Hautes Fagnes

The expression take a hike takes on a new meaning when I’m in this part of the world. Instead of being shooed out of some place where I’m unwanted, when I get asked to take a hike in the Hautes Fagnes region of eastern Belgium, I am truly being given a gift of nature.

I’ve hiked through this huge ecological reserve before, but the last time it was covered in snow and I got frostbite on a couple of fingers. During that experience, I was also unsure that I’d make it back to civilization before some polar bear jumped me (I know, this makes no sense geographically now but hypothermia can really mess with your logic). This time around, however, it is with a small group of people and a tour guide:

There are no physical threats out here on this lovely day (though the guide did note that possibly the most dangerous thing for us here on the prairies would be the ticks), unless you count magic mushrooms…

and lazy cows…

as potential attackers. I’m thinking the only danger here is getting distracted by the beautiful expanse and horizon…

and falling into one of the mushy bogs:

Luckily none of us stray too far from the path–except to take photos of this tiny stone chapel…

and the 4.5-hour hike has cleared our lungs and built up an appetite for a lunch break:

OK, so that’s what my group is eating–I’m given an edamame and quinoa salad.

The day is still young. Second part of the hike to follow in the next entry.


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