Season of the falling leaves

While most of us want to head out to explore far away islands to get away, Karien, who lives and works on an Island, every once in a while wants to explore the mainland.

On 14 October, a truly gorgeous Autumn day, we went hiking around the Naardermeer; a 19 km roundtrip. The Naardermeer is one of the very few natural and un-drained lakes in the Netherlands. There was an effort to drain the lake from 1883, but after three years the effort was given up. It was economically not viable; too much water kept flowing in from beneath.

The trail leaflet advised to wear proper hiking boots for the swamp-like terrain that we could encounter. Thus there I was wearing my sturdy hiking boots, last worn in 1993 on my last Alaskan backpacking trip. We are amazed by the enormous variety of mushrooms alongside the trail. We do not make much progress because we stop quite often to make pictures of them. The Dutch have something with mushrooms.

Wearing my hiking boots was not a good idea. First of all, we do not encounter any swamps and secondly, I am not used to these boots anymore. In fact they are now too small. I was used to hiking with a 20+ kilo back pack all day in these boots. But that was then this is now. These worn soles are on their last hike. During lunch alongside the river Vecht, I spot a swimming Ringed Snake (Natrix Natrix). Not much birdlife other than gathering Geese.

My first ever kayaking trip was 25 km distance on canals. I did not think much of that distance because I thought paddling would be easier than hiking... I could hardly lift my paddle at the end of that first trip. Now I feel that my hiking stamina has lost some of it's edge.

A beautiful Autumn "spirit enhancing" hiking day it was!

Sunday 14 October 2007

© A.M. Schoevers