I’m returning to the post from the previous week with the second part. So, let’s get to it (and the photos, of course!)
My second day hike ended with the clouds parting, and the next two days were promising. Thus, my plan was to tackle the two longest hikes I had planned next. But, at the same time, my boots were soaked. This left me with pretty much one option: take on two hikes totalling 55km in two days wearing sandals (sturdy enough for hiking, though) I’ve bought just before this holiday.
Day three: not-so-cold place
Now, a tiny bit of meteorology and geography. There are two places in the Czech Republic known for very low temperatures, especially during winter and during night all-year. These two places ‘duel’ for various cold-based records. One is Jizerka (which I visited in early 2010s), the second is Kvilda – which I was to visit now.
Kvilda is a small settlement above a vast, overgrown bog – which can get very cold. Even during the high summer, night temperatures can (and do) drop below 0°C despite the day temperature being easily around 20°C.
The meteorological observatory is, in fact, at the low end of the bog, which itself is in a shallow valley, making it perfect place for the cold air to get stuck in.
In fact, the Šumava mountain range is known more for its bogs, lakes, and rivers than the peaks. The bog at Kvilda is quite overgrown (at least on the edges – the place is a reserve where you can’t go too far – and if you do, then you’ll probably get stuck and turn into a coal in a few millions of years).
Yet, despite all the cold records held here (the minimum is around -40°C, July minimum around -3°C), the weather was around the ideal 20°C mark that day. After leaving the bog trail, I took a road bypassing it, passing through a blooming field with a slight sigts towards the overgrown bog. For the next two days, though, the fields were taking a lot of my attention.
Reaching the second settlement took a while, and I wanted to get some souvenirs there – but nope. The only chalet was still closed (I guess they planned to open on 1.7., with the start of school holidays and the main season). So I at least took a picture of the two horses nearby.
Then descended to a stream leading excess water from one part of the bog and folowed it for a while.
There were some rock formations around, but most of them were obscured by the trees, way too much for taking photos. A while later, I reached another major trail crossroads, and took a road towards one of the other (though smaller) bogs. During this section, I pretty much kept up with a middle-aged pair on bicycles – they got ahead on straight portions but the moment the path ascended even a bit, I caught up. Why do I mention that? Well, I asked them to take a picture of me at the bog, so I had at least one proof of being there…
But I also took a few pictures undisturbed by people, let alone my weird self.
Such as a single duck swimming on the surface of the bog lake.
Then, taking another maintained road – by the way, the main reason is the relatively flat terrain that makes it great place for cycling or cross-country skiing, hence the roads that are otherwise off-limits for cars (exc. search-and-rescue) – and made it well possible to take this long circuit in light boots.
From there on, I just finished the loop and took the bus and the follow-up train back to the hotel.
Day four: flowers and fields
The fourth day started at the same place. While the previous day was west-bound loop, this one was east-bound… knot? Anyway, the first place of note was reaching the spring of Vltava, Czech Republic’s longest river. Before I reached it, there was this slight reminder of the cold war divide between the east and the west.
The spring itself wasn’t up to my expectations – a bit overgrown. But I guess the true spring was, as usual, somewhere in the mossy woods around and they just marked a place where the ground visibly lets some water out with this sculpture.
I then crossed a low hill above the spring and headed towards a stretch of fields, stopping to take several photos of various flowers…
…before reaching the last bog of the ‘checklist’ – one that wasn’t in my initial plan and I admit it would be a shame to skip that place. Because if there was something that took my breath so far, it was this birch growing on a peat island in a bog lake.
But the place itself would be well magnificent even without that.
After that, I took a path that bypassed the bog from a side, across another vast field, which meant more flowers.
Especially this one was beautiful, kinda looking like a butterfly.
But the end of my journey eventually led me through the woods for a while, and I came across this tiny mushroom as well.
Little I knew that would be the last photo I took that week…
Night four: stuff goes to hell
To keep the reason short and without delay, I made a major mistake that caused me to wake up mid-night, sweating and nauseous. Long story short, I spent the remaining three days at the hotel, hoping this will pass enough for me to return home in one piece. Fortunately, the three days were enough.
If you wonder what I could’ve been doing for three days in a single small room… well, good I had my Kindle with me. I’ve decided to put the time to some decent use and read – some was pleasure reading, some was my WIP which I, for once, approached as a reader, without stopping every second minute to note down small stuff, instead focusing on the larger picture.
What this means is that I’ll have to return to that place to do the hikes I had to sacrifice due to the accident I’ve had – but there’s enough to see for another week at least, so I’ll gladly return in a few years – as I tend to visit different places each year, if I can help it.
So, that’s a wrap of my week-long solo (mis)adventure – feel free to comment or ask questions, and stay safe. And if you’re outdoors in the summer, remember to check the freshness of your supplies regularly.