdoors. Our girl is 7 months young now. She grows on sight. We’re enjoying the best times of our lives so far. When she was 20 weeks old, we took her on a extremely rewarding backcountry backpacking trip into Chilean and Argentine Patagonia. 45 days. Ice-caked mountains, evergreen virgin rainforrests, eye-blurring blue and green rivers, golden rolling pampa, abundant wildlife, rare humans, vitamin D spitting sun, howling wind, freshes ever air and senses running overtime. Contrary to gut feeling, it turned our baby way more relaxed then when put between four walls.

This is the video impression which will consume 6 minutes of your life.

A more extensive report in word and photos might follow somewhere in time.

Scree descent after summiting active volcano Chaitén, Parque Pumalin, Palena province, Patagonia, Chile

Scree descent after summiting active volcano Chaitén, Parque Pumalin, Palena province, Patagonia, Chile. March 10th, 2016.

This is your life! Do what you love and do it often.

Adventuring while expecting?

A grand adventure is about to begin. (Winnie the Pooh)

What a wonderful year it has been! One full of joy and expectation! Just after our guided winter outing we found out that Katrijn was pregnant! That’s a wow for excitement! Would pregnancy be the end of adventurous lifestyle? Let’s find out.

On backcountry skies towards Kebnekaise. A flare of sun through the windy fog. #3monthspregnantinpicture

On backcountry skies towards Kebnekaise. A flare of sun through the windy fog. #3monthspregnantinpicture

Provided you are well and your pregnancy is normal, you can continue to exercise. Staying active during pregnancy will help keep the body stronger and more flexible. Childbirth is physically demanding, requiring huge amounts of energy. This is why it’s a good idea to keep in shape.

Tired, but superhappy almost-mommy. Lofoten archipelago. Norway. #6monthspregnantinpicture #6kgbackpack

Tired, but superhappy almost-mommy. Lofoten archipelago. Norway. #6monthspregnantinpicture #6kgbackpack

Katrijn kept on (trail)running until the 20th week of pregnancy, went swimming twice a week until a week before giving birth and continued cycling to work until the 36th week of pregnancy. In the weekend before our baby girl was born, Katrijn even biked around 100km in indian summer weather.

Ready for an adventure around Sweden's highest mountain? Lappland. Sweden.

Ready for an adventure around Sweden’s highest mountain? Lappland. Sweden.

During pregnancy it’s normal to sweat more than usual. To replace this, it’s important to hydrate even more before, during and after any kind of exercise or sporting activity. As well as exercise, you also need more rest during pregnancy. Despite the need for rest, 2015 was a very active year, with lots of (short) outings during the weekends and on every holiday occasion we could seize.

Excercising is one thing, but setting out for a multi-day backcountry adventure? Is that even possibe? Don’t you lack a good bed and healthy food?

Patches of aurora above Singi STF hut near Kebnekaise. Lappland. Sweden. April 2015.

Patches of aurora above Singi STF hut near Kebnekaise. Lappland. Sweden. April 2015.

The first 3 months of pregnancy are sometimes characterized by food aversions, nausea, mood swing and fatigue. But in the second trimester almost-mommy gains energy and feels more confident. It’s the best pregnancy frame for trips and adventures, just before you become a waddling penguin in the 7th month of pregnancy. That’s why we set out on a 2-week backcountry nordic ski traverse in Lappland in the first 2 weeks of april 2015.

TIme for skins. Uphill ski. Kebnekaise mountains. Lappland. Sweden. #3monthspregnantinpicture

Time for skins. Uphill ski. Kebnekaise mountains. Lappland. Sweden.

The almost-daddy takes all the load for a 2 week trip in a pulka, while almost-mommy can ski with a very light pack, focussing on keeping her balance. Lappland. Narviksfjell. Norway.

The almost-daddy takes all the load for a 2 week trip in a pulka, while almost-mommy can ski with a very light pack, focussing on keeping her balance. Lappland. Narviksfjell. Norway.

