Hiking: off the beaten path

In today’s post, I’m looking back at two hikes from late summer – while a couple weeks apart, they had one thing in common – leaving the main trails to see some other, not-so-well-known places.

Photo-heavy post.

Being late August during the first one meant the mornings were getting quite cold. The bus driver didn’t help it at all, with AC turned on to quite a low temperature. Thus, after leaving the bus, I started at a high pace to warm myself up. I began following the trail at first, then turned to a footpath leading me to the first peak and then the first rock formation.

I found a group of three other people there. The place is off the main trails but still known about at least a bit, so it wasn’t a major surprise. Trading favors, I took a group picture for them, then they took a picture of me.

And the weather was nice, though the visibility wasn’t that great distance-wise.

After a bit of chatting, I headed towards the next rock formation. At that point, the footpath was more like a deer trail than anything else, but it was noticeable enough to follow to the second rock formation.

This was the best photo I was able to take, trees were blocking the view even more from all the other directions (+ there’s a steep slope from behind). I managed to climb the formation, though “climbing” is quite an exaggeration, there’s a relatively easy way up from the right side. After sitting on the top for a moment, the group from the previous formation caught up, so we traded photos again.

From there on, the path lead around a couple of smaller rock formations to another lookout, though I couldn’t take a photo there, as the approach was from the top and I’d have to spend quite a while finding a way down. So I backtracked a bit and returned towards the main trails, heading to a rocky peak with a scattering of masonry – the ruin of a fort. The trail to the ruin was re-routed due to stabilization works on the ruins, but the top is still accessible. It’s known for the “trollface” formation on the very peak.

Trollface from the side
Trollface from the front

…but also for being a decent lookout point towards the main peaks, and towards the lowlands as well.

From there on, the rest of the hike was still quite long, but not as photogenic – the next lookout is getting overgrown by the forest (the trees reaching higher than the platform) and the next set of rock formations were mostly in the woods. That, and my focus was on navigating the trail that was, to my surprise, a bit harder than I’d expect as it wove between small rock formations and dense blueberry bushes.

Emerging from the woods led me for a while on fields before I reached a village where I could take a train ride towards home.

The next hike was a bit unusual before I even reached the place – the railroad to the village where I started was out of order for a couple of years. This year, a group of train history fans started to operate a vintage train during the summer. This was the last day for the season, so I took that train, which looked like this inside…

…had the speed of horse-pulled carriage and shook just as much. If I waited 30 minutes more for a bus, I’d be at the village just 5 minutes later. After arriving, I took a picture from the outside. The contrast between a repaired platform and an aged train was interesting.

As with the previous hike, I set off at a high pace to warm up from the cold morning. Reaching a field was a plus with the sunny day – it warmed me up fast.

Then back into the woods, across a spa town I visited many times, and uphill. First via a footpath, then using a side road to a mountain pass, then into the woods. For a short while, there was no hint of a path at all, but near the peak, I emerged on a footpath that led me on just well.

The first peak had a smaller rock formation, which provided minimal lookout, as the trees around were all taller.

Again, I was lucky to meet someone there, and trade photographic favors.

After a break there, I followed the footpath through a sharp descent to another pass, then up the second hill. The path there was a bit easier to navigate. At the peak, I met quite a talkative guy that bombarded me with stories, some of them quite ludicrous – such as an emergency shutdown of a nuclear power plant or trouble with his neighbor.

After a while, I excused myself, as it seemed if I let him tell more stories, I’d end up there until midnight. I picked up my pace and followed the vanishing trail through a dense undergrowth of blueberry bushes. The trail provided a couple more rock formations.

Focusing on speed rather than following the trail hadn’t been the best idea – I ended up tripping on a root. For this time, the place’s remoteness was in my favor – the trail was quite soft so the fall ended with nothing but two shallow scratches on my leg. I picked myself up, checked that my stuff (especially my camera) is okay, and continued on at a slower pace. A short while after, I found this very good-looking bolete…

…so I grabbed it, hoping it’ll remain in decent condition for the rest of the hike and the road home. At this size, it’s more than enough for a Sunday soup.

Carrying it wasn’t easy – the footpath vanished again shortly after, for a couple of times. Fortunately, I managed to follow the directions I knew and ended up on a side trail shortly after the main descent was finished. After reaching the town below the hills, I found myself an ice cream stand to cool myself down and headed to the train station.

Both hikes were quite a mix of good and bad for me – both had parts of the journey through overgrown paths and a cold morning that quickly turned into a warm day. And both worked well as a closure to the typical summer weather.

But it wasn’t the end for September hikes – something I’ll probably cover soon-ish. For now, I hope the last days of summer had seen you well, and maybe having some last-minute fun outdoors.

3 thoughts on “Hiking: off the beaten path

  1. OMG the mushroom at the end! It’s so cool. And the vintage train. And the troll face mountain. ❤ I hate being cold, especially early in the morning. Looks like a fun time though. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. Well, to me, it’s about all the clothing I wear in the morning and then have to carry in my backpack once the day warms up. But the nice days definitely make up for it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: 2021 retrospective: hiking (mis-)adventures | Tomas - the wandering dreamer

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