After starting out the weekend with a fantastic cabrewing tour of Lauwersmeer, it was rise-and-shine at 6am on Sunday for a truly Dutch adventure: WADLOPEN. Wad = mudflat, lopen = walking (in Dutch. In Flemish it means running, which would have been ridiculous). While I've done my fair share of mudflat walking as part of my job in California and the Netherlands, I've never attempted it in a recreational way. We put on our rainbow basketball shoes and trudged 16km across bare mudflat to get to Schiermonnikoog, the easternmost Frisian Island in the Netherlands.
It's been a while since the Water Nerd (and the Naked Kayaker, for that matter) has made an appearance on this blog. But have no fear - a quick analysis of the blog data shows that there's always a huge spike in posting frequency starting in May, continuing through August. Let's hope that's the case again this year - we have some new kayaking destinations coming up soon!
This weekend the Water Nerd and her partner-in-crime, HJ, took a long-weekend trip to the UK (thanks Belgian Catholic holidays!). They visited the Thames Barrier in London (huge moveable flood barrier) and hiked the gorgeous Seven Sisters cliffs of Sussex...
As the ferry pitched over each wave, the ominous peaks of the Lofoten Islands loomed closer. Once again, I hadn't expected there to be snow: "They're islands! Being close to the water means we'll be warmer!" Wrong. The mountaintops were enshrouded in thick dark clouds. We had both snoozed through the nauseating 4 hour ride from Bodo. While we'd originally intended to stealth camp, we bee lined for the campsite next to the Moskenes ferry terminal. The price was right (160 NOK, ~$20), and the first of many squalls (super high winds and heavy rain for 10 minutes) was blowing outside reception. We'll take it! WiFi and a warm kitchen common space awaited us.
Our second adventure in Norway took us to some fantastic stealth campsites and kayaking and hiking on a glacier. What we thought would be a simple kayaking trip and glacier walk turned into quite a suspenseful event involving crevasses and ice caves. Read on... :)
Norway might be the most beautiful place I've ever been. It's not that there aren't equally beautiful places in the US (or other places I've visited), it's the fact that everywhere you go there are incredibly dramatic landscapes: fjords flanked by vertical rock walls, mountain tops covered in 3 meters of snow just a 15 minute drive from the fjords, glaciers, dense woods, and more that are constantly changing. Take this with a grain of salt: we've only been here for 4 days and driven about 15 hours from Bergen. But I'm excited for the adventures coming up, and also excited to tell you about the ones we've already survived (yes...).
Click Read More to see photos and read about the Trolltunga hike!
Sadly, my time in the Netherlands is coming to a close, but only exciting adventures lie ahead. In September, I'm moving to Antwerp (Belgium) to work at Flanders Hydraulics and continue my coastal engineering world tour. During June, July, and August I'll be wandering around Europe with a medley of friends.
Stay tuned this summer for a resurgence in posts! I hope to post casually every few days with anecdotes, photos, and of course, kayak posts. I recently purchased a tablet, so I'll be posting updates from the road. The posts won't be as detailed as usual, so expect more of a stream-of-consciousness.
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I'm hoping to paddle at least once in each country:
Norway - the Western Fjords and the Lofoten Islands with Bailey
Belgium - near Antwerp with Emilia
Portugal - the Algarve with Henk Jan, Emily, and Brian
Spain - North Coast and Barcelona with Emily and Brian
Ireland - Maybe a quick dip in Dublin with Emily
France - Provence and Les Calanques in Marseille with Emily and Alice
Switzerland - Maybe another paddling trip on a mountain lake with Henk Jan, Emily, and Sara
Italy - Cinque Terre, Sardinia, and Corsica with Emily
If you happen to know of good sea kayak rental companies in (or near) any of these regions, please let me know. It's hard to find quality sea kayaks for rent.
A lot has gone into organizing this trip, including:
Water nerd alert! No kayaking in this post.
One year after the deadly floods of 1953, which killed over 1,800 people, the Dutch began construction on the Delta Works - the largest flood protection system ever constructed. The "Delta Works" generally refers to 13 storm surge barriers (stormvloedkeringen) and dams (dammen) constructed between 1954 and 1997.
In a previous post, I described the Maeslantkering, which was the final barrier completed. Yesterday, Henk Jan and I went on a roadtrip through the provinces of South Holland and Zeeland to visit 3 more structures: Haringvlietsluizen, Brouwersdam, and the Oosterscheldekering. Read on...
Last night we crossed the Eastern/Central time zone and realized it was much later expected, so we pulled over and camped in the Squirrel Rapids Picnic Area, halfway between the Apostle Islands (WI) and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (MI). We were up early to the sound of lawn mowing all around us. After a quick stop at a farmstand for veggies and breakfast, we drove across much of Michigan's Upper Peninsula (the UP) on Route 28.
At Pictured Rocks we attempted to find a campsite at the Twelvemile Beach Campground (I'm pretty sure this is where Marika and I stayed 3 years ago), but all the sites were full (on a Monday!). Instead, we headed a bit further east to the Upper Hurricane River campground and snagged a big site where we cooked up an extravagant veggie-full burrito lunch.
This is a blog about exploring the outdoors (mostly by kayak), traveling, trip planning, and coastal engineering. It currently focuses on kayaking in the Netherlands and Belgium, but previous posts cover Upstate New York, California, and much more. See the Complete List of Blog Posts for a history of the site. Looking for something specific? Search the site here.
In addition to the blog, check out the Water Nerd section, where I write about coastal engineering and hydrology.
Email updates on new blog posts, about once per month.
Click the "Read More" link at the bottom of each summary for more photos, to see an interactive map of the route, and to read about the adventure.
Maps in each blog post: Click the icons to learn more about the launch site (amenities) and destinations. Click the square in the bottom-left corner to see an aerial photo behind the route.