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Climbing in Ibbenbüren

By travelleranto 2014.05.14 in Uncategorized

Do you like outdoor climbing? And do you live in Holland or close? Then go to Ibbenbüren. It’s a town on the border and it’s great for climbing. Only, I didn’t like it so I just did abseiling and hiking instead. Here’s a video we made of our climbing trip, the guys really liked it a lot as you can see. I mostly made the movie and took the pictures. Go Pro is the way to go! Click here to see our short movie!

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Easter adventure

By travelleranto 2014.04.15 in 20 Parks Challenge

Good morning all! It’s a chilly Tuesday morning and we actually had some frost over the past night. Argh! Not what I was looking for… Easter is on its way and since we usually don’t like gathering around a bunch of Easter eggs with our families (sorry guys) we escape the lot and make our way over to some place else. This time, it will be Zeeland. Not New Zealand (aka other side of the world) but Zeeland, where the word New Zealand actually comes from.

So what will we be doing here. Let me start by saying we have never been here before. Not really that is, as a traveler. Remember the 20 Parks Challenge I’m on? Well, one of the parks is located there. It’s also the place where the famous Delta Works are that are supposed to keep our land dry when all the glaciers on this planet have melted. And they are supposed to be quite impressive.

Around this national park, which is actually an estuary, there’s a long distance hiking trail, of which we’re going to do about 80 km. We’ll be hiking and camping. Fun times! However, if it doesn’t freeze. I planned to bring my summer sleeping bag (instead of my incredibly bulky winter one) but since it’s still really cold, I may have to change plans. After all, last year we were also camping with Easter – in the snow!

Have a great Easter everyone! What are your plans?

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Outdoor product review: Fjällräven Eco-Trail Jacket

By travelleranto 2014.04.08 in Outdoor gear testing

Whenever I go outdoors for a longer period of time I used to bring two jackets: one softshell that’s perfect for outdoor activities and one rain jacket in case the weather would turn nasty. After having done this for several years, I got tired of always carrying two jackets “just in case the weather would change”.  Recently I got the chance to try the  Fjällräven Eco-Trail jacket during one of my trips.

The reason why I picked this jacket is because it’s wind- and waterproof, and because it’s lightweight. When trekking a lot, lightweight is of the biggest importance. At the beginning of my trekking carreer I always carried way too much stuff around but by now I’ve learned to choose smart and live by the famous saying “less is more”.

Patagonia would be the perfect place for testing this Fjällräven jacket. Down there, it’s always windy (believe me, ALWAYS, I’ve been two times already and get blown away all the time, go here if you don’t believe me) and it rains a lot. I repeat: A LOT! Already after 2 days my jacket came in handy, when hiking out to Cochamó Valley (also known as the Yosemite of Chile) it was pouring with rain. As it turned out, the rain never stopped during the 48 hours we were there…

The jacket proved to be extremely useful when hiking through the Lakes Districts of Chile and Argentina. While walking along the shores of Lago Todos los Santos and while experiencing great winds (just look at the hair) at Lago Trafull. Also when hiking out through the rainforest to the Chachin waterfalls in Lanin National Park.

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During our hike up to Refugio Otto Meiling in between several glaciers it was extremely hot (yes, not all the weather was bad) but when the sun started to set, it cooled down immediately. To let’s say almost freezing point. Luckily, my jacket turned out the be on the large side so I could easily wear my down jacket underneath. As I sat down beside the glacier, I lived one of my most gorgeous sunsets ever!

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When climbing Villarrica volcano the jacket was just awesome. Even though it was cold as the wind was blowing like crazy, I could open up the zipper under the arms for some breathing. Eventually, I didn’t make it to the top because of too much ice…

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The final test for this jacket would be the cruise with Australis Expeditions, all the way to the end of the world. Here, we visited several glaciers that come from the Darwin Range, some by boat such as Holland Glacier, some by foot.

