In this post, I’m looking at the last two hikes of May 2022. They both had one thing in common: slightly windy weather.
21.5.2022 – A nostalgic return
Living alone in a slightly different place means that I need to familiarize myself with the bus and train schedules for my solo hikes. Instead of picking something adventurous, I selected a place I’ve visited a couple of times but one I knew would help me test out the train schedule in one of the four main directions.
As I planned it a short hike, I packed lightly, and set out early in the morning. After the night showers that came in the early night, the skies were still overcast in the morning.
Having taken light clothing, I had to pick up my pace from the start, to prevent myself from being cold. Thus, the ascension to Velká Čantoryje, the first (and highest, for the day) peak, was done in just an hour. From the side I’ve chosen, it’s not exactly a difficult trail, though – the descent was a bit sharper and still a bit slick. The weather improved soon – the sun poked through the clouds and the wind became warmer.
Only as I was preparing to write this post, and found the old photo posted at the beginning, I realized that most of the chalets built near the Velký Sošov peak weren’t there yet back in 1999. Today, there’s maybe 4 or 5 of them, along with more ski lifts – all from the Polish side as the Czech side is slightly harder to reach with the valley being steeper and uninhabited for the most part. Also, the field on the Czech side of the mountain had become overgrown over the last couple of years.
Back in 1999, borders actually had meaning for a hiker, at least in the east part of Europe that had yet to join the EU. Back then, there was a separate trail on each side of the border, and four places designated to crossing it. However, the trail on the Czech side wasn’t marked really well in one place and we found ourselves at the other side of the border, at the top of a field. So, when we walked down the field, my parents had a bit of discussion with the border patrol – to our luck, he had seen us staring, confused, into a map (yeah, back in the time of paper maps) with his binoculars so it was resolved with a recommendation to be more careful. The field, in 2022, looks like this:
Back then, we’ve left the border trail and headed back inwards – with me being 9 and my sister 7 and the closest way to the train station from the pass below the peak being almost 8 km, it wasn’t really possible to stretch it for another peak. Now, with a lot more training and experience, I could push on, reaching the Velký Stožek peak a short while later.
I’ve kept to my word and this became a half-day hike, reaching the train station around 12:30.
28.5.2022 – Blooming fields
The other hike had one thing in common: a cold morning. However, this was a group trip, further away, so no testing the schedules for this weekend. The forecast was gloomy for most of the week, promising either light rain or rain showers. By Friday, it improved to partly sunny with a low chance of rain showers – and things improved overnight when the morning greeted us with almost clear skies.
The hike began with an ascension through the woods, after which we emerged on mountain fields. With the clouds above playing with shadows on the hills and the fields still full of flowers, it was a magnificent sight. However, the wind was colder this time. When the sun was obscured by a cloud, it was noticeable, so I had to keep moving, especially early in the day. That didn’t prevent me from taking photos of flowers, though the wind made things complicated.
Especially if it was a taller flower – or a wild rose bush – swaying in the wind.
After weaving around, I reached the peak with a lookout tower, but my stay on the top was short due to the cold wind. The sights were better than expected (as I expected a cloudy day). I made a note to try and plan a journey here in winter, for better visibility, though this place is a bit too far for me, so it may be hard to accomplish…
Anyway, with over four hours left before departure and merely an hour worth of walk to the meeting point, I hanged out at the tower, eventually sitting by campfire with a local old guy who was collecting entry fee to the lookout tower, talking about all sorts of things to pass the time outdoors rather than indoors. The campfire mitigated the cold wind quite well, even though I had to wash my clothes to get the scent of burning wood out of them the day after.
So, that’s the second half of May for me. Despite the forecast being far from ideal, I was lucky and avoided rain on both days. After the move, I feared getting out of shape, and I was glad to see it’s not the case…