It is said that the best time to go to the mountains is either spring and autumn for hiking or winter for skiing & Co. I had a pleasure to spend a couple of autumn days with my mum in the Bieszczady Mountains. As you can tell from the picture above — it makes sense to go there at this time of the year. Having some sunshine at the same time equals winning a jackpot ;-)
- Bieszczady — a mountain range in the very south-east of Poland
- Considered one of the wildest parts of the country with untouched nature
- Brown bears, wolves, wildcats, lynxes, deer, moose, European bisons and other animals live there!
- Escape for people with artistic and hippy nature who left the big city life behind
- Bieszczady National Park with 80% of forests is the 3rd largest national park in Poland; belongs to UNESCO East Carpathian Biosphere Reserve
- Bieszczady belong to Carpathian Mountains — the second-longest, however low mountain range in Europe
- Run through Ukraine and Slovakia too
- Highest peak in Poland — Tarnica 1346 m, in the Ukraine — Pikuy 1405 m
We rented a cosy room in a guest house in Polańczyk. Polańczyk is a well-known spa-village. Since my mum has been there before, she wanted to show me some top sightseeing spots. One of them is the lake Solina. Even though it’s an artificial lake it impresses with its large size, deepness of clear water and the beautiful scenery. It is even nicknamed the Bieszczady Sea and it attracts many water sports fans. It also hosts the largest dam and hydroelectric plant in Poland called Zapora Solińska.
Na szczęśćie means in Polish luckily. Leaving a coin is supposed to bring you luck. It also suggest that you wish to come back to this place again in the future.
The highlight of our trip was a hiking to the highest peak in Bieszczady — Tarnica, which is 1346 m high. To get there we drove for around 1h from Polańczyk to a village called Ustrzyki Górne.
The route we took (just follow this link in case the map doesn’t load properly)
Just as we set off we encountered that lady in a white jacket. She happened to be very open and friendly and my mum very talkative and this is how it all started. We went up together and got to know each other quite a bit during those 8h. They had so many common topics that they even exchanged the numbers at the end of the day. I love this kind of spontaneous encounters! It’s worth mentioning that both me and my mum know that it is only thanks to her that we made it. Since my mum has back problems and she also wore wrong shoes (?!..) it was a huge challenge for her. I just know it, and my mum agreed with me later on, that she wouldn’t have listened to me otherwise, but felt amazingly encouraged by her companion. Maybe it’s because she was a bit older that my mum and this is what impressed my mother and gave her a kick ;-) Well, the lady turned out to be a hiking guru, but also an extremely optimistic and a courageous woman and she just positively “infected” both of us.
The weather was not that great any more, but at least it didn’t rain. Well, up to a certain point where we already had 1/3 of the trail behind us. We then saw some discouraged people resigning and others that were on their way back totally soaked and muddy. Despite this, I just didn’t want to give it up and our new friend supported my idea too. So we carried on.
Me in the fog. By the way, I’m wearing this parka jacket from the German eco-fashion manufacturer — Hessnatur — that I was testing during the Hessnatur hiking trip in Rheinsteig, Germany. I must admit that I love it as it proved very comfortable as well as wind and rain resistant in harsh conditions. In fact, it is a really nice jacket to wear also in a city in autumn, mild winter and spring-time. I have been wearing it the whole autumn in Berlin too. In case you are interested have a look at Hessnatur website.
The fog started building up quickly and the cold wind was blowing like mad. At this point it got really cold too. But nevermind that, it still looked beautiful, didn’t it?
The path was partly steep and partly just muddy and very slippery.
By the time we got to the first part of the peak — Tarniczka — it was freezing up there!
Another 15 minutes and we reached the top. Yeeeey!
Our new friend convinced us to take another — safer and shorter route — on our way back instead, through Wołosate. It was going to get dark in 2h so we agreed. Another thing was that we were going through a forest and not through an open space so it was much warmer. Nevertheless, we were the only people there. The scenery was just magical. The leaves were dropping on the floor making a rustle that seemed like a step of a bear or a wolf so it kept us alert, but calm and safe at the same time.
By the time we got down to the Wołosate village the dusk fell. We walked to her pension and her son gave us a lift to our car that we left in Ustrzyki Górne, which was some 7km away. There is some bus service apparently, but we were so exhausted that we just didn’t want to risk any more.
Last day in Polańczyk
On our last day we walked along the hills around Polańczyk. The two bigger are Kabajka 606 m and Wierchowina 560 m.
And that’s a slightly mad photo of me ;-)
My favourite pine tree — scots pine — that’s why I keep on photographing it often :-) Whenever I see them, they remind me of home as they are practically all over Poland.