The itinerary includes several landings, including one at … Cape Horn! Yes folks, the southernmost piece of land on earth before Antarctica. It’s known to be incredibly windy and quite a few times, landings are canceled because of the extreme weather. However, we were lucky as the captain approved the landing. When I set my first step onto Cape Horn Island I pulled my hands up in the air and screamed “yaaaay, I’m at Cape Horn!!!!”. Unfortunately, within minutes it started pouring, the rain went into my face horizontally and onto the lens of  my camera which made photograhing almost impossible … Back on the boat, it turned out that the rain had entered my down jacket underneath, which probably had to do with the fact that my sleeves were soaked and my gloves were too. After testing it thorougly in the in the shower later on, no water came through. It passed the test!

I think you could easily say that I have been to the ultimate place on earth to test this jacket. The place where the wind never stops blowing, where you experience sun and bitter cold in one day and where the rain downs on you horizontally. My opinion on the performance of the jacket is as follows:

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– It’s windproof and waterproof as Fjällräven promises. I’ve not been cold at all, which is pretty unique for someone who carries the nickname “walking fridge”.

– The fit is very feminine. I like my jackets longer at the back so that when I bend over to (for example) tie my shoelaces, my builders ass doesn’t show.

– The color. I know, for some of you this might not be important. However I’m a woman  who does not grow hair under her arms or behave like a guy and still wants to (try to) look good. Even in outdoor clothes.

– The openings under the sleeves. Those are a must for me when considering a new jacket. When walking up, I always get extremely warm, especially when carrying a pack. Those zippers are perfect for making your jacket breathe. Whenever someone comes to me for advise on purchasing an outdoor jacket, checking for zippers under the arms is my number one recommendation.

– The hood is adjustable. Sometimes I like to tighten it when it’s windy, sometimes I just want to wear it to protect me from the rain without being strangled.

– The jacket is made from  from recycled and recyclable polyester which makes it the most sustainable piece of clothing I own so far. Thumbs up for sustainability!

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– The jacket turned out to be larger than I expected. I ordered it online but went to our local outdoor store to see which size I’d need. I was in doubting between size S and M but picked S in the end. As it turned out, this was on the large side for me when just wearing a t-shirt. For colder weather it’s perfect as it fits various layers underneath.

– It took quite long to get dry. When getting off Cape Horn Island I hung it up to dry in the shower (the very same one I used for testing) in the morning and by the end of the day it was still moist.

– The pockets work “backwards”, meaning you have to put your hands in from the front side. I probably just have to get used to this since I’ve never had a jacket like this before, however when I had my other zippers opened up it happened to me various times I’d mistake that one for the pocket and my iPhone fell on the ground.

Out of 10 I would give the performance of this Fjällräven jacket a 9. I’ve been a fan of this Swedish brand ever since I started wearing their G-1000 pants years back but now I know that their jackets are definitely value for money. This one has kept me dry and warm for weeks and will definitely accompany me on many more trips in the future!

This jacket was given to me by Fjällräven to test it for the Outdrr awards of the Outdrr community!

20 Parks Challenge: De Groote Peel

By travelleranto 2014.02.19 in 20 Parks Challenge

The 4th National Park I visited in my 20 Parks Challenge was De Groote Peel. It’s located in the southern part of our country and well known for it’s moors and marshes. Unfortunately we had quite poor weather but at least it didn’t rain all the time. Here is a photo impression of my visit to the park:

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Fave trails: Hanging Lake Trail, Colorado

By travelleranto 2014.01.09 in fave tracks

After trails in Argentina and New Zealand, here comes one of my fave trails I hiked when in Colorado last summer.

“Hanging Lake is a rare example of a lake formed by travertine deposition where the natural geologic and hydro-logic processes continue to operate as they have done throughout the history of the lake.”

(Confession: I took this off the internet, I could never have written this myself with my tourist-English…).