It wass an extreme windy, stormy and deepsnowy spring in Lapland. So our initial plan of skiing from Kateratt in Norway to Sweden’s highest mountain Kebnekaise through the Narviksfjell was altered after 1 day for a safer option along the Kungsleden. We did not regret that choice. Bivaoucs were alternated with overnights in cosy cabins along the route.

Bivaouc in -10*C while pregnant? Yes you can! Lappland. Sweden. #3monthspregnantinpicture

Bivaouc in -10*C while pregnant? Yes you can! Lappland. Sweden. #3monthspregnantinpicture

To maintain Katrijn’s demand for healthy nutricients, we had dried even more fruits and vegies and even added fresh carrots and onions in the pulka. The best energy came from handfull of nuts and freshly baked pancakes along the route. The max. distance we covered in a day on the skis was 20km, so Katrijn could recover well and every odd day she had a bed and hot water for a wash.

A flare of blue near windy Abiskojaure. Abisko National Park. Kungsleden. Lappland. Sweden.

A flare of blue near windy Abiskojaure. Abisko National Park. Kungsleden. Lappland. Sweden.

Tjäktja Pass with the Tjäktjavagge opening in a glacial U-shaped valley towards the south. Kungsleden. Lappland. Sweden. #3monthspregnantinpicture

Tjäktja Pass with the Tjäktjavagge opening in a glacial U-shaped valley towards the south. Kungsleden. Lappland. Sweden.

Mushers habitat. Kungsleden. Lappland. Sweden.

Mushers habitat. Kungsleden. Lappland. Sweden.

Ice stalactite dripping from Alesjaure STF hut. Kungsleden. Lappland. Sweden.

Ice stalactite dripping from Alesjaure STF hut. Kungsleden. Lappland. Sweden.

Plowing through fresh snow in white-out conditions. Lappland. Sweden. #3monthspregnantinpicture

Plowing through fresh snow in white-out conditions. Lappland. Sweden.

Sking toward Nikkaluokta, leaving Kebnekaise behind. Lappland. Sweden. #3monthspregnantinpicture

Sking toward Nikkaluokta, leaving Kebnekaise behind. Lappland. Sweden.

Where is the love? All around ya. Kebnekaise. Lappland. Sweden.

Where is the love? All around ya. Kebnekaise. Lappland. Sweden.

On the last night of our ski trip in Abisko, we are treated with some nice aurora above Lapporten. Lappland. Sweden. #pic16april2015

On the last night of our ski trip in Abisko, we are treated with some nice aurora above Lapporten. Lappland. Sweden. #pic16april2015

Logistical support for our Lapland backcountry ski trip was supported by the kind folks at XPlore The North.

Logistical support for our Lapland backcountry ski trip was supported by the kind folks at XPlore The North.

During Ascension weekend, Katrijn was 4 months pregnant. She felt fresh and last-minute we filled our backpacks and set off for a 4 day trek into the Vosges. We covered somewhere 80km and hiked up/down some 4000 altimeters. We camped out every night. She carried around 7kg in her own backpack.

Backpacking for 4 days through Le massif des Vosges. Eastern France. #4monthspregnantinpicture #7kgbackpack

Backpacking for 4 days through Le massif des Vosges. Eastern France. #4monthspregnantinpicture #7kgbackpack

The French Vosges is the closest, real highlands area from where we live near Gent, Belgium. We come here often for short backpacking trips on long weekends.

The French Vosges is the closest, real highlands area from where we live near Gent, Belgium. We come here often for short backpacking trips on long weekends.

Sunset from above Drumont. Le massif des Vosges. Eastern France. #4monthspregnantinpicture

Sunset from above Drumont. Le massif des Vosges. Eastern France.

Baby belly times? Backpacking le massif des Vosges. Eastern France. #4monthspregnantinpicture

Baby belly times? Backpacking le massif des Vosges. Eastern France. #4monthspregnantinpicture

Danger, danger! High voltage! Le massif des Vosges. Eastern France. #4monthspregnantinpicture #7kgbackpack

Danger, danger! High voltage! Le massif des Vosges. Eastern France.

