If you read the previous post, you know that my plans for stage 12 had to be adjusted due to the rain and I decided to stay overnight in Duszniki Zdrój. It didn’t seem to be a problem at first, but I totally forgot that on the next day the long weekend starts and it could be more difficult to book accommodation on the way, especially mountains huts. And this was exactly where I wanted to stay 🙂 When I called PTTK Jagodna Hut in the morning asking for bed, they only started to laugh as everything was booked out weeks before. Sleeping on the floor was also not an option due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Route: Duszniki Zdrój to Długopole Zdrój
Distance: ~ 39 km
At that point, it was clear that I have to hike all the way to Długopole Zdrój. I made a few phone calls trying to book a room and in the end, find one free at Aleksander Resort. Way overpriced, same as all the other places on that weekend. Seems like Polish people were so sick of spending time at home due to COVID-19 that once restrictions were loosened and bank holiday came, everyone set off for short city break.
Starting at Duszniki Zdrój market square, I passed the spa part of town and started the ascent towards Zieleniec, which is located 11 kilometres from the start point. The path goes very gently until Podgórze and from there it’s a bit more challenging but nothing extraordinary.
I heard the noise of cars coming from the top of the hill and unfortunately, shortly after I saw an asphalt road. It’s the Sudetes Highway. The only thing that road has in common with real highways is the name. Luckily, it’s an advantage for hikers as the red track follows it all the way to Zieleniec. Traffic is minimal so just keep to the left edge of the road and it should be fine.
With all that ski lifts around, Zieleniec must be a busy place in winter. Without snow though, it was a rather dead place and I only made a short stop at PTTK Orlica Hut to have a drink and snack.
The tracks descents 4 kilometres towards Nature Reserve Pod Zieleńcem. It’s the area with peat bogs, not very visible from the main trail but you could easily make a short detour and get closer following one of the local paths.
From here to Spalona and PTTK Jagodna Hut is around 15 kilometres without any significant elevation differences. I passed the village of Lasówka with a picturesque church. Great place for short picnic lunch. After that was a bit monotonous section through the forest until I popped out close to the ski lift at Spalona. Following it all the way to the top of the hill, I reached extremely busy at that time PTTK Jagodna Hut. Long weekend, lunchtime, mountain hut accessible by cars. All of these means one thing – crowds.
If you have time or you stay for the night in the hut, there is an easy trail blue going to the highest peak of Bystrzyckie Mountains – Jagodna (977 m n.p.m.). It’s around 4 kilometres, taking 1 hour one way. The views are particularly nice from the newly build viewing tower.
Main Sudetes Trail (red) continues from PTTK Jagodna Hut on the Sudetes Highway for 4 kilometres when it turns left and descents to Ponikwa. Be careful not to miss the sign. Before Ponikwa, it passes through the grasslands with the walking track being barely visible. The easiest is to just follow the grass crushed by other walkers and head in the direction of the buildings.
Shortly after leaving Ponikwa, the trail turns left and continues on the gravel road to my final destination. Luckily, that time I left the forest just in front of my hotel, so no more extra kilometres. It was a long day and sightseeing had to wait for the next day in the morning.
Długopole Zdrój is the smallest and probably least popular spa town along Main Sudetes Trail. The water flowing out of the excavation area of the old mine was taken for tests and proved to be healthy enough. The spa town was established in 1802 as Bad Langenau and therapeutic baths started shortly after. It’s worth to have a look at the pump house and try mineral waters. Other than that, there is nothing else to do.