And again. Opened my eyes in the morning, saw the backpack and I knew it is going to be another day on the track. Fog from the previous day was gone and in the morning there were only different versions of blue and green. Perfect day.
We left shortly after breakfast which was as delicious as yesterday’s dinner. Pancakes with blueberries and some extra scrambled eggs.
Route: Odrodzenie Hut to Karpacz
Distance: ~ 21 km
The first stage (~3.5 km) lead us from Odrodzenie Hut to Sunflower (Słonecznik). It was a very gentle ascent, perfect for the easy start just after breakfast.
There is a legend explaining how the rocks appeared in that place. It was the devil himself who tried to flood the nearby villages and figured it out that throwing big rocks to the Great Pond (Wielki Staw) would do the job. Easier said than done though. The rocks were too heavy and before he reached the edge of the pond, he heard church bells ringing in the morning and he lost all his powers, dropping and rocks where they stand today. The devil turned into the rock as well (the one that looks like a man looking over the horizon). Nevertheless, the legend still doesn’t explain the name Sunflower. The answer is much easier to digest than the devil’s legend. The neighbouring villages used it as a natural clock. With the sun above the rock, they knew it’s noon.
Sunflower is a major crossroad with green and yellow tracks. Here we had to make a detour again as the red track was closed. At first, we decided to make a coffee and wait to see if someone is going to go anyway. There were quite a lot of people hesitating and we could feel the tension in the air. Finally, two women passed under the rope but it wasn’t longer than 10 minutes until they came back being returned by the ranger who was waiting just around the corner.
Luckily, the detour took us to one of the most scenic locations in Karkonosze Mountains – Samotnia Hut. The place is a kind of a legend as the first records say about a man guarding trout kept in the water and living in the hut as early as 1670. It is located just at the edge of the Small Pond surrounded by snow-capped peaks and ridges. Karkonosze aren’t the highest mountains you will see in your life, but here I had a feeling that I am in much more serious mountains that I really was. The only negative side is that proximity to Karpacz (1.5 – 2 hours walk) make is a very busy and crowded place.
After a decent photo session and snack break, we pushed forward towards via blue track towards Sněžka /Śnieżka in excellent moods. It was a short ascent to Strzecha Akademicka Hut. From there it was another hour to Silesian House (Dom Śląski) and meanwhile we met the red track again. Hopefully no more detours! Here the way turns into concrete blocks, which is never good. I really hate all those concrete roads in the mountains. Keep it in the cities!
At first, we were thinking of leaving the backpacks at the hut and going to the top just with cameras and water but all the madness with COVID-19 made it impossible. There was a long queue of guys waiting to get inside to order the meal and we did not want to take part in this parody. After all, you can’t let the people inside the building because of social distance but they stand in line one after another like penguins. Very logical 🙂
It was around half an hour of quite a steep ascent and strong winds didn’t make it easier. With its 1603 m a.s.l. Sniezka is the highest mountain in the Karkonosze Mountains. On top, there is a meteorological observatory, a chapel and obviously splendid panoramic views over Polish and Czech parts of Karkonosze Mountains. There is a gondola providing easy access to the summit from the Czech side, and thanks to that the atmosphere on the kinda like picnic-style which is not really my taste. Every time in places like that, I miss the real mountain experience in New Zealand, where you have to hike long hours to reach beautiful, remote places, not to mention the need of being totally self-dependent.
The wind was even more annoying when going down and a few times I nearly lost my balance after strong and sudden blows. Back to Silesian Hut again and from there it was nothing but descent all the way to Karpacz (~ 8km). We passed by the memorial to the victims of the mountains which reminds to never underestimate your target.
We booked a room in Noclegi Karpacz Centrum which looks pretty spooky from the outside but the room was decent and the internet connection was very fast. The fact that we were the only guests could have something to do with that 🙂
Please remember that the distance covered in that stage is only the description of my preferred itinerary. If that sounds too much for you, consider staying overnight in another place. Never underestimate the mountains.