As I mentioned in previous posts about hiking at Connecterra, there are several colored trails available and that I would be exploring them all!!! This post will cover the YELLOW trail which is about 11.5km and the map indicates a 3 hour hike but depending on your pace you can do it quicker (we did!).
My brother actually came with the idea to go for the yellow trail last Sunday as he could use the practice (training for a very big walking challenge) and it’s good to be outside in the fresh air. I’ve always been hesitant on going for the yellow trail because of the steepness of the climb as well as the fact that you have to hike up both the Double Terhill and the Long Terhill which is not for the softies among us 🙂
So as usual, you start at the entrance of Connecterra (main gate of National Park Hoge Kempen in Flandres) and make sure we’re following the Yellow indicated markers. In the beginning, you can follow the Blue, Red or Yellow markers as they take the same route up until the Blue one takes a turn right (to hike up the Long Terhill) and you have to go straight for Red and Yellow trails. Here, you’ll walk along the lake which is partially covered so you get some shades but the views of the Double Terhill as well as Long Terhill are really amazing!
At a certain moment, the Red trail goes right and continues along the water, but for us, we had to go straight to continue the Yellow trail up the hill. We were all a bit nervous as we didn’t really know what was to be expected, but we were all in a good mood even though it was sooo cold! Our overall pace was quite high, but the moment we saw the hill we had to climb my mother and I slowed down quite a bit especially to take our breath from time to time. We came across several folks that were heading down on the trail while we’re heading up, and they kept on telling us it’s still a way to go and it’s tough but the views on top are just OMG and WOW… So that gave us the spirit to keep on going until we made it to the top! And those folks were not kidding… the views on the first of the Double Terhills are absolutely breathtaking!
From here, we had to go down a little bit before climbing up the second of the Double Terhills. This was not as tough as the first steep and lengthy climb, so we were a bit faster. From here, the views are also amazing and on a sunny day, you can even spot the Terhills of the other mines in the area (Winterslag or Genk).
After taking in the views and resting a bit, we still needed to climb down again, and continue our trail. Going down is usually the best part or the fastest but coming down from such a high altitude is quite intense and you always need to be careful where you put your foot in order to not injure yourself. Once we made it down, we continued the trail where Red and Yellow come together again. At a certain moment, the Yellow trail deviates again and takes you through a small creek area that is quite covered and not known unless you follow the yellow trail. Eventually, you end up on the Blue trail where it starts its climb up the Long Terhill. Here, my mother and my future sister-in-law decided to call it quits and they headed down towards the entrance, while my brother and I decided to finish the yellow trail completely. It was getting darker and colder, but we like the adventure and if we commit to something, we have to see it through!
So we headed up the Long Terhill, which I’ve done several times before (you can read my post on it here), but the panoramic view on top continues to be one of my favorites! Of course, we had to take in the views for a bit before heading down again towards the entrance/start/finish…
The last couple of km of the trail are the easy bit as it’s quite flat and you can take it easy after having climbed up 2,5/3 Terhills. The moment you see the two old mine shafts called Bellefleurs, you know you’re close to the finish and seeing them with the moon above is really a perfect ending of a tough hike!
This concludes my adventures of the Connecterra trails, so I hope you enjoyed reading about the different trails and how I experienced them. Let me know in the comments if you’ve tried any of these trails and what you thought about them?
Continue to follow along my adventures as there are still quite some hiking trails to be discovered 🙂