With 2019 coming to its end, it’s time to start looking back. Today, I’ll share my ‘best of’ from hiking.
My original plan was to keep around the yearly 800km total – but as I’ve said in almost every post since late summer, that was blown out of the water – I matched my so-far best from 2016 (946km) in late October and reached the 1000km milestone in late November – in the foothills near my home, just near a highway underpass…
The coldest hike
While 2019 is not over yet, the fact it’s around 10°C now and the forecast for the next days is around 5°C, I think I can close this case already. Thus, this goes straight to the first one – though it wasn’t that cold, just somewhere between -5 and -10°C. But it was the only hike in real winter (damn you, global warming!). And it was on the same place as one of the two contenders for that title from 2018.
The warmest hike
Since I have no records, this is pretty much impossible to say with the temperatures being consistently high from April to late September. I can make some guess based on the amount of clothing and the amount of drink consumed – but both is affected by terrain as well. There were a few for which I went in sandals but that was determined by the terrain as well – even though they’re outdoor sandals, I can only pull that out if the terrain allows it.
It’s likely to be one of the June or July hikes but I am unable to say which one exactly. Final verdict: undecided.
The fastest weather shift
This goes to April. On 10th, it was around 25°C and felt like summer (complete with me stopping at an ice cream stand) while the 13th had the temperature drop to -2°C and brought some fresh snowfall – only to bump back to 20°C on my next hike on the 16th.
The shortest journey
While I like to travel far, sometimes I stay close to my home. This year, I went for a ‘hike’ – more like a relaxing stroll through the suburbs – that meant only one-way use of public transport: I walked to the local ZOO (~6km walk + 9km in the ZOO itself according to my GPS) back in early February and only used public transport on the way home.
The longest journey (by distance)
On the other hand, July had me travel as far as I could for one-day train trip. The longest distance crossed in one day was my 20th July trip to the are around Beroun (a small town west from Prague) – a 400km train ride (not counting the 25km commute to the train station).
The longest journey (by travel time)
Compared to the abovementioned, the 16th July hike had the distance traveled shorter (354km there, 329km back) but the second half was on unelectrified side tracks, which prolonged the journey: 4h35min there, 5h20min back.
(countless beautiful landscapes from this hike were posted here).
The longest hike
While 2018 saw me breach the 30km only once and only by chance, 2019 looked like there will be no such hike… and then there were 3 between mid-September and mid-October.
The longest goes to 28.9. – a 32,5km long hike that came to pass mostly because of the relatively easy terrain – half of it was done on a main trail that stayed in the 1050-1250m ASL range for over 15km.
The most difficult hike
While slightly shorter (31,5km) than the abovementioned one, the total climb reached 1824m and the descent 1754, leading to a score of 200,295 points in my totally made-up formula, breaching the ‘doubt your sanity’ barrier at 200 points and taking the second place ever. For comparison, the hardest hike of 2018 was 184,999 points and thus only in the ‘don’t try this’ range of 175-200 points.
The photo above (which I posted back when I described that hike) shows the landscape from the first peak with distance and arrival time at the major peaks. The peak with a blue label was reached in the hardest hike so far back in 2016 (222,161 points).
The wildest hike
As time passes, unexplored places are fewer with each hike. Thus, I’ve began taking one or two hikes each year that don’t stick to marked trails all the time, exploring the unknown places. This is something I need to do with caution – not only it’s on my own risk but I need to make sure I don’t stray off the path in a natural reserve (which would put me at risk of a ~400€+ penalty). So, by staying outside of the reserve, I explored a bit, visiting a few forgotten rock formations and small waterfalls.
And even though this hike was mathematically easy (by length and ascension within what I can do on a whim), the state (or absence) of paths in some of the parts made it an exhausting one, more so combined with the heat.
And I forgot my socks there when I decided to cool myself down in a stream and then took spare clean ones from my backpack. Duh.
The loneliest hike
As the return part of the ‘loop’ the abovementioned hike made used the main trail, I was not really alone for the whole day. On the other hand, I did not expect to meet almost no one back on 1.6. – after the rainy May, I expected the trails to be full of people.
Yes, I took a side trail to the peak and a shortcut down from it but I met only one group at the peak and a photographer at the waterfall at the very end.
The most challenging weather
It somehow happened that none of my hikes this year had really terrible weather apart from the ever-present heat in summer (and by ‘summer’, I mean from April to October, including both). No flash storm or massive amounts of mud – the biggest challenge was the end of October and the thick layer of damp leaves that soaked into my boots and pants – which caused discomfort but not a challenge.
And that’s it with my hiking ‘best of 2019’. I might decide to do a photography spotlight(s) but I am not promising anything yet.
For now, I hope your 2019 had a lot of nice moments and you saw some nice places.
See you next time.