Hiking: Sandstone and sandals pt.4

This post will be the last one depicting my week-long August holidays. The last two days still had a lot to see and I wasn’t willing to let anything just pass by if it was within reach, despite the piling fatigue.

Day seven: Towards the castle

The seventh day had a calmer start – a slow ascension towards the plateau, then walking a calm path for quite a while. It took us some two hours to reach the first ruin. Typical for this area, it was built on and into a rock formation, possibly as a part of defense fortifications. As before, there were clear remains of rooms hewn into the rock.

Continuing on, I came across another solitary stone spire.

Then, it was another calm period where I just enjoyed a walk through the woods. Eventually, I came to another place with a couple of steeper slopes with the sandstone exposed. Having enough time, I decided to take the side trail, weaving a bit up, down, and around.

A short distance down my path was another fort or hideout from the late 13th century. Approaching it from the trail means facing some two-meter tall rock wall where the steps have worn the rock out a fair amount over the centuries.

Seeing the rest requires walking through a low-ceiling room hewn into the stone…

…and then up the “stairs” on the other side.

From then on, it was a pleasant trail through the woods. A while later, I reached another ruin, likewise from around the 13th century. The vegetation had its way with it, but I still found visible hints of constructions, such as the likely place of a drawbridge.

It’s likely that there would be more to see but as the plateau where the castle once stood but, given that I was tired after seven days of hiking, I didn’t dare to try jumping over the gap – not at the place of the photo and not at the other place I’ve found. And I haven’t found any other access. Thus, I followed the trail downwards – in the lower portion of the rock formation were hints of now-deprecated staircase…

…as well as entrance to rooms hewn into the lower portion of the rock.

I then ascended back towards the top portion of the ruin and took a path that was a shortcut staying ad the top level of the valley rather than descending. This led me straight towards the Kokořín castle without needing to descend to the valley and then walk back up. And also provided a view from a different side than most people see it (courtesy of bark beetles who decimated the nearby woods).

Coming to the conclusion that I was becoming too tired to actually enjoy a guided tour, I only took photos of the exterior and ascended the tower.

After that, it was just a walk down to the valley to the parking lot and bus stop. One last day remained…

Day 8: Epilogue

The final day was to end things with a shorter and more relaxing hike – but that doesn’t mean there wouldn’t be enough to see. The day started a bit cloudy, but also with another ruin built into a rock. Unfortunately, the surrounding village didn’t allow for a decent shot of the whole structure. The entrance, however, is quite an interesting sight:

The flat top of the rock formation doubles as a lookout, though there wasn’t much to see. On our way, we walked near what looked like a manor that, while not completely in ruin yet, was in a severe state of disrepair, given the broken and barred windows.

For the next hour or so, the trail led us on a forest road through the outskirts of a formerly restricted area and it later turned into the woods on a sandy path that was quite pleasant for my tired feet. Several rocks jutted from the ground though, given the dense woods, taking photos was challenging.

The main sight was a rock arch some four meters wide, which wasn’t as great to see from below (due to the dense woods) but a nice sight when we walked up the small hill.

The trail led us around a couple more interesting rock formations. Such as a rock outcropping with several hollows in the lower portion with a charming name “Dog cave”.

Taking an unobstructed photo wasn’t easy as a couple of teens used the place as a campsite and, by the time we reached the place, were sitting on the top of the rock formation. One of the guys with me shouted something like “can you buzz off for a minute?” when he wanted to take a photo… not the best way, but it worked.

After this place, I left the group and went a bit ahead. I guess I wasn’t as tired as the others were, as I made an extra loop around near the village where we had the end of the hike (and the holiday).

Where the ascension to the final lookout started, we found a rock outcropping that I, in quite a juvenile way, gave a working name “Earth’s lady parts”.

The lookout itself was, however, mostly overgrown and thus didn’t provide much to see, unfortunately. Descending back to the village, I rewarded myself with a double ice cream, then asked the guy in the souvenir shop if the water in the nearby pond is okay. He said that people are sometimes bathing in it and heard about no issues with that. So, given that I had a six-hour journey in front of me, I decided to splash in a bit to clean off some of the sweat and grime. Which, I must admit, felt quite refreshing. I had no skin issues in the coming days, so I guess the water was okay.

And so ended my 2022 week-long journey. The total reached somewhere around 185km, which was pushing my endurance quite a fair amount (my usual week-long trips end up around 160km). The weather was quite good – sometimes a bit too much – but I was able to see most of what the area has to offer.

So, that’s the end of my summer journey. Being mid-August, there was still some summertime left and I had used it, but that’s a story for another time. For now, I hope the summer has treated you well and you had some fun outdoors.

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