Last week Friday I hiked a short section of the Floris V Pad (read that blog here), while I was busy hiking the Hubby found he had parked next to a Nature Sanctuary filled with all sorts of birds. This is a photographic selection of his adventure.
First, I think this was the most entertaining of his adventure.
That adventure file is now empty. We are off on another adventure today. Product testing a new Kelty tent overnight at a local campground.
I started hiking the Floris V Pad in 2017 on a cold, windy day. I trekked first across the landscape to my start point in Weesp on public transport. You can read about my start to this hiking self challenge, Floris V Pad Weesp .
My Totals for the Floris V Pad including this hike:
Oudewater to Haastrecht – 8 kms
Total hiked Floris V Pad to date – 75.8 kms
Total distance for Floris V Pad 244 km from Amsterdam to Bergen op Zoom
Total distance to accomplish – 100 km (153 km per sign at end of this blog… ?!)
This week, that trip across the countryside was made easier with the Hubby as chauffeur and personal hiking support team. Details of all he was required to accomplish was kept from him as a surprise so that it would encourage his help. He dropped me off 80 meters from my start point in Oudewater.
The last time I was in Oudewater was in August 2019. I then had just completed my last section of this hike on the Floris V before COVID came along and placed my 2020 hiking plans to finish Floris V Pad on temporary hold.
As I started on my trek through the quiet streets of Oudewater I instantly found a photo opportunity for my “Hummm file”. This is always a good sign for an interesting hike. My readers will have to wait for another Hummm… blog post for that great reveal.
The first section of this trail took me along the Hollandsche IJssel River. This small but well maintained hiking path was quiet and picturesque of the Green Heart of Holland landscape. Large old farms lined the river mixed with new homes on large parcels of land. Gardens of all sorts gave me a view into these private areas along the trail.
Not far outside of Oudewater I came along my first person of the day out walking his dog. He almost passed by with no more than a normal greeting until I guess he saw I was a hiker. Then he made the statement it was a beautiful day for a hike! I turned and had a very nice conversation with “Gert” who has lived in Oudewater his entire life and also enjoys hiking. It was nice to have such a welcoming conversation with him and gave me a good feeling about this section of the country. He was not the last person on this section of the trek to engage in conversation with me.
I got into my hiking rhythm and was pinged. The Hubby was at the endpoint. I got the feeling I needed to hike faster. But, I didn’t, as I knew he would go for a bike ride instead of just waiting for me to finish.
As I walked, the sun warmed me as I was so very thankful for having this moment of solitude hiking. I have missed my outdoor activities so much during the last year and this hike felt normal and refreshing.
As I got closer to my crossing point over the river, houses started getting closer together. Still farming country, but smaller tracks of land. At one point I came to a camping area where several campers were already preparing for a day of activity in the beautiful weather.
As I approached the bridge, I saw other hikers sitting enjoying a cup of coffee next to the river. Obviously, I wasn’t the only one taking advantage of the beautiful weather.
As I crossed the bridge I felt like I was being followed. When I turned around no one was there and I laughed at my sixth sense failure. Crossed the busy street and continued on my hike. But, I couldn’t shake the feeling of being followed and once again turned and saw a lady walking her dog behind me.
“Nothing unusual there!” I thought to myself.
As I got to what I thought was my turn in the trail I looked for the marker and as usual it was as clear as mud. This is where a good look at the map helped. Now, the lady who was walking her dog caught up with me and asked if I was hiking the Floris V Pad. I am sure shock registered on my face as this was the first person in all my hikes that seemed to know it existed. I confirmed that I was and we had a very nice conversation to my next turn off point. Her and one of her friends have completed several sections of the Floris V Pad as well and it was nice to converse with a kindred soul about the trail.
This last section of the hike took me through flat farm fields. Flocks of sheep dotted the pastures and all sorts of birds were singing Spring songs.
There were also more hikers and an occasional runner along this stretch of trail. I got a text message that the Hubby was just up ahead and I was heading towards a bird sanctuary. He was busy capturing bird pictures.
So I captured my own. Some friendly swans.
I was able to ask one of the hiking couples to take a picture of me. So much nicer than a selfie. Thank you for the kindness of fellow hikers.
Not much further I saw a man with a camera pointed at me.
“Hey! I know that guy!” The Hubby was heading towards me.
We hiked together to the nature sanctuary and then on to the car where we had a nice camp lunch.
We have more planned adventures for the coming weeks.
Are you planning some adventures?
We would love to hear about them in the comment section below.
As the title states this is one of those Hummm files. I needed to make room as it seems the universe (even though still on lockdown restrictions) knows I needed some hummm… to ponder.
March ended as the hottest day ever recorded in The Netherlands for the month of March. That didn’t last long as April has thrown everything at us and sometimes that was in a manner of minutes!
The frogs in our small pond have not been deterred. Hummm… I guess we built our pond to provide a spa day for the frogs and any bird that needs to take a shower before finding a mate.
