Vastly different

Another year begins, and the first weekend of a new year, I usually go for a walk (it’s not always a serious hike). There’s quite some striking difference between the first weekend of 2017 and 2018. While last year, it was cold wave here in the central Europe and I was forced to pile several layers of clothes to stay warm, this year I had the opposite problem.

7.1.2017 – Sunny, lots of snow, -22°C
6.1.2018 – Overcast, windy, +9°C

I guess that the situation reversed with the cold wave in USA and Canada… anyway, let’s see that comparison in pictures.

7.1.2017 – perfect winter

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6.1.2018 – quite sad-looking day

While there is some snow in the hills, it’s melting and very uncomfortable for hiking and that’s for a few weeks already. Forecast these days says that there won’t be much of winter in the near weeks, so I guess I am left with hopes for mid-February, which is usually the time of some colder days even in the years where the year’s beginning was warm.

Look back: A place nice in any season, but best in autumn

This time, I’ll write a bit about a place I like to visit, and one that I found to be great for seeing the seasons change. But as with any mixed forest, it’s autumn when it truly shines. This post will be about the southern part of ‘Rychlebské hory’ mountain range on CZ-PL border, near the Jeseník and Horní Lipová spa towns.

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Seeking the first snow

Autumn is quite diverse season. It starts as slightly colder summer, then moves into colorful art for a while before fading to gray. And in the end, it gets a bit white as well. November, by my experience, is one of the worst months for hiking, at least here. Most of the time it’s cloudy and it lacks the color of October. In fact, those are the months I end up returning with my clothes wet and (almost) no photos taken the most, the only decent competition was April 2017. But sometimes it’s not so bad.

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Bieszczady, third day

Third day’s plan were the grassy peaks I’ve seen from the previous hikes. After the rainy second day, I considered it quite great deal of luck that my clothes managed to dry overnight, but outside it was still quite misty in the morning. Typical early autumn, I guess. The forecast was optimistic, but I refused to blindly believe it. Also, this time we were using one of the most used trails, so the ticket and souvenir shack was active in that place, meaning no free entry this day.

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Bieszczady, second day

Second day of the stay, the plan was to reach Krzemieniec, the peak where Polish, Ukrainian and Slovakian borders converge. Just as the first day, the night was rainy and it did not look better for the day, but unlike the first day, now the situation repeated here in the hills, not in the city now far away.

While we boarded the bus in very faint rain, it changed to worse while it carried us some 10 minutes on the main road to reach the start of the trail. It was now raining consistently, though it was still not too bad. This fact probably saved us a bit of coin, as entering the national park (Bieszczadzki Park Narodowy) costs 6 PLN/day (roughly 1,4€ or 1,6$) but in this terible weather and the main hiking season gone, the shack selling tickets and souvenirs was closed.

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Slovakian hike journal, day eight

With the seven days in Západné Tatry gone, it was time for the short epilogue, the two limestone valleys that are part of ‘Chočské vrchy’ mountain range. It was to be half-day hike so the other half would be for the return journey. After the farewell given by hotel staff, the bus took us to the lower end of the first valley.

Rocks above the valley

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Slovakian hike journal, day seven

Seventh day, the grand finale. With some 127 km already walked in the previous six days, it was surely to be tough goodbye to the mountains. The plan was to get to the fourth highest peak, ‘Baníkov’, and if everything goes well, continue through the ridge through ‘Hrubá kopa’ and ‘Tri kopy’ on what is one of the most dangerous trails in this location with steep drops and exposed rocks all over the place.

Valley in the morning

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