Hiking: the 2020 madness

This year seems to be weird world-wide, but for a while, the only way it impacted me as someone living in the central Europe was the unnaturaly warm weather.

Until February, when things went downhill. And suddenly, the fact this is my worst start of a year hiking-wise in a few years is not as troubling.

Damn the rain and wind

I’ve complained about the lack of winter weather this winter in the January post. February topped it, weather-wise. January was snow-less but at least it was relatively calm. February went all out with wind and rain while the temperature was bouncing up and down like a roller-coaster.

And with me starting a full-time job (and thus becoming exposed to the temperature shifts during my commute AND to new people) was a test for my health – one I eventually lost mid-month when I got a nasty cold. Knowing myself, I blame especially the wind. Just before this inconvenience culminated, I went for a short walk through the suburb woods but the weather – damp, dark, and windy – was not favorable for taking photos and so I returned home with my camera untouched.

A short turn for the better?

By 7th March, when I went for the next lowland walk (which I am not fond of calling a hike), the cold was finally gone. The weather was still a bit gloomy but I was glad to be out for a day again.

The weather was that day was still gloomy – more windy than damp, though there was a short (a minute or two) rain shower.

The walk around a river was relaxing and I spent a bit of it talking with some other hikers about a few places I considered to visit for summer 2020 before I broke off and went on at my own pace. The small town where we ended was a touch of a sad history – it once had a small spa built after a discovery of a mineral spring but the flood in 1997 had left nothing behind. Today, all that remains is a pump churning out a trickle of mineral water.

The former spa area

The world in lockdown

The Monday after, the weather took a turn to spring-like and I was planning to make a good use of it. I took the Thursday and Friday off and planned to go for one walk on Thursday and one on Saturday.

The first one I was considering was to visit the Polish town Raciborz and go for some sightseeing and it looked like the weather will be decent for it…

Chateau park after heavy cutting due to mistletoe infestation

…but the day before, COVID-19 had reached Central Europe. 5 hits in the town I wanted to visit. Cross-border trains cancelled until further notice. And so on. Having the day off, I came up with a back-up plan to visit my grandfather, so it wasn’t completely wasted (and I used the Friday for writing, so not a wasted day off either) but it was a hit in my plans.

The first chateau

Thus, instead of going anywhere far, I took a walk close to my home, which was not bad – I saw an albino deer (though from way too far away to take a decent picture – I tried) and mostly enjoyed the solitude. And, being close to my home, I was back around 13:00, leaving me with enough time for writing.

The golf course

Anyway… there were two chateaus, the other one having a large park that is being used as a golf course since shortly after the 1997 flood.

The second chateau

Yet, Friday already seemed to bring bad news for my hiking plans in the near future. First, the government banned public gatherings above 100 people. By the time I returned home on Saturday, it was changed to ‘above 30 people’ – which pretty much put all events of our hiking club on hold as we travel in a group of 50.

From there on, the restrictions increased each day. And the weather became weirder – as of the week I’m posting this, the first 4 days were fit for mid-April (around 18°C) but with the first Spring day, it dropped to almost winter-like weather with 0°C, cold winds, and even snow showers as I’m finishing this post.

The recent event also means I can’t make any guess as for when I’ll be able to go out again (at least when it comes to hiking).

Which, I guess, is all I have to say for now. Stay safe, stay healthy, and – if you’re in an affected country – stay home. See you next time.

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