By Konstantin Gridnevskiy

About three weeks ago, Konstantin joined the other 20 packrafters for a Packrafting Weekend organized by in the south of Belgium on the Semois where we met in the morning of the 11th of April.

Not everyone among the participants of the Packrafting Weekend were experienced packrafters. For most of them it was actually their very first time and they had to learn a lot even before they got into their packrafts.

As most of the participants of the Packrafting Weekend were new and inexperienced, Willem had to show the best way to climb into a packraft.

While that stretch of the Semois doesn’t have any notable rapids, there is a small #weir that caused us to pause and made many first-timers think if they could take it on.

Recently a number of other companies released their own versions of packrafts, which, surprisingly, look very much alike the Alpacka rafts. Coincidence?

A short excursion stop during Packrafting Weekend 2015 in the south of Belgium. As the paddling distance was not that long and we had a lot time, we had a longer stop. During it all who wanted could go and climb the top of the hill.

To take this shot and the one before I waded waist-high into the water. – Was not it too cold? – you may ask. – Not really, as I was wearing my drysuit

Away from the river, up to the mountain top | Having left our packrafts at the water, about half of the participants of Packrafting Weekend took a short 2 km walk to the top of the hill/mountain overlooking the Semois valley.

The mountains in Belgium might not be as dramatic as the Alps, but for a person who lives in the north of the Netherlands where even a one meter elevation is “a meaningful landscape feature”, the Ardennes offer great views.

After we got back from the short excursion to the top of the hill, we had a short lunch, regrouped and continues our paddling adventure.

Back on the water after the break, we had only a short distance to paddle on what I would probably describe as the most beautiful part of river that day.

Arriving at the place of the campsite during the Packrafting Weekend 2015. The organizers rented this place from the local scouting organization. What it actually looked like was little more than just a field next to the river, surrounded by a forest.

The camp is set. What’s next?” – A short briefing at the campsite during the Packrafting Weekend 2015. Once the camp was set, there were s few points that had to be discussed, one of them being drinking water. Even though the campsite was on the river.

Roasting those buns” – getting ourselves warm from the campfire during the Packrafting Weekend 2015. Unlike the day before, the weather that Saturday was not that great (to say the least).