Bieszczady – The Last Wilderness: Hiking the Carpathians Day 2

Day 2 – 11th May => Smerek Wieś => Smerek => Przełęcz Orłowicza => Połonina Wetlińska => Brzegi Górne => Połonina Caryńska => Ustrzyki Górne

Previous night can be described with one word – horror. I went to bed at 9pm planning to get at least 8-9h sleep. From that I got maybe  5. Room with restaurant kitchen below and staff room above is an architectural mistake. If you value peace and quite don’t choose this place.

Despite the lack of sleep I got up at 5:30am , made some porridge and started getting trail ready. Weather was really not great – gray, wet and cold. Ignoring heavy eyes and hostile conditions I launched myself on the trail. First couple of kilometers was pure asphalt which finally turned right into forest. I crossed the bridge and started ascending towards Smerek summit. The trail looked exactly as my way down the previous day – slippery, muddy ruts. The hike was difficult enough without it. The surrounding however was somewhat mystical – wet trees covered in mist and vapour, mysterious and beautiful. The higher I was the less I could see. I underestimated the rain and didn’t put on my rain pants which I regretted later on. After a while I left tree line behind and started a very steep ascent towards the top. What I met there made me tremble.

On the ridge – end of the world, apocalypse. Visibility was so bad I didn’t know what’s in front of me. Very strong, cold wind, driving rain and thick fog – survival pure. I started 4h hike towards Chatka Puchatka shelter. Due to the weather conditions I had no good chance to have a proper rest. Rare places with more rock coverage were a chance to get a sip of water and a power bar bite. More than that was impossible. These four hours lasted an eternity, lack of proper rest and fighting with weather robbed me of all strength. Many times due to the fog I have mistaken a tree or a rock for a schelter. I barely took any pictures is fear of getting my camera wet. Finally after hours of struggle and moving forward I reached the shelter – Chatka Puchatka. I was so happy I almost kissed the threshold! [FUN FACT – the wind on the ridge was so strong I didn’t have to blow my nose – all content was removed automatically with a speed of light :P]

In the shelter I met no else but my 3 guys from before, finishing their rest and getting moving again. Their reaction and comments made me realise I must have looked pretty bad. I got myself hot water, made warm tea, ate a proper meal – after that I felt almost like a human again. Inside the hut it wasn’t too warm but at least no wind nor rain. Shelter host was nice enough to let me use their private space to change my wet clothes. I put on my wet mid layer exchanging the fleece to Primaloft. I must admit that Merino base layer and Primaloft mid layer combined is my set to go – both keep you warm when wet.

Little worried I left the shelter and started hiking again. I was pretty tired and still had at least the same distance. It occured I didn’t have to worry about the weather anymore, the lower I was the better the weather. In Brzegi Górne I even caught some sunshine which was a super nice change. During that descent from Połonina Wetlińska I totally fell in love with my trekking poles – without them I would get nowhere during that trip. <3 Leaving Brzegi behind I started another ascent that day towards Połonina Caryńska. As all the ascends during that hike this was no different – dreadful. Step after step I was getting higher. Thankfully the weather was getting much better and most importantly it wasn’t raining! Visibility was also incomparably better – with my camera at hand I started hiking the ridge compensating previous lack of photographic opportunities.

Descent to Ustrzyki Górne was like all descents – not too pleasant. Or maybe it’s just my aversion? After eleven hours on the trail around 6pm I reached Ustrzyki. Totally finished with aching muscles and feet I enjoyed bed as never before. Drying my wet clothes and eating my supper I had only one thought – “I hope I will get some sleep tonight”..

Hiking the Carpathians p.3 

  Check out detailed info on that trip below!

DetailsGPS dataGetting thereLiterature
  • Difficulty  Hard
  • Distance  24.3km
  • Time  11:00h
 
  • Ascent  1506 m
  • Descent  -1456 m
  • A to B
 
  • Altitude                          »Max. 1277m               »Min. 583m

mountain33

COMING SOON!
Bieszczady Mountains (Poland) 1:65,000 Hiking MapGreat map with all the necessary details showing the exact route as well as many other trails around that region. I highly recommend it.

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Trail Maiden i.e. Karo is an optimistic outdoor fanatic. She has founded trailmaiden.com to share her knowledge and experiences with all the nature loving hikers out there. When not hiking she's planning her next trip or her next tattoo but knowing her it's probably both ;)

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