Thursday, November 27, 2014

IJssel Delta - Day 2

I had breakfast with the three economists, two from Den Haag and one from Kampen, all in their 50s or so. Nice fellows but obviously on a different page from my own as regards cycling styles, all decked out in lycra with serious racing bikes. Every year they get together for a ride of 100km or so. They just want to tear up the fietspad. They were headed for Lelystad in Flevoland. I was planning a modest circuit of Kampereiland, then a leisurely ride to Zwolle.

(original date of this entry: June 26, 2014)

On the trail … Rest stop at kp 33 on the west "coast" of Kampereiland. A lovely scene on a warm summer's day. Directly in front of me a line of cows basking and grazing alongside a ditch, which points in the direction of Kampen's towers beyond the mighty IJssel. Yachts and freighters ply the broad waterway and the south bank is lined with factories and storage facilities. This whole section of the island is given over to agriculture. The smell of manure and silage hovers in the humid breeze. I can also see a major bridge, the N50 spanning the river. The cutest little beagle hopping around my legs.

Kampereiland-- the second part of the name translates as "island," though CuraƧao it ain't. It is only an island in that it is separated from neighboring land masses by rivers and lakes. Even so, until 1940 it was only reachable by boat. It is located at the mouth of the IJssel river, which drains into the IJsselmeer, the vast lake that was formed when a barrier was built against the North Sea known as the Afsluitdijk.

Ketelmeer, a buffer between the IJsselmeer and Kampen
At kp 35 I took the recommended detour to the Ketelmeer, one of the bodies of water dedicated to maintaining the water level between the IJsselmeer and eastern waterways. The Ketelmeer has a brownish tinge, and a high-tech drawbridge traverses it. It's nice and hot as I sit on the bank and listen to the trucks rolling over the bridge, but I see clouds taking up the horizon.

My plan was to loop around Kampereiland back to Kampen, then follow the LF along the banks of the IJssel back to Zwolle. When I reached kp 15, at the east end of the IJsseldelta route, I had a choice to make. I could continue along the route--which is actually pretty dull, no glimpse of the IJssel, just endless pastures, cows and agriculture, or go straight across polder land to the river, reaching it near Zwolle, a distance of 6.4 km across utterly rectilinear farmland (28 -> 7 -> 6). Or proceed down the Ganzendiep (left bank) to Kampen, a distance of 5.6 km--which is what I'll do. I wanna see rivers.

Door de IJssel Delta

Bright sun on my back but it's sprinkling. I finally found a good picnic table by the Ganzendiep (I have not seen a soul on the trails through Kampereiland) and see the dull brick houses of Grafhorst on the opposite bank. Now I will follow the LF-15, which hugs the riverbank to Kampen.

So I returned to Kampen along the gentle curves of the Ganzendiep, then proceeded (to kp 42) along the IJssel east to Zwolle. Now I have entered a nature reserve near Wilsum. It's a wetlands reserve where black-tailed godwits and redshank like to nest; warblers, too, breed in the marshy terrain. A geezer sat down next to me on this bench, told me he was 92 years old, and many other things I did not comprehend. He put his big binoculars to his eyes and viewed the stork's nest atop a tower that stood in a field in front of us.

The final part of the return to Zwolle was truly fabulous--pure rural splendor, with pastures receding from the riverbank almost all the way to the city. Even entering the city you're on a thoroughly rural trajectory, tunneling seamlessly underneath highways. Finally I'm going down a road with suburban houses, then riding down a bicycle-only thoroughfare--it's rush hour and full of cyclists. What a delight!

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