Goodbye, winter… again

Three weeks ago, I made a blog post called “Goodbye, winter” as the weather seemed to be getting closer to spring. The first March weekend was warm and it seemed spring would come early. Nope, weather fooled central Europe (maybe more than just central) again. Snow showers the next week, the weekend around 17th being really cold…

I originally planned to do a March photo look back, but  this month is often spent in lowlands, searching for the first blossoms, often in vain and so there’s not that much to share. Two hikes happened since then, on 10th and 24th, both being similar: remains of snow in landscape that tries to wane into spring but seems to be lacking strength for the final push.

10th March hike

This was return to place I knew from past but in early summer. Short ascension, then a bit of walking on fields partially covered in snow, followed by  most of the hike in forests, hence only a few photos, even less worth sharing.

Still, it was a nice day spent relaxing outdoors.

Not being something that noteworthy, I decided that it won’t get its own blog post and thought that I might leave it for some retrospective that would focus on the area as a whole.

24th March hike

This one was quite close to the first one by distance, starting not so far away, but going in different direction. Despite good forecast the day started with a lot of mist and minimum visibility, not good when the hike starts near a lookout, from which we could not look far away…

I hoped that Murphy’s law would eventually force the weather to the original forecast as I intentionally left my sunglasses at home. Trick I use often when it’s on a verge like this, and one that often works.

This trickery might have a price to it this time as my early parts of the hike were made a bit inconvenient by some digestive trouble, but once that was solved, the rest of the day went really well. Diversity was not missing, early parts in the forest as well as fields, up and down. After a short stop at ski slope where the last skiers were using the very last bits of snow(I’d guess the layer at 10cm or so) before the season ends there (elevation around 500m ASL, above 1000 the skiing season might go on for a week or two more).

Eventually we reached a place that was greatly devastated by harsh winds. Crossing the deforested area took quite a while, it was over 2km, and the area was wide as well. It caused some challenges with marking the trail and I had to use my GPS and intuition to go on. Along the way, it lead me to think about some aspects that make spruce forests vulnerable to winds (especially due to dry years and bark beetle infestation, deadly combo) and the observation that most of those that remained were larches – identified by the tiny cones.

Due to the deforestation, I could look around a bit more, even though the visibility distance was not large. I believe that the photo above is roughly aimed at the place from the first photo, from distance of maybe 10km.

Eventually, the trail led us to a small quarry, abandoned and flooded when the mining went too deep and it was flooded from below. Flooded quarries turned into lakes are frequent, but most of the time it is by being abandoned and letting the rain (and snow) do its work over time, not by being flooded from below. By what we were told by our guide, some fool drowned a car there but being in shade, the lake was covered by a sheet of ice and there was nothing to see that would prove this.

Then followed a descent to the village that was our destination. The lower pace and mixture of warmer passages (fields or deforested + sun) with colder (in forest with snow cooling the air from below) made me drowsy and even a cup of black tea did not seem to rouse me. Having almost three hours left before departure, I decided to improvise and go for a small (original intention) bonus round that eventually raised the total length from 22 to 31 km. It was originally intended to be a stroll around the village but I eventually walked up a hill with transmitter above it, looking down on the village for a short while before taking a scenic route back down.

While I’d like this to be my last “farewell, winter” post this year, I can’t rely on that. There’s no telling what will come in the next month and show in mid-April might be rare yet I’ve seen that too.

Including map this time: orange is 10.3. hike, green is 24.3. original hike, blue is 24.3. bonus round. Zooming recommended for details, the default zoom level is far to make it easy to see both.

Closing thought: I might make a post about abandoned (even if not flooded) quarries in the hills of Czech republic and what kind of scenery can they make at some point in the future. They are not always just a place of devastation, especially if they are small and the nature is left to its own devices afterwards.

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