Winter’s reluctant end

I haven’t been writing about my hiking much in the past months. Partially because I was mostly returning to known places, partially because the weather was not that good for taking pictures – and I even forgot my camera at home one of those days.

But, the last few days changed it, at least somewhat.

At first, it seemed the winter would give up mid-February. While the hike I went for on 16th started at 0°C, it got close to 18°C around noon. But that was just a tease. The next weekend was cold again, only to be followed by a few warm days that abruptly changed into a November-like gloomy beginning of March and windy mid-March (the day I forgot my camera).

16.2.2019. Snow still covers the distant peaks.

So, back to the recent past. Two hikes separated by mere three days with weather much different.

Spring: “I am here.”

A bit of backstory: as the main train station in Brno is undergoing reconstructions and most trains are re-routed to other stations, most people curse the fact. I realized the changes make it easier to reach the area north from the city, especially the Moravian Karst area. And I know that place can be charming in spring. I did not aim for the most-known parts, instead heading for the area just west from there.

I sometimes think that taking close-up photos of flowers is a bit like biathlon – aiming for a small object while intense movement makes being perfectly still very hard. Of course, it’s a big difference between a 100g camera and a 5kg gun, not to mention that a camera has no recoil and that I can take as many shots as I want.

Pine woods on the slopes of the flood valley.

After taking those few pictures, I walked through a diverse landscape – rolling fields, mixed forests, pine woods, grassy flood valleys. As the day was getting warmer, it was increasingly more enjoyable, especially as the terrain was easy, until the moment I climbed to an overgrown ruin of a castle/fort abandoned in 15th century (the remains being some hints of a ditch and a base of the tower).

Path to the overgrown ruins.

As it tends to be my habit on warm (15°C+) hikes, I stop at an ice cream stand when I am getting near the destination, if there’s one. So, this year’s ‘ice cream season’ oficially started on 10th April for me. After that, it was up to a small lookout above the city and towards the train station.

Winter: “Not so fast…”

So, I said that day was 15°C-ish. The next was 10°C, the one after around 7°C and the third (Saturday 13th) around zero – only to bump up back to 15-ish on Monday. At least I am used to April weather trolling me. So, as the bus carries our group towards the mountains, it starts to rain lightly but persistently – somethning that’s only mildly annoying at first but changes once your clothes are soaked. Fortunately, it turned into snow by the time we reached the low hills. So, three days after very spring-like weather, it looks like this:

Lookout tower above Prudnik town shrouded by the snowfall

The snow was wet at first which made it only barely better than the rain we escaped by going into the hills. Even that was changing during the day, turning into a mix of snow and rain for a while (yuck), then a while of nothing, then dry snow – which lasted until I reached our destination and cared not for the fact the following hour was light rain again.

Snow-covered fresh leaves

To point out the change, I took the above photo of freshly-sprouted leaves covered by the even fresher snow. We encountered a few more mishaps such as needing to cross a small stream that was not shallow enough to just walk through (but I managed to cross it fast enough to ‘gather’ a minimal amount of water in my boots) and crossing an active pasture – a scenario I call ‘dung minefield’ since one hike back in 2004.

After the time spent weaving through the lower hills, we finally ascended the main peak, crossed the border (all hail Schengen agreement) and descended to where the bus would pick us up. At this point, I did not take any more photos as I knew this part of the trail from my 2016 visit and the peak (including the lookout tower) from even earlier.

Snow-sprinkled landscape.
What month is it?!?

Considering the weather is to be stable around 15°C for the next week at least and the fact I’ll definitely try to squeeze in at least one (preferably two) hikes around the Easter, it’ll be a shift back to a warmer days. Hopefuly the winter made its last move the past weekend…

As a side mention, thinking about the early spring and its charms made me consider to make a few blog posts about taking inspiration from all four seasons. No specific ETA on that, though I’d presume they might come in May. That’s all I’ll share for today. See you next time!

5 thoughts on “Winter’s reluctant end

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