Bivaouc on top of les Ballons. Le massif des Vosges. Eastern France. #4monthspregnantinpicture

Bivaouc on top of les Ballons. Le massif des Vosges. Eastern France.

By the time summer arrived, the baby belly was protruding well, but there were no big pregnancy complaints. We longed for fresh air, so we flew back to Lapland, for the second time in only 3 months. We entered the last trimester of pregnancy so we opted not to force things. We hired a car for 3 weeks in Kiruna and drove to the mind-blowing beautiful Norwegian coast. We hiked, biked and slept under the midnightsun. We did overnight treks in the Narviksfjell, Lofoten, Vesteralen, Senja, Lyngen and around Treriksröset. A selection of pictures tell more than words…

Summer in Lapland! Let's get out! #6monthspregnantinpicture

Summer in Lapland! Let’s get out!

Exploring the Rohkunborri National Park. Lappland. Troms. Norway. #6monthspregnantinpicture

Exploring the Rohkunborri National Park. Lappland. Troms. Norway.

Exploring the Rohkunborri National Park. Lappland. Troms. Norway. #6monthspregnantinpicture

Exploring the Rohkunborri National Park. Lappland. Troms. Norway.

High above Lossivatnet. Narviksfjell. Lappland. Norway #6monthspregnantinpicture

High above Lossivatnet. Narviksfjell. Lappland. Norway

Crossing the Loasejokkha. Narviksfjell. Lappland. Norway. #6monthspregnantinpicture

Crossing the Loasejokkha. Narviksfjell. Lappland. Norway. #6monthspregnantinpicture

Climbing towards a pass in the Fagerådalen. Lofoten archipelago. Norway. #6monthspregnantinpicture

Climbing towards a pass in the Fagerådalen. Lofoten archipelago. Norway.

Rest after a 400m steep climb up. Solbjornvatnet down below. Lofoten archipelago. Norway. #6monthspregnantinpicture

Rest after a 400m steep climb up. Solbjornvatnet down below. Lofoten archipelago. Norway.

Aproaching the wild beach of Horseidvika after a 6-hour hike. Lofoten archipelago. Norway. #6monthspregnantinpicture

Aproaching the wild beach of Horseidvika after a 6-hour hike. Lofoten archipelago. Norway.

Reaching the midnightsun bivaouc spot on an Arctic Beach 68°N. Never ending summer. Lofoten archipelago. Norway. #6monthspregnantinpicture

Reaching the midnightsun bivaouc spot on an Arctic Beach 68°N. Never ending summer. Lofoten archipelago. Norway.

Ready for a night under the stars. Euhm, we mean... arctic sun. Lofoten archipelago. Norway. #midnightsun #68degreesnorth #6monthspregnantinpicture

Ready for a night under the stars. Euhm, we mean… arctic sun. Lofoten archipelago. Norway. #midnightsun #68degreesnorth

A never setting sun at Horseid Beach. 68°N. Midnightsun. Lofoten archipelago. Norway. #midnattsol

A never setting sun at Horseid Beach. 68°N. Midnightsun. Lofoten archipelago. Norway. #midnattsol

A never setting sun at Horseid Beach. 68°N. Midnightsun. Lofoten archipelago. Norway. #midnattsol #6monthspregnantinpicture

A never setting sun at Horseid Beach. 68°N. Midnightsun. Lofoten archipelago. Norway. #midnattsol #6monthspregnantinpicture

Descending into Fagervatnet. Selfjorden. Lofoten archipelago. Norway. #6monthspregnantinpicture #6kgbackpack

Descending into Fagervatnet. Selfjorden. Lofoten archipelago. Norway.

Midnightsun at Ramberg. Lofoten archipelago. Norway.

Midnightsun at Ramberg. Lofoten archipelago. Lofoten archipelago. Norway.

Keep hydrated at all time while pregnant! Lofoten archipelago. Norway.

Keep hydrated at all time while pregnant! Lofoten archipelago. Norway.

