Hiking the Floris V Pad- Haastrecht to Schoonhoven

I had planned to hike Friday but a storm blew in and pushed my plans to Saturday.

I once again had the Hubby be my transportation to and from locations. Due to another mid day appointment we started our day at 05:30. It must be a passion to get up at that hour during retirement!

It was a cool morning at 3.5 C or 38 F. I layered in my wool garments and was even to the point of being over warm by the end of my 9 km hike.

The first thing that greeted me on the trail was the songs of thousands of birds coming from the Nature Sanctuary.

Haastrecht Nature Sanctuary on 1 May 2021

I saw this seriously serious birder but he wasn’t alone as I passed several with large lens at the start of the trailhead.

A birder with sound recording equipment.
The start of my early day.

The first part of the trail was hard packed dirt that was on top of an old dike. Off to the left with a good 20 foot drop in elevation was flat green farmland, to my right the bird sanctuary. Birds kept flying overhead either leaving the protected area for the fields or returning. Each take off and landing was filled with a chorus of bird noises.

While I was hiking the Hubby tried his hand again at photographing the birds with his small lens. Here are some of his shots from his morning.

A Reed bird that waited just long enough for the Hubby to capture it’s image.
These are only a very small sample of the number of birds that were nesting in the area.
A duck.
This easily could have been one of the swans I saw from the trail. This one was captured heading towards a landing spot.

After about a kilometer I hit a turn where the trail headed more South towards my destination of Schoonhoven. The rest of the hike was a hardtop access road for large farms that lined the river.

One of the large farms along the river front and opposite side of the river.

There was plenty to see in this farm country. Lambs, poultry, milk cows and beautifully groomed gardens. The sounds of chug, chug, swish,… coming from the dairy farms brought back memories from my farm life childhood. The hard work that never ends. Did the Dutch kids working this morning have big dreams of escaping to another country, or profession? I wondered as I continued hiking onward.

I passed a small family run park with an invitation to sit. I did just long enough to get a good swig of water. Making a note that this was a really cool area created by these people.

The entrance to this garden
One of the stumps that was aged at 2000 to 2500 years old. That was an old tree!
This park was filled with handmade benches of all sorts and beautiful blooming apple trees, but the view of the river was breathtaking.

I didn’t have much time to get back on the trail. I kept watching the traffic on the other side of the river to see when the “pace/chase/support”Hubby vehicle would pass by. Soon I saw him and he asked how I was doing.

Now the pressure was on to get moving and stop taking so many picture stops.

How could I not stop to take this picture?
Or this one?

One last place before Schoonhoven caught my eye and I had to stop.

A milk rest stop! What a great idea!!!
Farm fresh milk is available from this self serve machine! Awesome idea!!!

As I entered Schoonhoven I once again encountered the trail sign issue that seems common in larger towns. Not very clear what direction I should go with several trails, numbers, and directions placed on poles and mostly no indication which trail is the Floris V Pad direction.

I stopped, looked at my map, consulted my cell phone map, and at one point after going with the sign posted on a pole, got that gut feeling that I was walking in the wrong direction. Stopped again, checked again, back tracked and went the most logical way through town. That took me through the city park that was part of the old fort style city defense. These are easy to pick out on satellite photos as they look like large stars with a canal of water that separates it from the rest of the landscape.

While leaving the park I saw a group of women having an outdoor fitness class. I surprised them by stopping, dropping (with backpack still on my back) and entertaining them with four pushups. I laughed and mentioned I could do more if I hadn’t had already hiked 8kms. They all laughed and I am sure they had something to share the rest of the day of how some old American lady, fitness bombed them.😂😂

Looking towards the Schoonhoven town center from the fortress defense (now a park).

I was soon after at my end point, the Schoonhoven ferry boat.

The ferry boat just getting to Schoonhoven.

My hike of 9 km was complete. I went off to locate the Hubby, who was parked at a nearby parking lot.

Some of the views from my route.

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