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Lonely Planet describes the trail as strenuous and steep so we knew were up for something. After finding a parking spot (which can be a real challenge during the weekends) we put on our hiking boots and up we went. Through a lush forest, along a crystal clear stream and across huge boulders. It was a great walk, not too hard (definitely not strenuous) and we were up quick enough in less than an hour. We only had a limited amount of time on this trail as we still needed to drive out to Moab the same day so we brought our hiking poles, drawing lots of attention from our fellow hikers but giving us more speed along the trail.

 

We had seen pictures of the end of the trail before but yet this didn’t prepare us for the magic we were about to see. When we made the last steps on the natural stairs up, this magnificent piece of nature opened up in front of us:

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After we took plenty of pictures, we just sat down for a while and enjoyed the beauty, ignoring other people and just staring at this masterpiece of mother nature. Just when we were about to start our descent, someone told us that we should hike up Spouting Rock, a bit further up on the trail. Here we cooled down underneath another waterfall and played with some squirrels.

 

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By then we had to rush down and make our way over to Moab. Although it was just a short visit, this trail will be in our memories forever and will always be one of my personal favorites!

Some advice when planning this hike:

– The trailhead is located 10 east of Glenwood Springs, take exit 8 on I-70 to get there.usa 2013_1 122

– Try to avoid the crowds by heading out early or during weekdays. When the parking lot is full there is no overflow parking area.

– The trail is a little under 2 km, the return trip took us about 2 hrs (without stops). The elevation gain is 320 m. Even though the trail is described as strenuous, you will find it relatively easy when you’re an experienced hiker.

– Definetely make the detour to Spouting Rock, well worth it, even if you are short on time.

Special thanks to Melissa for helping me out with this!

Do you know any of these short but spectacular hikes? Please share them with me!

20 Parks Challenge: Loonse & Drunense Duinen

By travelleranto 2013.12.06 in 20 Parks Challenge

P1000582It’s been a while since I posted here but it has been incredibly busy over the past couple of weeks. My personal blog is booming and I’ve decided to accept several writing projects for other websites,too. Luckily my 20 Parks Challenge is still marching straight ahead and over the past month I’ve visited two of them, so it wasn’t all sitting indoors behind the pc and writing. Today I’ll tell you a bit about my visit to Loonse and Drunense Duinen.

This park is located in the province of Noord Brabant, about an hour driving from where I live. The original plan was to go mountainbiking but since I still don’t have a mountainbike and our bike rack came down from the wall in our garage the night before and got broken, we couldn’t even carry one. So hiking it was instead…

The park mostly consists of shifthing sands and conifers, making it quite green even in November. The shifting sands date back from the middle ages and the tiny hills in the woods go back way further, to the time when our country was glaciated. Inside the park threre is a great amount of walking trails, all combined they make a 115 km long network. You’ve just gotta buy the map (or, in our case, borrow it from our family) and make a plan where you want to go. In our case we planned on doing a 10k walk.

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The first part of the walk mostly took us through the forest. It was a dark day and not too many people were out. The second part of the walk we wandered through the shifting sands, where there are pretty much no trails and you have to find you own way. This was the nicest part of the walk even though the wind was howling and it was quite some hard work for our calves. After finishing the walk we went to a cafe where we ate some Brabantse Broeder: a local delicacy. It was a nice afternoon out and I can’t wait to go back and do the mountainbike trail…

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20 Parks Challenge: two’s up!

By travelleranto 2013.11.02 in Uncategorized

It’s been quiet for a while, I’ve been busy with my personal traveling blog. The new version was released and I have been writing posts like crazy. I’ve traveled to London and Berlin over the past 3 weeks and have not done anything outdoor related, other than strolling around in Tiergarten and the runway of the abandoned airport Tempelhof in Berlin.

