Alone in the hills, part two

There’s a tradition I try to keep going, to go for a hike between exams. It works well to clear my mind. This time, it became a bit extreme. Exam on Monday, okay, went better than expected. The hike was originally planned for Tuesday but the plan changed and I went for a bit different outdoor activity with my sister. So the hike was moved to Wednesday despite the fact that my legs were stiff from 36km of roller-blading in something like 2,5hrs (fastest lap I had was 12min 20sec for 4,5km, by the way).

Anyway, I still set up the alarm at 4:10, thinking that this time I might even regret it (I very rarely regret getting up early for a hike, even in bad weather) and went on with the adjusted plan. Of course, Wednesday + unknown place = being alone.

Waterfall height: 2,7 meters (the slide below it excluded)

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Just after the rainy days

After three weeks of idling, I finally got to the hills again. At first, it did not look well. It was raining three or four days before. The rain was not strong, but it was persistent and I know that for some, it’s enough to be a hit on their mood. If I went alone, I would not give it a second thought but this time, I was to bring a loose group of almost fifty people somewhere after four days of rain with a not-so-small chance for more of it that day.

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Stumps and stones

Over the 8 years that I am going to hike (sometimes) alone, it happened very rarely (if ever) that I took such outside inspiration. There were places in reach I wanted to see and I had some potential tips from people close to me (many of them taken from archives of the hiking club, from times before I joined and the first years when I was with them sporadically, not on 90% of events like the last years).

This time, I decided to visit a place that was suggested by a website. The deciding factor was that it was easily reached by public transport even during weekend.

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Mid-April vibrancy

If there’s something I like on mid- to late- April, it’s that the nature is almost fully awakened after the winter and the trees with their fresh leaves have unmatched vibrancy in their light green colors. It’s something that wants me to spend time outside a lot. Of course, there are years that screw it up sometimes, like last year. Most of the time, fortunately, the time between 20th and 30th April is perfect hike time here.

When I went for a hike in this time last year, I did not make even a single photo. It was cold, remains of the surprising mid-April snowfall and gloomy with mist that would fit November more. Something around 1°C. Yesterday, it was more like early June: 26°C, sunny.

April weather perfection. Photo from 2016

My hike was not supposed to be hard, it was to enjoy the usual April weather, something I did to the fullest. It had some overlap with a hike I did three years ago (minus one day) and I was glad to see some of those places again.

The first rock of the day

The trail led around several smaller rock formations, which is again something I like, more so if they are covered by a few trees that seem to defy logic with where they managed to grow. These places have small disadvantage in limiting photos by the lack of space, but they are nice places all the same.

Eventually, we made it to the second rock formation and the first slight lookout. Knowing there will be better places for observing the landscape later, I was more focused on enjoying the April vibrancy.

It turned out I was probably half a week too late, the birches had their leaves already fully grown instead of just sprouting, at which point they have quite a charming shade of green (as seen on the very first photo to the very left). Maybe the very warm last days affected it, maybe not.

Overgrown abandoned quarry, 4/2015

Then the trail led us around abandoned quarry. Mixture of birches, larches and pines (maybe some other trees as well) grows there almost undisturbed now and create quite interesting scenery.

Same place as above, 4/2018

Just as with birches, larches too have quite charming shade of green when their needles are freshly grown, made even more charming with the growing tiny cones in some kind of purple-ish color I can’t even name. They are also pain to take close-up photo of as the light branches will start swaying on the faintest breath of wind. I gave up when I failed to focus it well for the fifth time.

Then we went to another rock formation. This one had all I liked – could be climbed, had trees growing weirdly in the tight gaps and was decent lookout point.

Spring forests below

From there on, it was mostly walk through the forests for quite a while, until reaching a village with really nervous dog that followed me very loudly for maybe 200 meters until the owner came to scold it and escort it back home. Then, it was through fields a bit, these having their own spring charm as well.

Last ascension after, to a lookout tower built in 2016 (gets me to the point I might as well make a post about the massive growth of these in last years).

And then finally descent to our destination. Apart from the last year, it was as close to perfection as it goes in these days. Maybe too warm for this part of year, I guess I better get used for it again.

And that’s it from this one.