November hiking: mission accomplished

November saw me go for two hikes, both returns to places I’ve visited before. It also led me to reach one of my hiking goals – but more on that later.

9.11. – Return to the roots

The first one led me to a place where I started with hiking. The second time this year, because I’ve already been there in summer with my parents, though the overlap between the two hikes was maybe 2km.

Anyway, the usual weather for early November is rain. Looking back, all the hikes I walked in the last 10 years around 10th november were rainy, with the exception of one that was… snowy.

It looked to be just the same as I walked to the bus stop in a light rain – but it went away during the ride (which was relatively short, barely over an hour). Given the record for November hikes, I would take cloudy over rain anytime.

A short moment of sunshine

The clouds eventually parted for a while when we reached the first peak and took a short break on the chalet there. From there on, it was a pleasant path without any sharp ascensions or descents through woods still reluctant to completely shed their garb – but in cloudy weather again.

November forests

It was the path I’ve chosen for the final descent that was the ‘trip down a memory lane’ – 24.7.1996 is the presumed date of my first whole-day hike (though its give or take a day or two) and the ascension was done on the same trail I walked down this time. Of course, it’s over 23 years so the place changed… but I still recognized the crossing where we were unsure about which path to take – back in time with no cell phones (let alone smartphones), no GPS, and even no paper map (which, I believe, we left at the chalet to make sure it’s undamaged).

From there, it was only a short walk left to the village where the hike ended. Now, about the goal: reaching 1000km on my hikes in a single year. After this one, I got to 997 km which meant I could take the next one easy, should the weather go bad.

23.11. – Poor twists of fate

Now, this isn’t so much about twists in my fate, as you’ll soon see. This hike (more like a relaxing autumn stroll, though) began in the lowlands near a train bridge that’s a bit interesting: the original one-track brick bridge was built in 1847 as part of the railroad connecting Wien and Kraków in the former Austro-Hungarian empire. In 1875, a second (stone) bridge was added with the second track, leading to the current appearance except the poles (added when the railroad was electrified in 1950s-1960s).

The brick bridge
The stone bridge

The two almost seamlessly connected bridges then went through major renovation in 2001 as the railroad was modernized to allow speed between 130 and 160 km/h.

From there on, we walked across the next village and towards the low hills. Some of us took a slight detour when we reached the highway underpass, walking around the highway (at safe distance, if you wonder – there are fences everywhere) to a statue built above it: a shepherd supposed to watch over the drivers. Here comes the first sad twist: the author and creator of the statue died in a car crash a few years after it was finished and placed.

Then, it was just a short walk towards the woods and slightly uphill, to ruins of a former castle. As many small castles in the present-day Czech Republic, it was eventually taken over by raiders and eventually destroyed by the kings’ armies to stop them. Since then, the decay began not only by natural forces but also by common folk raiding the now-empty castle for building materials, leaving nothing but a short sections of walls losing their battle against the nature.

The next steps led me across a ‘plateau’ raised maybe 100-150 meters above the level of the railroad and highway, with ocassional open fields providing a glimpse of the peaks in distance. Despite being late november, the temperature was quite pleasant (around 10°C) which made it quite enjoyable.

Then, it was descent towards a valley, to another place of poor luck.

The small ‘castle’ was built in 1908 by an owner of a nearby factory for his recreation – but the owner died in 1910. In 1930, after 20 years of disuse, son of the original owner sold it to a local forester, who then sold it to a company in 1960 for their recreational purposes. In 1994, a major company bought it with the intention of making a place for business meetings but those plans never came to pass and the place traded owners ever since.

A short glimpse of better times seemed to come in 2018 when the newest owner began a major renovation (which included the above-pictured dragon sculpture), aiming to open a medieval-styled restaurant and leisure park but the person was arrested (for various financial frauds unrelated to the castle itself) a short time after and the renovation is on halt since then.

From there on, it took us another bit of walking – up and down again – to reach a place with a few exposed rocks above the same valley.

Of which only in this place was the valley wide enough to take a decent photo. Then up again the last time, to a bunch of houses above the final town, where we stopped for a bit as the horses there were willing to pose for a photo.

Then a final descent to the town where the unexpectedly warm November walk ended.

So, that was my November hiking. While I’ve met my 1000km goal, I have one or two hikes to go in December before I draw a line for this year.

See you next time.

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