Squirrel!

Our last day here in the Ardennes.. Unfortunately that means extra work in the morning: pack everything, tidy the house and load the car. We drive off around ten with a full trunk, but are by now smart enough to keep the hiking stuff on the back seat, we’ll need that soon! This morning we want something easy to reach, since we’ll have a two hour drive afterward to get home. It’s been relatively quiet in the woods, so I’ve taken a risk and selected one of the most popular walks in this area: Promenade de la Höegne. I used to come here now and then as a child and spent hours in this river in the summer, moving rocks around. I recognize the start at least: we ford the Höegne river and park in the small clearing. There’s about ten cars at the moment, but judging from the police signs we saw by the road the last kilometre or so, forbidding parking on the shoulder of the narrow road, this must get really busy sometimes.

I haven’t downloaded a track on the Wikiloc app, but navigation can’t be very hard here: we start here at the Pont de Belleheid and go upriver until we encounter the Pont du Centenaire. These are two of the many footbridges that cross this river and that make this walk so popular.

We climb steadily, edging by the rushing river as it tumbles down over the rocky riverbed. The dark water color is because it comes from the bog and the foam is a natural emulsion of humus (this time I’m talking about soil, not food). Where the footing might get treacherous, boardwalks, wooden stairs and railings help you out. It’s not a quiet walk though, in both senses of the word: there’s a lot of noise from the water and we see a lot of walkers on the way. Once we get to the Pont du Centenaire we decide to take the high road back, suspecting it will be the most quiet (least visited). We’ve grown positively allergic to people, but we can relax a bit more on this road, it’s indeed less popular. We stop for lunch at the Belvedère, which literally means ‘good view’. This little shelter must have been here for ages, we see names scratched in the wood with dates as far back as the forties!

We continue down on the wide forest track, the sun has come out and warms this side of the valley but even so it’s pretty chilly for the fingers. Right after a friendly exchange of ideas about whether it’s really worth it to drag a zoom lens along, Arne spots a squirrel and a spotted woodpecker by the side of the road. This proves of course that it’s always worth it to take the zoom lens and I spend a few happy minutes taking photographs. Still no deer though..

Home around three, the cat is fast asleep when we arrive but very vocal when we wake her up for a hug. A bath with Epsom salts to soothe the muscles, hotdogs for dinner and another quiet evening at home. There’s still the weekend and I have Monday free as well, I’m planning to do some laundry first and then a day or two with my Mom to continue on our sewing projects !

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