Cloudy and windy over Møysalen National Park. Vesterålen. Norway.

Cloudy and windy over Møysalen National Park. Vesterålen. Norway.

Mountain biking on Andøya. Vesterålen. Norway. #6monthspregnantinpicture

Mountain biking on Andøya. Vesterålen. Norway.

Okshornan. Postcard perfect on Senja Island. Troms. Norway. #7monthspregnantinpicture

Okshornan. Postcard perfect on Senja Island. Troms. Norway.

Well deserved rest after steep climb up Steinsethogda (473m). Senja Island. Troms. Norway. #7monthspregnantinpicture

Well deserved rest after steep climb up Steinsethogda (473m). Senja Island. Troms. Norway. #7monthspregnantinpicture

Almost-mommy did it! Climbing up Steinsethogda (473m). Senja Island. Troms. Norway. #7monthspregnantinpicture

Almost-mommy did it! Climbing up Steinsethogda (473m). Senja Island. Troms. Norway. #7monthspregnantinpicture

Almost -daddy going for a midnightsun float on Jaegervatnet . 69°N. Lyngen Alps. Troms. Norway.

Almost -daddy going for a midnightsun float on Jaegervatnet . 69°N. Lyngen Alps. Troms. Norway.

Enjoying the arctic summer sun over Jiehkkevárri (1834m) in the cabin at the end of Lyngsdalen. Troms. Norway. #7monthspregnantinpicture

Enjoying the arctic summer sun over Jiehkkevárri (1834m) in the cabin at the end of Lyngsdalen. Troms. Norway.

Exploring the glaciers of Lyngsdalen. Troms. Norway. #7monthspregnantinpicture

Exploring the glaciers of Lyngsdalen. Troms. Norway. #7monthspregnantinpicture

Bivaouc near the Three-Country Cairn (Treriksröset (in Swedish), Treriksrøysa (in Norwegian), Kolmen valtakunnan rajapyykki (in Finnish)) is the point at which the international borders of Sweden, Norway and Finland meet. Lapland. #7monthspregnantinpicture

Bivaouc near the Three-Country Cairn (Treriksröset (in Swedish), Treriksrøysa (in Norwegian), Kolmen valtakunnan rajapyykki (in Finnish)) is the point at which the international borders of Sweden, Norway and Finland meet. Lapland.

Bivaouc while pregnant can be as comfy as home. Lappland. Midnightsun. #7monthspregnantinpicture

Bivaouc while pregnant can be as comfy as home. Lappland. Midnightsun.

Traversing high above Goldajávvri lake. Lappland. Troms. Norway. #7monthspregnantinpicture #6kgbackpack

Traversing high above Goldajávvri lake. Lappland. Troms. Norway.

Happy when it rains? You bet! Patagonia Alpine Houdini Jacket. 180grams of rain protection. Lappland. Troms. Norway. #7monthspregnantinpicture #6kgbackpack

Happy when it rains? You bet! Patagonia Alpine Houdini Jacket. 180grams of rain protection. Lappland. Troms. Norway. #7monthspregnantinpicture

Leaving the DNT Gappohytte. Lappland. Troms. Norway. #7monthspregnantinpicture #6kgbackpack

Leaving the DNT Gappohytte. Lappland. Troms. Norway.

Midsummer. Lappland. Troms. Norway. #7monthspregnantinpicture #6kgbackpack

Midsummer. Lappland. Troms. Norway.

And then it happened! Our beautiful little girl came around…

Dreaming of her first adventures. #LOTTA #2weeks

Dreaming of her first adventures. #LOTTA #2weeks

Baby hiking over Belgian's High Fens. #LOTTA #7weeks

Baby hiking over Belgian’s High Fens. #LOTTA #7weeks

Lotta

Baby hiking through the dark woods of the High Fens. #LOTTA #7weeks

Scrub off the hiking sweat. #LOTTA #11weeks

Scrub off the hiking sweat.. #LOTTA #11weeks

You guessed it well. 2016 will be briliant! We hope the same for you!

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