Hiking: Colors of Autumn

In this post, I’ll look back at three October hikes – the weather wasn’t always the most cooperative, but there was a lot to be seen anyway, so it’ll be a photo-heavy post.

13.10. – Uncle’s farewell

I’ve mentioned that my uncle, who’s living in the USA, came to visit us for three weeks. And he couldn’t pass on the chance to see the nearby hills. I had two vacation days scheduled for mid-October, so I decided to use one of them to go for a hike with him.

This included visiting a small waterfall in the nearby hills – which, despite being close, I’ve visited only once so far, a couple of years ago. From there on, it was using mostly known trails to ascend a peak I’ve visited many times, though lately, it was more often in winter than in any other season. The damp autumn mornings made the air hazy, which affected the following photo when nearing the peak.

The peak itself became shrouded in a cloud just as we neared it, and remained that way for a couple of hours. We had a break in the chalet at the top (not visible on the above-pictured photo as, from this side, it’s hidden by the TV tower) for a warm soup and tea, then started our descent. Mid-way through, the autumn woods let us appreciate the colors again…

22.10. – Weaving left, right, up, and down

The next Saturday led me to a place I had visited once before, but only a small part of the trail would be shared. My previous visit was in late summer – when the rock formations looked nice, but the landscape had much more charm now with the colors of autumn. The initial ascension was hard and led us to the lookout iconic for this area.

This time, however, the forecast wasn’t as bright – a high chance of rain showers or light but persistent rain from 13:00 onwards. So, I tried to keep my pace brisk to enjoy the formations in decent weather (but not so high I’d soak myself by sweating before the rain comes). Don’t let the conifers in the photo above fool you – there were a lot of colors around.

Following the trail – with frequent ascents and descents – led us to the next peak, with remains of a castle still present in short sections of walls. Reaching the peak itself included passing through a gap between the rock and the wall. The peak, however, proved to be a great lookout.

And it was a beautiful lookout, no matter if I focused on the peaks near or far.

After a sharp (and treacherous, due to a thick layer of fallen leaves) descent from the ruin, the trail led us on a wide circle around the hills, staying around the top level of the rock formations you can see in the photo above. Aside from lookouts on those plateaus, there were many smaller formations hiding in the woods.

I was especially delighted by a lookout at the apex of this U-shaped trail that allowed looking down not only what we walked before…

…but also the colorful woods on the ridge that awaited us on the following section of the trail.

With each ascension, the initial group (this was an event of the hiking club) split into smaller groups. By this point, I broke away and continued ahead, intent on getting as close to the last peak as possible before the rain comes. This part was quite tough – the trail kept going up and down almost without break – quite an exhausting way to walk. By the time the first drops fell on me, I was almost at the last sharp descent. This paid off – people who were behind had to face sharp descent on wet leaves while I managed while they were still relatively dry.

By the time I descended to the pass, the weather finished its change from just cloudy to light but persistent rain, adding more gray to the palette of colors and reducing the distance on which I could see. No far sights from then on, but I was to continue through the woods, so no damage was done…

The descent from this peak led to a rock formation reminiscent of a massive mallet.

After that, I made a loop to see some of the smaller formations but the best way to see them would be an approach from a different side, so I made a note to return there in time and headed to the destination village in hopes of a dry chair and a warm meal.

28.10. – Lowlands loop

The next weekend – well, this was a Friday hike, as 28.10. is a public holiday in my country – I set out on my own for a lighter hike, planned at merely 19km through the lowlands. The goal was to enjoy the colors of autumn for one last time as by November, most forests will have shed their leaves.

The church utilized the tower of a former castle, hence the disproportion. Furthermore, the structure to the right is the original castle bridge, which now serves as an access road toward the church. The trail took me up a hill above the town, which provided another lookout (notice the cloud of mist in the pass to the right – the mist remained there for the whole day), as well as the sight of a large stone church (seriously, why did people build churches on hills?).

The next place I was about to visit was a forested peak with some granite outcrops. At first, given all the colors around, I was surprised why the peak was called a “pine hill”, but I found the pines eventually, right near the granite plates.

A short distance away, another peak with exposed rocks took my attention, but I found out that there is probably a better way to see it from below – a path I may look for some other day. So I took a photo of a small formation I found nearby instead.

The sunny autumn day also made for a nice photo at a pond nearby.

Then, another ruin. With remains of a tower and several short sections of walls on the slopes of the peak that suggested the fort had to be quite massive.

And, finally, a flooded quarry – a landscape that allows for quite a unique type of photos with reflections, if the weather cooperates, which it did this time.

The nearby woods also still bore hints of a railroad that once connected this quarry with the still operating railroad some 5km away (most of the former railroad is now, in fact, used as the trail). Such as bridge pillars near the quarry.

Walking down the former railroad led me back to where I started. With a relaxed hike behind me, I was on my way home, which was nowhere near short.

So, that’s the summary of three hikes from October. By the last two, fatigue from the distance walked over the year so far was setting in, but it’s not the end yet. I hope you’re enjoying the autumn with its colors.

See you next time.

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