Category Archives: hiking

A quick side step

Even though I still have a lot of trips to process, I decided to make a little side step first. The reason for this is that I get asked a certain question quite often and that is that people wonder about me traveling these regions in France completely solo.

First of all I don’t always travel solo, I have a very dear traveling companion! But when I do travel solo I take precautions.

First of all, I will always let people know where I’m going, second I carry a PLB (Personal Locater Beacon) and third (and most fun) I’m an outdoors guy a.k.a I like being outside with minimal equipment.

The video below is part 1 of a 2 night Hike & Hang (as we call them) and it will give you a glimpse of the way we travel outdoors…and yes when I’m out and about in the woods of France I do carry a firesteel, sturdy knife, a poncho for shelter and “coffee and tea equipment” (this is an insider joke, where coffee and tea in the woods in France has become a must have for the initiated ūüėȬ†)

The video is sadly in dutch and is about a 2 night hike and hang I had here in the netherlands with a very good friend: Johan van Dijk aka Born2Roam.

It shows our shelter but also cooking equipment (part woodstove and part alcohol burner from my side)..so Enjoy and please comment on the video on youtube if you want!

grts
Hans

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Just an update

It’s been a while……, it’s been a long while :), but don’t worry I’m stil here.

The new job of course took a lot of my time and the time between the 2 jobs was interesting to say the least!!!

So whatsup? Well I spent some time around Ypres, was (of course) in The argonne in March, and will be around the Hartmannswillerkopf in September (Thats the plan anyway)

Soooo the next thing I’LL need to do is update the blog with my Ypress trips (yes they were 2) and share with you the plans for this fall.

The Big re-shuffle…part 2

I still need to work out the details, but it looks like I will be jumping part of the route somewhere in the Champagne area. Not because I’ve been there before, but because from what I have heard it is the least interesting and doesn’t have as much facilities.

I’m not sure where I’ll start the jump and where it will end, but at least that part of the plan is there: In order to make it all happen, I will start and end as planned, but will skip a bit somewhere en route. It means I wont be able to claim I walked the whole of the western front, but at least I traversed it (with part public transport)!

Not at all what i wanted, but sometimes you will have to deal with the devil as they call it.

Grts

Hans

PS: Crap! I just realized 2 things 2 key subscriptions run out in April. 1st of all my spot device, 2nd this URL…not to self..tackle it.

The big re-shuffle

A small, not entirely¬†good update I’m afraid.

Right now this trip is starting to look a little shaky, most of it caused by scheduling problems at work.

Is it fully over? No it isn’t, but it’s been cut by a whole month and will need to start a whole month earlier.

The fact it needs to start earlier is a¬†challenge, but shouldn’t be a showstopper, it just means the¬†nights at the start of the trip will be a lot colder (potentially below zero Celsius…but I have been in France with stunning spring temperatures as well in April), so i will need to make some choices there. Also several camping’s in France may not be opened yet at the start¬†(That I could potentially cover with the more costly B&B’s¬†option)

Changing it from 4 to 3 months however is a bigger¬†issue, it basically means it will be difficult to do the route as i had originally planned. Could it not be done in 3 months? Sure it is not impossible in theory, but it means increasing daily distances substantially and it also means I will not really have time to stay in one area for any length of time to enjoy the sites in more detail…so the trip then would be a footrace to cover the distance and no longer be about the journey, but about the destination….Not what i wanted!

The only other option would be shortening the trip: i.e¬†¬†starting halfway¬†or skipping parts. I¬†don’t know what I’ll do with it yet, basically it changes everything about the trip.¬†Right now skipping the less interesting (or already seen) parts seems to be the best option, since it doesn’t change what the trip was originally all about¬†so much, but it will make planning more complex, since at certain parts of the hike I will have to find some form of (public) transport to skip ahead.

All in all I need time to think and go back to the drawing-board, the original plan is simply no longer an option.

I guess it’s safe to say I’m bitterly dissapointed ¬†and feel just ¬†empty right now after preparing for¬†well over a year, but if it means the difference between changing plans and not going at all, I know what avenue to investigate.

Stay tuned…walking 14-18 isn’t dead yet…just down for a sec.

grts
Hans

Getting ready

Getting ready..such a vague title isnt it? Well you are right, it’s vague and I wasn’t even planning to do an update ..however there is actually news :).

It’s all about crossing T’s and dotting I’s. ¬†The GEAR is all but done, the ROUTE is 80% there, and physically im in good shape, but stuff needs doing!

So in order to focus the preparations I¬†decided¬†to hire a personal trainer, nothing spectacular, but those who kinda know me, now probably go WTF!! I am however well aware that hiking for 4 months is a litle bit different from hiking for a weekend, so even though I’ve come a long way, common sense told me to be smart about it..hence the choice, so I wont fail because i hiked myself into an avoidable injury!

So far so good anyway and tomorrow I wil have my 1st session .. ..aaaaaand iI just got a message from Tim:¬†“take your backpack filled with the waterbottles ¬†you already train with, with you” ..I guess he’s taken his ¬†job serious..and i guess I’ll know all about ¬†it tomorrow :)..no pain no gain Truusjes!!!

Synchronosity

So here i am tonight out on what they call a farmers camping.¬† A weird place really, this one takes care of pensioned horses. Tomorrow is another JJ outing but that’s far from my mind

I’ve met this catlady (Dawn), she takes care of all the small animals here, a lovely old lady..I Guess in a way she’s a trailangel since she’s been offering me warm blankets and a couch to sleep on (which i didnt need ūüôā after seeing my seatosummit DUO that I was using as a shelter and¬†a fresh egg for Tomorrow … Ever so sweet!

So a simple camp out becomes that little bit more…

You go out with next to nothing and by connecting you get so much more!

And now for something completely different…First Aid!

I was thinking ..it’s time for an update, but there isn’t that much to tell right now…

Until this evening ūüôā a friend of mine and her husband went to Albania last week, and sadly “the man around the house” had an unfortunate encounter with a litle brick wall, earning him a serious scrape on his shin. (it was¬† a good one..realy it was ūüôā )

Normally scrapes are not considered bad injuries, as outdoors¬†people we always think about cuts from knives, sprains, breaks and bruises from tumbles and other horror scenarios¬†like that…

However, this scrape¬†turned bad, got infected and now caused the need for tetanus shots and antbiotics and lots of TLC, even though¬†I’m 100% sure the first aid he received was better than most of us would get ¬†when we are “out there”.

It was a bit of a wake up call, since I did have my own slip and slide down the entrance of a bunker several weeks ago, which earned me a nice few scrapes (not nearly as bad as “the man around the house” got, but enough to draw blood and therefore cause a risk). I slapped some alcohol gel on it right away (inventing new swearwords instantly..quietly though because there was a lady present!!!) but that is all i did.

So what im getting at is…we look at all kinds of worst case scenarios, but it is the little things that may actually get you. I could easily¬†scrape a shin out in nature and it could totally destroy my trip..so be careful out there people, use your head and when that little voice in your head says “no” listen to it! As a good friend of mine told me a while ago..”fear is a powerfull teacher” …that was after a face first tumble into the mud due to¬† “not paying attention”

So be safe out there my friends and use your brains.

grts

Hans