But tomorrow I’m finally off again for some hiking, off to park number 2 in my 20 Parks Challenge. It’s about time because in this pace I will never make it within one year. I’m going to Loonse en Drunense Duinen in the south of Holland and will spend half a day there (combining it with a family visit). The park mostly exists of pine trees and sand dunes but I’m hoping to catch a glimpse of the fall colors, too…

This picture was taken when I was in this same park back in February:
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Park 1: Sallandse Heuvelrug

By travelleranto 2013.10.13 in Uncategorized

Last weekend I visited the first park of my 20 Parks Challenge! The Sallandse Heuvelrug is about one hour driving north of where I live and I had been there a couple of times before. Our fave place to go wilderness camping is here, as they have a spot where it’s actually “allowed”. Not many know about it and it’s very secluded, so you don’t have to worry about being caught…

It was a gloomy day and I was a bit sad at first that the landscapes didn’t present themselves to me in their best way but luckily after about an hour of hiking the sun appeared bit by bit. It never got very sunny but good enough to take some nice pictures.

The first part of the walk I planned on doing took me through a forest. Some leaves were coloring already but most of them were still green, fall seems to be late this year. However I came along lots of beautiful mushrooms, the red ones with white dots proved to be extremely photogenic and I couldn’t stop taking pictures of them.

After the forest came the open fields, filled up with heath, sand and a lonely tree. Almost no other people, just me and my pack. I had a very quiet time, I loved this park. Enjoy the pictures!

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20 Parks Challenge

By travelleranto 2013.09.29 in 20 Parks Challenge

Today was a quiet Sunday which I spent cleaning (what needs to be done, needs to be done), running (I finally did a 5k run pain free run in over a year!) and writing. I wrote an article about wine walking for a Dutch website and spent a couple of hours uploading pictures to the new version of we12travel. And I figured out what to do next weekend. My boyfriend will be out climbing in the Alps (I know, he’s way cooler than I am, he is just not into blogging) so I don’t have to consider anyone but me. As the fall is setting in and the first yellow colors are appearing, I decided next week is bound to be spent outdoors!
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One of the regions I enjoyed a lot while hiking the Pieterpad (a 458 long distance walk that I’m almost done with) was the Sallandse Heuvelrug, a national park north of where I live. While browsing the internet for hiking routes, I found out there are actually 20 National Parks in The Netherlands. And then, all of a sudden, like struck by lightning, I got this crazy idea…
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I want to visit every single one of them. Within reasonable time. Let’s say a year!
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In the 30-something years I have been on this planet and in this country, I have visited just 10 of them. 2 Of them are in my backyard in fact. Well that’s not really true, but they are close, let’s say a 15 minute drive from my hometown.
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Whenever I get an idea I get really excited. My heartbeat is speeding up and I want to tell as many people as I can about it. So why not challenge myself to visit all the parks within a year? Visiting not meaning stepping inside it and take off to the next one, but exploring it properly by foot or by (mountain) bike. I’ve been in various challenges in my life, which I sometimes won  but sometimes failed, too. Some of them were reading 50 books a year (win), reading 75 books a year (win), reading 100 books a year (fail) and watching 100 movies a year (fail). Oh, and the Sixpack Challenge at my gym (both win and fail). Walking the Nijmegen Marches (4 days x 40k) was quite a challenge too (I won). I usually don’t care if I fail. I like to set my goals high,  challenges shouldn’t be easy.
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However, I should not underestimate my goal and definetely consider the following facts:

– I have a fulltime office job, only 2 days a week available for everything that I like to do (meaning other things than visiting parks, too!)

– I don’t always have a car available, many of the parks are tricky to reach with public transportation.

– I’m a social person. A weekend without friends and family is no fun. I should talk them into joining me on my way to success.

– I travel a lot outside my country. In early 2014 I’m off to South America for 3.5 weeks and more journeys will definetely follow. I will not give these up for my 20 Parks Challenge.
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Not counting the 2 parks in my backyard (as I go there often anyway) there will be 18 parks left on the list. That means I have to visit a new one every 2.8 weeks. Yes, that is quite the challenge. But I take it. If I win, I will be happy. If I fail, I will be happy too. Life is too short to be unhappy. Have a great week everyone!