Bob is our newest follower. I am still amazed that we attract new subscribers after all these years and limited scope of our site. Welcome Bob! Thanks to all of you who continue to visit and comment on our site. Your support is hummmm… inspiring!
Then there are things that just make you smile. Recently I have been finding all sorts of painted rocks while out on my walks. The hummm… was engaged. Was it a artist? Most likely not, I figured, as they were in strange locations like a limb of a tree. Some were painted on both sides, some painted on only one side.
Rock mystery was partially solved when another walker explained she had read that some parents/children had painted the rocks and then geocached them around town. What a great idea!
Yes! It finally happened. Our first canoe paddle of 2021. You can read about our other first yearly season paddles here, here, and here.
We had kicked around a lot of ideas this Spring as to where our launch point would be. As always, do we go someplace new or just dump the boat in a known location? Our old winter torn bodies determined that we chose an old favorite location in the small town of Hillegom.
This time of the year the flower fields near Hillegom are always a nice quiet paddle and the air is filled with the floral sense. Just the right combination of canal paddling to ease the muscles back into shape.
With COVID still sky high here we took the precautions needed to stay away from other people.
After unloading the canoe at the launch site I guessed that seeing a large rat would be the highlight of the trip. A bit concerning seeing a rat hanging out at the launch site but he wasn’t thin as I am sure the nearby school was providing a good amount of food for his COVID kilos.
Once on the water we headed towards the North and right into the wind. Our arm paddle muscles barked from the lack of winter use. We didn’t get far into our excursion when we were stopped by a barrier placed in our path. For some reason this canoe path was closed and won’t be opened until 15 April.
We turned around and headed South. The rat was happily sitting by the launch sight and I think I heard him laugh as we paddled in the opposite direction.
We slowly got into our paddle rhythm and started noticing the changes from our last paddle here last Spring. Although we were a bit disappointed that the fields were not in full bloom. I had to remind myself that it is still about three weeks before the normal mid April tulip bloom. But, even then it might be less than in years past as we saw a number of fields sitting empty of any bulbs.
As we were enjoying the sites I noticed a pair of swans up in front of us and warned the back of the boat. This time of the year can be tricky when coming upon swans as they are very territorial in the mating and nesting season. Not the first time we have had to give clearance to the large birds as we paddle. Suddenly, one of the large birds starting running across the water with wings flapping right for me! What to do? There was a small sense of concern from the back of the boat, but not the level of concern I was feeling as my heart jumped into my throat and I lifted my paddle out of the water getting ready for a large white water fowl to place itself in my lap! At the last possible minute it hit the water to the left hand side of the boat not more than a five feet from me!
Now a level of appropriate concern came from the stern of the boat.
“Paddle hard! Paddle fast!”
As I put all my power into the paddle I peeked back at the Hubby who now was paddling hard as the swan was with almost no effort was swimming not more than 3 feet off the bow of the boat.
“Hell, that bird is keeping up with us!” I replied
Once the swan figured we were out of his terriorty we slowed.
“Wow, that was a first for me!” I said. In all my years of paddling, I had never actually been almost attacked by a swan. I have always respected them and gave them distance when I saw them as I had heard stories from other paddlers. Now I had a story to share too!
We continued down the canal and towards De Zilk fighting wind gusts that always blow off the sea in this canal. When we reached De Zilk and saw that the fields there were also not much to see we turned and headed back towards the launch.
The swans were waiting…
This time he tried a different tactic. Look like he was going to be friendly. swim up to the boat and them make yourself small like a floating ice burg (she won’t notice a thing until it is too late!).
We already had a plan. Paddle as fast as we could past the pair of swans.
As we paddled the back of the boat once again was shadowed by the swan for a few hundred yards.
My heart rate was elevated from the entire encounter.
As we eased our way back to the launch site we laughed about the situation. A short quiet paddle. Sure!
Pulling up to the launch pad we reflected on our first paddle of the 2021 season. We are grateful for the experience and that we are still able to enjoy some adventures even those that are unexpected.
We had a short escape recently to Limburg. The beady eyes are from the EMU that lives down the street from the Meen’s B&B where we stayed. I surprised myself, how just a few hours outside the house on a road trip made me feel a little less stressed about the restrictions we are still under.
The problem is that where we live is very populated. People are stacked ontop of each other. Normally the crowded conditions don’t bug me, but after a year of being mostly in our bubble of the house and garden it has me feeling a bit of “Minnesota winter cabin feverish”. We embraced the outing.
When we woke the next morning we had a light frost on the grass.
Now back in Amsterdam, the Spring season has started and I am busy with starting plants for the volunteer garden. Spring is everywhere…
So the seasons change here as in the rest of the world. We are still on restrictions for at least until 23 April. Then… who knows?
Hopefully when we get our vaccination (now predicted June). A bit more freedom of movement. I would just like to walk down the sidewalk without fearing that someone will breath on me and get me sick.
We are setting our eye on our first canoe paddle for next week. Fingers crossed.
Stay safe everyone and let us know how things are in your world in our comments section as we love hearing from all our blog followers.