December hiking: what season is it?!?

December had me go on two hikes so far – and as I doubt I’ll go on another one before the year’s end, it’s the time for the monthly wrap-up.

The first hike took place on 7th. After the warm November, the weather cooled down a bit – enough that it was freezing even in the lowalds during the night and early morning. And it started to snow overnight, at least in the hills, so it looked like winter might be coming early.

Bridge on the Slovakian D3 highway

We were dropped off in a small village near the CZ-SK-PL border tripoint – and the frosty roads covered by a thin layer of fresh snow were a nasty trap. I fell 200 meters since start, earning myself a lightly scratched knee. I was not the only one. After adjusting my walk style for the weather meant it remained at only one fall, at least.

Anyway, this was a return after 18,5 years. What was once a poor path between fields had since became an asphalt road – great for cyclists in summer but, in this weather, a treacherous slip-and-slide. And there’s a massive bridge on the Slovakian side which might be eyesore on usual days but it just kinda fit the ever-present gray for this time.

When we got farther from the village and were freed from the smooth surface of a frozen-over road, we were bothered by a cold wind until we finally reached the woods.

But, at the very end, we got a bit of sunlight at least.

The other hike was on 19th – and there was no sign of winter anymore.

13°C. In December.

What. The. Hell?

Yes, it was around 2°C during the morning but the moment the sun rose, it went up a lot. Even the first hill had me drop my hat, my gloves, and my jacket – and I still felt hot.

The town Štramberk with its tower – all that remains from the former castle

In the morning, it was quite cold once I returned to the dark side of a hill – because it took a while to disperse the lingering cold. And there were remains of mist around.

The hike itself was almost a loop around the hills surrounding the town – not that interesting by itself, it was something I improvised on the spot the evening before as I found out there was a direct train added a week ago and I wanted something close (because of the short days) – and this was a place I knew but took it from a different side and used different trails for most of the time.

I took it mostly as a symbolic epilogue, more because I felt my body needed a good outdoor stretching than wanting to go somewhere, less so when I walked 300km more in 2019 than in 2018. And the unusually hot weather matched the whole year.

As I am writing this, I am thinking about what (if any) goals should I give myself for hiking in 2020, more so when it seems seasons don’t seem to apply anymore – but I presume I’ll make a post about my 2020 goals in a week or two.

For now, I’m closing this post as the temperature is still too high for late December (5-10°C) and the rain is drumming on my window, which is definitely not the typical holiday spirit.

So, see you next time – and I hope the weather is better match for the season where you are.