Planning 2016

Dear reader / hiker,

after finalizing the E8 in the east I have been making preparations to continue the E8 from its current starting point: the Beara penninsula, in the southwest of Ireland.

In April 2016 I will kick off with a spectacular “stage zero” in Ireland. Later this year I will be crossing a substantial part of the E8 in Ireland. All hikes, including travel details and pictures will be published on this site.

Best regards
JanE8 2016

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Ustrzyki Gorne – Wolosate

e8 kaart ustrzyki

Stage no. 80
Date Sunday 27 April 2014
Distance stage      26,5 km
Distance acum. 2932,0 km
Quality of signs very good
Quality of the hike A (excellent): hills and great views

At 05.00 I am back on the Trail again, for my final day to the Ukrainian border.

I pass the bus stop and go right to the big parking lot. There the path goes up the hill through the forrest, again very well prepared: boards are covering muddy sections, steep parts are supported with railings and stayed steps, it is all very impressively taken care of. Some will say that this makes it very artificial to walk here, but I am happy that I am able to look around me and enjoy the scenery while walking in stead of looking at my feet only to make sure I put them down safely. Again at approximately 1000 meters altitude I leave the tree line and it gets very cold due to the fierce wind. The sky is blue, the views from the ridge are great and Wolosate is far in the deep on the right hand side. On the pass Tarnicka I decide not to climb the Tarnica hill, which is a supplement just off the E8-Trail and it must provide a fantastic view on the valley. I continue my way down to the bivouac shelter, where I have a break. In the valley that is crossed consequently to the east the temperate gets comfortable again.

View from the shelter to the Halicz hill

View from the shelter to the Halicz hill

After reaching the ridge again the Halicz hill needs to be climbed. From a distance this looked very tough but it is well to do. Also here there are many supports on the path for those who could need it. The views from the top are superb, also to the lower hills in the east. After a steep descent and a short ascent I start the final descent to the Ukrainian border. At the end of the descent there is again a bivouac shelter. Just 50 meters from here is the Ukrainian border, clearly marked by a Polish and a Ukrainian landmark. I take the inevitable pictures, also when some Polish hikers join me on this location. After picking up some souvenirs (little rocks with paint from the landmarks) I go back to the bivouac shelter and continue my way down. Close to the bivouac shelter there is a huge lavatory building, which indicates that it can be pretty busy around here. I follow the road down the hill and every few minutes there are hikers coming up the hill to enjoy a great day up in the hills. After reaching the valley the road continues towards the village of Wolosate. Just before the end there is a road to the left/south that crosses the creek and leads to the Beskiden Pass. The signs say that that the road is closed and not to be used, and that is also what the officer of the borderpolice tells me after I did cross the bridge. I manage to visit the Beskidenpass, together with him, and he takes a picture of me and we walk back to the bridge again.

Ukrainian border at the Beskiden Pass

Ukrainian border at the Beskiden Pass

The rest of the road to Wolosate is easy; many tourists are by now swarming around the tiny village, enjoying the scenery. In Wolosate, oposite the parking lot there is the last E8-sign. It is for the first time in 21 years that I finish my trip without seeing the sign that indicates where I should be going the next time.

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Smerek – Ustrzyki Gorne

e8 kaart smerek

Stage no. 79
Date Saturday 26 April 2014
Distance stage     28,0 km
Distance acum. 2905,5 km
Quality of signs very good
Quality of the hike A (excellent): hills and great views

During the night there was a huge rain shower during 20 minutes. I expect the path to be soaken wet and I put on my gaiters and tape the front of my shoes.

I leave the inn at 05.02, half an hour before sunrise. The signs follow the main raod for almost 2 kilometers and then cross a bridge and lead into the forrest, up the hill. After passing the big sign of the national park that I am about to enter there is a big bivouac shelter. At approximately 1000 meters altitude the trees fade and soon I pass the tree line. The top of the Smerek hill, with a big cross, is visible from quit a distance, but it is a steep climb to get there. On the ridge to the Smerek hill the wind blowing fiercely and cold. The sky is still blue but it’s getting partly clouded. The view from the top of the Smerek hill is magnificent, and there are many benches to sit and enjoy it, but it is too cold for me to stop. Ten minutes later I pass the Orlowicza Pass, also loaded with benches, and I continue to follow the ridge.

