Sunday, January 1, 2017

Return to Drenthe IV - Reestdal route

Reest stop

kp 4 -> 2 -> 1 -> 85 -> 86
Today is very warm and I would like to do a brief fietstocht to the southeast of Meppel, De Reestdalroute--or just a piece of it, then relax at the Engelgaarde lake, then catch the train home from Meppel. That's the plan.

So far it hasn't been so thrilling though it's nice enough just to pedal in the sunshine. As the name suggests, the route follows the meanders of the Reest along the border between the provinces of Drenthe and Overijssel. The Reest is, along with the Drentsche-Aa, the only 'original' river in Drenthe, in the sense of being naturally formed. But I've hardly seen the river except crossing over it. I have seen plenty of highways and suburban estates, with plenty of dull-ass traffic. Still, the trail generally follows paths shaded by tall trees which keep me cool in the approaching Austinite heat (up to 80F today!).
Halfweg (to what?)
(original date of this entry: June 4, 2016)
As opposed to my last two breakfasts today's ontbijt made me uncomfortable, and to make matters worse, I had trouble with my left eye, which made for a fitful night's sleep. Ron (in Appelscha) is a slouch but we had a relaxed chat. Hannie & Frank (in Dwingeloo) were very nice and did their best to converse with me in Dutch. Tryntje, though sweet, hasn't enough self-confidence, and her husband Martin is simply unfriendly. It was a case of, the sooner I leave the better. Of course they had stuff to do: looking after handicapped swimmers at a pool in Meppel.

-> kp 87
The route cuts south at Halfweg and immediately turns woodsy--this is the Boswachterij Staphorst. Mostly forest with patches of heath, here gentler, and a dirt strand runs through it, sunshine and shade, on and on. A+ cycling. Reaching the Boswachterij I decide to extend the ride, through the forest (to kp 35), then looping round back to the Reest for another substantial tocht on my last day. If I get tired, Meppel station is not far from here. 

kp 88 -> 35 -> 36
Outstanding stretch southeast through Boswachterij Staphorst, making yet another top-notch fietstocht. It continues through a corridor of greenery, trail littered with seedlings and small pine cones, getting rather dense and moist at one point. It is quite humid. The trail is a single asphalt lane much of the way. This is hilly terrain with variegated trees and plants. Heady aroma of pine. Blissful. There is a fair bit of climbing and coasting, nothing too strenuous. I'll have a bite and turn north toward the river Reest.

Why is McD's a landmark?
The woods stop and I'm rolling alongside big farm fields. Off to my right is the Reest basin but I don't see it. It is not so thrilling as the forest but nice and rural. I could've gone east at Lutten-Oever to enter the Meeuwen Veen nature reserve ('loofbos, droge heide, natte hiede, veenmoos' -- the last word translates as 'sphagnum' if that helps) or Takkenhoogte. I'll continue west to IJhorst, follow the north bank of the Reest, which is in fact the borderline betwixt Drenthe & Overijssel provinces.

After IJhorst and De Wijk, I returned to Engelgaarder lake the way I'd come but it seemed much more pleasant in this direction: a long stretch under a canopy of birches, then I found a little ice cream stand under an umbrella with a couple of folding chairs for your convenience. The beach I found was nothing more than a lawn by the lake bank behind a hedge. I found a spot by the bank for my mat and took a dip in the murky blackish water. It was cold and deep. I climbed out, lay on my mat in the bright sun. I liked this little beach and will certainly return.

The fietspad from there to Meppel station goes through a pretty park, and I reached the station in minutes. Getting around this land is still simple and fun. A great trip overall.

The old normal

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