Travels with Paddles

a sea kayaking journal

Axel Schoevers (Photo: A. de Krook) Name:
Axel Schoevers
Rijswijk, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

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!


derrick said...

Nice photos! I know what you mean about hiking stamina. I've been paddling all summer it seems but now that I'm back on the trails again I realize how little the paddling helped! :)

Justine Curgenven said...

hi Axel! I'm told by a reliable former postman who wishes to remain nameless that some of those mushrooms in your pretty montage should not be given to children!! ( where did you find them!?)

Axel said...

Hi Justine,
Unknowingly at the time of this posting there appears to be a tightening on selling "unprepared" mushrooms trough so called "smart shops" in the Netherlands. The pictures of the mushrooms in my montage were taken in a National park. By now I know that there are more than 3000 kinds of mushrooms in the Netherlands. In general, children are brought-up NOT to pick any mushrooms ;-)