When Korona is in the Czech Republic, you can, for example, go to the Giant Mountains. Not only good ascents through the forest can be undertaken there, but also nice descents through open terrain, unfortunately in most cases they are not compatible with the protection of the grouse – whether real or imagined. So we accepted an invitation to the Beskydy Mountains and we spent a wonderful weekend with the locals at a cottage called „Kuča“, where there is not only the internet but also a signal and there is also a dry toilet. Down in Frenštát there was already a bike ride, but we even cut snow on a twenty-kilometer hike, which included a great freeride through the forest. End of February 2021.
All the credit for finding the snow and planning a successful hike goes to Libor Fojtík – a photographer whom I met by chance in one work affair. Word got out, so my husband and I first accepted his invitation to Harrachov, where we joined a hike to the Polish border (very by the way) and then we took advantage of the offer to make a cottage in the Beskydy Mountains called „Kuča“, which his old family became our destination for spring break. In the meantime, the government declared another state of emergency, so we were forced to return on Sunday – there was nothing of the holidays, but when we left Prague on Friday night, we did not intend to change our spirits.
The best partner
Ever since Bodie's dog rides with us, skiing has taken on a whole new dimension. You have to pack (red) antifreeze boots on your paws and some food, but that's actually it. With the command „Bodie, hop“ you let the beloved creature get into the hut in the car and you have a partner who will run after you into the biggest snowdrift, he will endure a steady run, while you go down ten kilometers down a slightly sloping road, he flies behind you through the forest, while you are bouncing deeply, he is stepping on your way up the road, waiting for you to take off or put on your belts – he doesn't need to wear anything. As you drive twenty kilometers, he probably runs in double, because he needs to see if the group sticks together and he also carries a stick for you to throw at him.
We arrived in Kuč at nine o'clock in the evening, it is only a four-hour affair from Prague, the hut is about five hundred meters on foot, you can park your car in front of the Martiňák hotel by appointment, it is also good to have a permit to enter. Kuča is a wonderful place, it is a tramp hut or rather a cottage, in which the joy and nature of people who know how to enjoy time and one big family radiate from all corners. There is a chronicle, there are photos on the walls and all sorts of properties, including a canoe hung above the ceiling in an outbuilding with a fireplace, there is an operation book in which you must register and state the purpose of the meeting. The water comes from the well and the kitchen is cold, but you don't mind, because it heats up in the stove in the two main rooms, which are really heated in a while. In the toilet you will find the inscription: „He who is not ashamed in the morning did not have fun yesterday,“ and he captures the essence.
It was impossible to walk along the creek
We set off from Kuča at half past eight in the morning and headed for Kněhyna (1257 m). We took the yellow light to Podolánky to recruit the fourth member of the party, who was already waiting for us, and then we walked with him along the Kněhyněk brook to Kněhyně. If we didn't have such a tough lead, we might hesitate in places, but not like that, we crossed the stream about bravely about twice and jumped from side to side with skis in our hands and finally went through the forest with skis on a bagel over relatively steep terrain, because the dashed in the map you just couldn't go.
We walk through the woods
We had the Kněhyňská Cave above us, some of the water from the stream jumped in and the snow looked like it would be just a crust from above. Bodie obediently swept behind us, he was smarter not only across the stream, but also on the way up, he learned that it was best to stay close to the one who was trampling the path.
Monument to the Priestess
The top of Kněhyně is currently inaccessible because it is part of the reservation, but the boys come here once a year – they have a special reason – to greet their friends at the monument with the cross. They died at a young age and surprised everyone a little. They were part of the Acorn climbing party. One of them was Ivoš, or Cuba, who crashed while climbing New Zealand's highest mountain, Mount Cook. The reason was bad weather and reduced visibility. His friend Petr tried to abseil him all night, only to state his death. The same Peter was the victim of murder during a trek in Pakistan, where he was with his girlfriend Gabina. Both were beaten with stones at night in a tent, probably due to equipment, the year of birth they have the same as us. „I wish brave happiness…“ only until it works out for you. We drink in their memory and let ourselves be carried away for a while by thoughts of freedom, travel and unpredictable coincidences.
Exit from Čerťák
From Kněhyně we go down to the saddle, it's slightly downhill – some hundred meters of altitude, so that we can then step on them again to the Devil's Mill. Here we meet several tourists, otherwise there is not much outside today, it is rainy and foggy. „How do you get that dog to put on his shoes?“ asks a couple with another border collie. We don't answer this question for the first time, he just leaves, it's not entirely our fault, he probably doesn't mind, or he's so wise that he knows he'd tear his packs without them. The descent from Čerťák through the forest is famous, there is a crust in some places, but you can still drive, the terrain is quite steep – such a black piste, it's a pleasure, even if it's foggy. We step back to the Devil's Mill and then just go four kilometers slightly down the green to Bařiny. A cozy cottage awaits us, where it is quickly warm in the stove after flooding. Stickers of homemade ginger liqueur, well-being and talking until the night.
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