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Fave trails: Fitz Roy Patagonia!

By travelleranto 2013.09.20 in argentina

Time to tell you about another fave trail of mine: the one going up to Laguna de los Tres in Argentina. The past week I’ve been busy at work preparing my presentation I’m going to give tomorrow about hiking in Patagonia and New Zealand. Although it was already 3.5 years ago I went to Argentina and Chile, it was one of the most memorable experiences ever.

My fave trail in Argentinia is definetely the one leading up to Laguna de los Tres. It starts from a small mountain village called El Chalten, located beautifully in the shadows of famous Andean mountain peaks such as Cerro Torre and Cerro Fitz Roy. The fun already starts when driving up to El Chalten, when the weather is good the views on the Andes are just stunning.

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El Chalten is a mecca for hiking and mountaineering. There’s a ton of trails to pick from for every level of fitness. I spent 3 days there and as there are no mountain huts (and I didn’t bring my camping gear on this trip) I did some day treks from the village.

The trail to Laguna de los Tres can also be defined as the trail up to the base of Cerro Fitz Roy. When in El Chalten, you have to be very lucky that the weather is clear so you can see the mountains. I’ve talked to people who had been waiting for days for the weather to clear up and hike into the depths of the Andes. I was incredibly lucky and the mountains were out of the clouds most of the 72 hours I spent in town.

Anyone who is in decent shape can do this walk. It’s just quite long, 4 hours up and 4 hours down along the same route. When I got to the first Mirador (view point) it was still cloudy and I was afraid I’d walk to the base of the mountain “for nothing”. The day before I took a hike to Cerro Torre and on the way over, that one was in the clouds too and once at the base, it remained in the clouds. The scenery was stunning, yet not as beautiful as it could have been…

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In the valley between El Chalten en Cerro Fitz Roy there’s a great chance of spotting condors. They barely touch ground so you shouldn’t forget to look up into the sky every now and then. Big chance you will see condors circling way up in the air, looking for prey. They are some of the most amazing birds I’ve ever seen. The trail is very good and easy to follow. From El Chalten you climb gradually through a lenga forest and cross some streams…

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And then all of a sudden you are in front of something that looks like a wall. The last part of the hike is a steep climb up of about 450 metres eleveation gain, on a rocky stairs that will take you about one hour. It’s may be quite the challenge for some but take your time, you will be rewarded. Breathe in and breathe out and just remember that you will be glad you did it, once on the top.view

Sure, I was out of breath and took my time. I had been told that the views would be gorgeous. I had no idea of Cerro Fitz Roy would be in or out of the clouds (you can’t see it from the bottom of the last climb) so when I took the last steps up, the view opened up and it was just breathtaking. Even though you are still 2.000 m. below the top of Fitz Roy, it still seems close. The laguna was still frozen but that didn’t matter. It made the scenery even more special. I scrambled up a bit further to have a look into the next valley with a view of Laguna Sucia and the Río Blanco glacier. And then I just sat down and enjoyed the beauty. Chunks of ice would break off the glacier and crash down into the lagoon below and condors were occasionally checking in. Realising the way back would be another long one, I viewed Fitz Roy once more and started my descent down into the valley. This was one of the most memorable hikes ever!

 

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nice to meet you

My name is Antonette (Anto) and I’m a 30-something outdoor fan living in The Netherlands. Traveling is my passion (hence the username travelleranto) and I like to spend my journeys the active way, mostly by hiking and camping.

If I’m not on the way, I work as a product manager for a Dutch tour operator specialized in natural destinations, such as Alaska, Argentina and Iceland. When not in the outdoors or behind an office desk, I enjoy writing (for my own site but also some Dutch websites), photography and reading.

website:we12travel
twitter: travelleranto
facebook:we12travel

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