It was our first camping this summer here in The Netherlands.
75 years ago today the Dutch citizens danced in the streets to welcome the Allied Forces, their liberators after more than four years under Nazi rule.
Each year flags are hung to remember that day and to celebrate freedom. This year the national day off was, well less than normal.
We took the opportunity to head out on our first canoe ride of the year. We both needed to be on the water, to flex our canoe muscles, to free ourselves of the four walls of the house. I am usually on the water for weeks by May. Either in Minnesota or here but the last two years have presented some challenges. This year I am guessing most of my readers can relate to the cabin fever syndrome.
He travelled to Hillegom, NL to a place we have paddled before in the Spring. The canals lead through the tulip fields and usually are filled with color and scents of blooms.
This was the first time we have had to place Cedar on our new (to us) VW Caddy. We were worried about how we would lift her to the much higher roof of this van. In fact we talked about it most of the winter, tried to watch videos of people who lift canoes onto higher profiles vehicles (no luck on that!), and finally came up with a system that seemed to work for us.
We love the fact that the VW Caddy has so much more room for our gear.
©️ The Cedar Journal, 2020, all rights reserved
So another year of canoe paddling is under our belt. Marking the official end to our season was our attendance this last weekend at the 2019 Dutch Open Canoe Festival held at the National Park De Weerribben in Ossenzijl.
Located on our route to our next cabin location was the Alde Feanen National Park. We had heard that it is a canoe paddle location with lots of opportunities.
For those of you who read this blog on a regular basis know, we like early morning or late evening canoe/kayak paddles for many reasons. This paddle however was only possible in route to our new location and so was going to be a mid day and hot (27C) paddle.
When we arrived we went to the visitor center to get the canoe route location. I am always amazed that people working these desks don’t have a clue about the water route locations or distances for paddlers. The route map was seriously the smallest map (in size) I have ever seen. I would need a magnifying glass to see the route. I took a picture of the only other map they had and it was under glass at the desk. The results were not great.
The visitor center has a nicer canoe launch.
Once on the water we saw we were not alone. Boats powered by motors and humans were sharing the water with huge barges and tour boats. It was crazy mix of busy water traffic.
This area of the country is where most of the natural ice skaters originate. We passed a very nice water statue tribute to that heritage.
We paddled for about an hour and never did find the actual 6km canoe route. After the paddle we saw that we would have to paddle down the busy shipping canal to access the route. This day was not the day for us. We plan to put this route on a future vacation plan.
We reloaded Cedar (with difficulty) on the car and headed to our next location Oudega, with another cabin on the water. But, that is for another blog.
©️ The Cedar Journal, 2019, all rights reserved.
Having a camping spot on the water makes it easier for enjoying a canoe paddle. We started our week with a short paddle of 4.5 km close to the camping. On the edge of the National Park Lauwersmeer we saw plenty of migrating birds.
Swans, white egrets, ducks of every sort and cormorants. We have spotted spoonbills and three black swans also.
The second paddle was on the West part of the Lauwersmeer from the small village of Oostmahorn. The wind made this a bit of a challenging paddle until we reached a protected island area. Not wanting to paddle back into the waves we headed inland to find a canal back to our start point. Only to end up at a old lock with no access to the canal on the other side. We returned the way we came. In the shallow water we saw some huge fish. I even saw a bass come straight out of the water vertically. This was a 6.5 km paddle.
©️ The Cedar Journal,2019, all rights reserved