Today, I’ll continue with a photo-heavy look at my holiday, with days 3 and 4. For these two days, the main topic was water.
Day three: taking it light (at first)
The third day had me wake up to remains of mist still clinging to the valleys, while the hills poked up from the white. The promise of a nice day, I’d say. The journey to the start of our hike was quite long that day, over an hour – it would probably be 50 minutes if not for many slow-downs and stops due to road repairs. The bus dropped us at the far end of Harrachov town, which was a couple decades ago the place of winter sports tournaments. To these days, the sad reminder is the sorry state of the ski jumping stadium (used for a world championship in 2014, so it seems to be a fast decline).
The trail ascends around the left side, just behind the jury tower and towards the lift-off area.
I’ve watched ski-jumping competitions a fair times on TV but standing there, on the defunct slope, truly shows how steep that hill is. Well, and walking up the hill. In retrospect, I think this was one of the steepest trails during the holiday but, after reaching the upper portions of the mountain, it levels out and changes into a relaxing, almost flat trail. This made it quite crowded – a lot of people just took the chairlift to the peak and then enjoyed the easy portion.
Which led around this rock formation. From then on, it was a trail gently weaving up and down for quite a long time, staying in the woods, so there wasn’t much to see, or take pictures of, for a while. That changed only after a long but light ascension and then descent around a side peak, then ascending back up towards a chalet.
However, the few moments where I could peek between the trees revealed that there’s a rock formation a short distance up and beyond the chalet. I decided that I had enough spare time to continue, so I went on.
The rock formation has quite unflattering name on my side (loosely translated as Swine stones) but slightly better (Three piglets) in Polish maps.
Since there’s a chairlift towards the chalet on the Polish side of the border, the place was quite crowded. As much as the crowds allowed, I took a couple of pictures (above) and returned to the chalet to start my descent. After reaching the valley, the trail continued along a rocky stream…
…with a couple of small waterfalls…
…and the final waterfall.
For a little trouble, I forgot my sunglasses in the souvenir shop near the waterfall. Fortunately, I realized it a minute later and returned to find them exactly where I left them. At that point, it was a short walk back to the parking lot.
Day four: the peak
The fourth day had us head to Sněžka, the highest point of the mountain range and the highest natural point of the Czech Republic (at 1603m ASL). The forecast wasn’t ideal, with a high possibility of rain showers and possibly flash storms from the heat. Thus, I had a couple of versions prepared – the intention was to improvise based on what the weather would allow us.
We chose an ascension through a valley I used for my descent back in 2014 (a story for itself I may one day return to), so I wasn’t taking that many pictures there. Compared to 2014, the new thing was that one of the chalets is keeping a small group of llamas. I kept an easy pace at first but started increasing it once the valley started ascending.
Nearing the top of the valley, I saw a face that seemed vaguely familiar but, focused on the hike, I couldn’t classify it. Later, it was revealed to be Václav Klaus Jr., son of the former Czech president most famous for two things: stealing a pen on a meeting somewhere in South America back when he was still the president (for which he was memed a lot) and his denial of climate change. Fortunately, I haven’t seen the former president myself, though some people in our group did. His presence wasn’t a coincidence, he is said to visit the chapel at the peak every year on that day.
My pace broke the small group apart during the ascension, but we knew to wait for one another at the peak to discuss the weather (and which way to go after). Since there was no hint of rain showers, we decided to choose the “lake variant”. So, we crossed the border and descended the north slopes. The upper lake was visible for a while during the descent.
As we followed the mountainside around a corner, we passed the first chalet and descended towards the lower lake, with another chalet near it.
After a short break, we returned to the main trail and returned back to “our” side of the border.
A while after, we stopped at a hotel. The entry room had a TV running a chain of promo pictures and weather report, which revealed the rain showers had bypassed the hills from the north, and the evening storms were delayed – we got lucky with the weather once again.
From there on, it was a relatively light trail for a while, then a sharp descent back to the valley where we started. With the first half over, the fifth day was to be a day of rest, with no organized trip – though I was planning a short hike near the hotel. And I was approached by one of the other people doing some of the longer hikes with me, asking if I’d play tennis with him in the evening, if the hotel staff can borrow us balls and racquets. But that’s a story for the next post…
Before I close this post, I believe I promised a map in the first post. I haven’t been linking a map for a while, so I hope this thing works…
…and that’s it. Even though the summer is nearing its end, I hope there’s still a lot of fun to be had for all of you. So, have fun out there, and see you next time.