Friday, October 12, 2012

Planetenpad België


I have another Solar System Hike under my belt, huzzah!

While in Europe this past month attending SpaceUpEU in Belgium, I discovered the wonderful nature trail dotted with planet markers near the Genk Cosmodrome, listed on my Map of Scaled Solar System Hikes!

On my last walk through California's Valley of the Moon, I had a long upward hike through rocky terrain to reach Pluto on a small peak. I didn't get quite the hefty workout this time, as the nature trails in Kattevennen National Park are quite tame... but it was definitely still worth the the time and novelty.

This time, I was able to go through with multiple friends also attending SpaceUp, and a serious mascot posse, Venus Barbie, Chris Hadfield 2D and CamillaSDO.  After a stop at Mercurius, Venus Barbie was, of course, happiest on Venus... but none of us were too impressed with Aarde, being STUCK on it and all.

Toward the end of the short, paved path showing the rocky, terrestrial planets, we came to the Planetoïden (asteroïden)... in other words, the Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter, and the latter marker required a sharp turn from west to the north, through deeper forest and ravines.

Leaving the paved path, we hiked through longer and longer gaps to see Saturnus, Neptunus and Uranus.  Each area was chock full of gorgeous trees, ferns, wild raspberry bushes and a smattering of autumn flowers. Only one question remained... should we keep hiking?  Many of the owners of scaled hikes around the world have been removing Pluto since its demotion...

...but no, clearly we'll dealing with fans of the 9-planet solar system!  Pluto and a final Planetenpad stansion designated the very end of the path at about the 1.3-kilometer mark.  It was a mad dash back to the Cosmodrome (good cardio!) for the rest of the conference, but it was a fun 2.6 exploration!  To see the entire gallery, check out the Pillownaut Picasa Solar Hikes album...