Snow and wind, walk with me

Another Saturday, another hike, this one close enough to my home I am writing about it on the very same day. What I went for this day was actually ‘plan B’ for pre-last Saturday, and so I spent almost no time planning it.

Also, in my last hiking post, I considered merging post about this hike with the previous one, but since this one is worth solo post, I’ll most likely return to my 17.2. hike on its own soon.

If there was one potential flaw of my plan, it was the fact that my hike was leading to a place that is usually crowded on weekends, no matter the month or season. Well, seems that it was not the case today. Low temperature (-10°C during night, going a bit up to maybe -5 in the hills over day), possibility of snowing (thus cloudy and little lookout opportunities) and wind (no one likes it in the winter probably) made most people stay at home. Good for me, I guess.

5 km in, snowing starts for the first time

This was also a bit experimental one when it comes to my gear. First, I took the summer hiking pants, ones I usually never take in sub-zero temperature. Second, my skiing jacket did not work out as well as I hoped the 14 days ago – while it can protect well from wind, the layering is not that good when it’s given a hell from below, and I sweat a lot at full speed. Hence, I took my new thinner hoodie (which I bought after that hike) along with the a bit thicker one and an ‘autumn’ jacket without the thermal layer. It worked surprisingly well.

Winter landscape just the way I like it.

Now, back to the hike itself. This time, I was going to a known place, using one of the last trails I did not use yet, and the initial ascension was quite calm. Just me and the falling snow, by that time not much wind, yet. That changed slightly when I got higher up.

Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of this field in summer for direct comparison

Getting to the 1000m ASL mark meant a change as I reached the first snow-covered field. The wind was maybe cold, but I was still going up, so it was not enough to cool me down. I slowed slightly just before the main peak as the trail steepens up a bit for the ending, and now that I was there, I could feel the wind quite a lot. Originally I hoped to send my family a picture of the wooden chapel built there as it’s quite easily identified landmark in the region, but in the intense side wind, I doubted I’d make a decent phone picture. Eventually, looking at my frozen beard, I broke one of my habits: not taking a selfie.

IMG_20180224_103128.jpg

Frozen “smile” prototype

Since I was ascending still at least somewhat covered by the landscape as the wind was coming from the other side, I was going up without sunglasses (which, for that day, could be called windglasses, or something). After maybe two minutes spent standing there I decided that for this wind, it would be worse going without them than with them, as I was now walking right against the wind, which was sending huge snowflakes into my eyes.

Almost empty trail, a rare sight on a weekend

As I mentioned, it had one big advantage: the usually busy trail (which is, in fact, 3m wide asphalt road here, even if off-limits for any vehicles except delivering supplies to the hotel or search-and-rescue) was quite empty, even cross-country skiers being rare.

God of harvest under snow.

After three kilometers, I reached another well-known place, the statue of Slavic god Radegast, his role being god of harvest. Makes it quite nice irony to see it covered by snow. It was funded by brewery of the same name, who has his head in the logo and the hill on which is stand was by historical accounts, place of worship to this god until some 10th century when the converting to Christianity began. Whether or not the hill itself has any name I don’t really know, because everyone knows it because of that statue anyway.

 

To the right (off the photo) is small shack selling warm beverages and such, but for me it’s important because there’s a thermometer nailed to the side, which gave me the chance to compare with the hike I made here 18.1.2016 – that day it was -12°C but without wind, making today’s windy -10°C feel much colder.

Among the people going around (still not in the amount usual here), a group of two girls followed by two boys came, the boy entertained by the bits of frost in the girl’s hair. Well, he had lot of fun seeing my frozen beard. I left them shortly after, happy that I maybe made someone’s day and went on. One more kilometer on this trail, then I took a turn northwards and started my descent on a road quite similar to the previous one, in summer used for downhill drives on terrain scooters (I would probably kill myself in the first turn if I tried that), conveniently available to be borrowed on the spot for a fee.

Supposedly, it was used as a way to cross the hills even with carriages in past (of course, they did not have asphalt in that times), but for now it serves mostly cyclists and hikers (and the adrenaline seekers on scooters). Of course today, no one could see that the road was repaired this summer, because it was under snow, and everyone going around was probably grumpily wrapped in hoodies and whatnot as the snowing and wind were quite harsh at that moment.

I went quite close to the water, but it does not look as good as I wished

After finishing this descent, what I had left was a bit over hour of walk below the hills to reach the train station, which was quite pleasant walk. One or two times, it looked like the clouds would tear apart and let some sunlight in, but that changed fast and returned back to intense snowfall.

Last minute shot. It was lost in clouds again very fast.

Eventually, I managed to take this shot of one of the front peaks when I reached the last trail crossing, finally turning away from the hills. At that point I slowed down, having some 2km to go with close to full hour for that.

And that ended another winter hike. In the end, it stretched to roughly 25km, partially because of the ending. And for once, I have intact GPS log (for the hike two weeks ago, my GPS powered off halfway in for some mysterious reason, bah), so here comes the map.

And that’s it for today.

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