January is rarely a time when I go hiking often – weather makes it challenging. This year, however, the challenge is in the lack of winter weather.
In 2019, my problem with planning extra winter hikes apart from the usual 2 per month was in the fact that there was a lot of snow and it was hard to find a place where I could reliably go considering my absence of gear for such conditions.
In 2020, there’s almost no snow unless you get above the 1000m mark, at which point it’s still barely more than sprinkle. The ground might be slightly frozen in the morning even in the lower portions but it’ll eventually thaw into mud, which is even worse than being waist-deep in snow.
The first hike of 2020 was on the first Saturday, as is my tradition for quite a few years already – and it was just like said above. Bits of snow lying around, gray clouds above, the landscape in misty haze, and the bleak colors gave everything, well… not maybe outright depressed but definitely a sad feel.
Thus, I was more than okay with the year’s first hike being mere 13km, especially as my digestion was still recovering from the hell of Xmass-NYE period.
Since then, the weather kept mostly the same – though there was more sunlight since then. It seems to be another dry year since the start – no rain and almost no snow even in the hills. Temperature? Stable around -2°C in the night, +2°C in the day.
The second hike, which took place the last Saturday in the month, led me to two places I knew well but never walked this way between them. The first interesting place was a spring that contains a lot of minerals that then create strange sediments on the slope as it flows downwards, and those then become overgrown by moss.
From there on, it was a walk through a village then turning northwards for what felt like eternity before we reached the hill on which the ruins of castle stand. Some of the trees in the cultivated woods around the castle hill are quite old and growing in strange shapes – or dead and kept there for as long as they will.
Despite the fact most castles/ruins are closed to public during winter, I walked up there, around a set of old trees whose root systems were exposed by the slow creep of the slope (photo above).
And found a single ‘resident’ of the castle…
… who was willing to get petted but refused to look into the camera.
As I still had a bit over three hours before our group was to depart, I walked across the town below and to a ‘bald’ hill opposite the castle hill but the ever-present haze limited visibility to maybe 10km.
And so, January was ended up being a bit underwhelming this year, when it comes to hiking. I’ll keep hoping it’ll get better the next month but… who knows with the weather going weirder each year.
So, that’s it from me for this time.
Stunning images as usual, Tom. That poor cat must have been freezing!
Don’t underestimate those outdoorsy cats 🙂 This one seemed to be either really fluffy or well-fed. I guess people going through the park won’t be against sharing treats…
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