Great view & dark clouds

Great view & dark clouds

From the top of the Osadzki hill you see the mountain cabin Chatka Puchatka clearly in front of you: the three pointed roofs of its buildings clearly stand out on the hill at the horizon. In exactly four hours after leaving the inn in the valley I reach the cabin. I appears to be open, but there are no visitors yet.

Chatka Puchatka

Chatka Puchatka

I continue my way by descending to the pass at Berehy Gorne. The path in this section is very well taken care of: steep parts are covered with railing supports for the hikers, and the steps are stayed to provide a safe and comfortable passing and to prevent erosion. The temperature increases, while being out of the wind. Down in the valley at Berehy Gorne there are no facilities open: there are some small cabins where, during the summer time (?) souvenirs and snacks are being sold but it’s all closed now. There are many other hikers arounds here, enjoying the lovely weather. After a short break I continue my way by going up the next hill. During the last hour, while descending, it looked high and mean. This appears to be not the case. The climb is long but very well prepared with railings and stayed steps. Nevertheless there are some steep sections to be covered before you reach the ridge again. On top of the Polonina Carynska hill the wind is blowing fiercely again. The view is great, again, and it attracts many other hikers from all directions. During the descent the temperature gets back to comfortable again, and when I arrive in the village of Ustrzyki Gorne the sun is shining pleasantly.

Ustrzyki Gorne appears to be small, but completely designed to host hikers. Almost everyone I see on the streets here is carrying big backpacks. I stay the night in the hostel that is on the right from where the path leaves the forrest.

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Cisna – Smerek

e8 kaart cisna

Stage no. 78
Date Friday 25 April 2014
Distance stage     19,0 km
Distance acum. 2877,5 km
Quality of signs very good
Quality of the hike B (very good): hills, fields

I left the pension at 06.45 and cross Cisna, which appears to be bigger than I expected, with even some campings and restaurants.

The signs lead across the railway bridge and up the hill through the forrest. There are some incidental sections with yellow mud. The climb up to the top of the Rozki hill is well to do. From here the path follows the ridge, in the beginning between trees and from the top of Worowosoka hill through open terrain.

Nice views above the treeline

Nice views above the treeline

The ridge is not difficult to follow and the ascents and descents are mild for the legs and the feet. The signs are, again, very well situated, although some could use a bit of paint to stand out more. On the top of the hill Okraglik the border with Slovakia is reached. There are many Polish and Slovakian hiking signs, and of course the inevitable landmark.

Final visit to Slovakia

Final visit to Slovakia

I take a short break and enjoy the view to Slovakia. The E8 signs follow the border for a few minutes, together with the white-red-white signs of a Slovakian local trail. After a few minutes the E8 goes left, into Poland again, and the Slovakian signs go straight alaong the border. On the next big hill, the Fereczata, I enjoy the view to the south for the last time (the view to the north is blocked by trees and bushes). The descent is comfortable. After crossing a forrest road the path continues downhill by using another forrest road. In this section there are some big passages with yellow mud, which prevent any easy passing. The path continues through fields and soon the first houses of Smerek are in sight. There I loose the signs but continue downhill to the main road, and here I go left to the village of Smerek.

Along the main road there is a small grocery shop and next to it is an inn, where I stay for the night. It’s an ideal combination for any hiker: cheap place to stay with a large variety of yoghurts, sweets and snacks next door. During the afternoon the rain, that was forecasted for three days now, has finally arrived. It gets dry at 20.00.

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Komancza – Cisna

e8 kaart komancza

Stage no. 77
Date Thursday 24 April 2014
Distance stage     34,0 km
Distance acum. 2858,5 km
Quality of signs very good
Quality of the hike B (very good): hills, fields

After a huge breakfast I start at 06.45 with my stage to Cisna. The weather forecast was not good (rain showers) but the sky is only partly clouded.

The path leaves the road to the village of Duszatyn for a shortcut. Unfortunately there is a lot of yellow clay in this section, which makes me pessimistic for the rest of today’s stage. Just before the village of Preluki the path joins the road again, and follows it to Duszatyn, which appears to contain some 5 houses only. The signs go east, into a narrow valley along the creek. The forrest road is comfortable for some kilometers, and then continues as a hiking path. Some bad sections with mud and clay are covered with boards, which make a safe and clean passage possible. The path circles around the first lake without problems.

Passing the first lake

Passing the first lake

A few minutes later it also goes around  the second lake. Here there are a few creeks that need to be crossed: steep steps to go down to the creek, cross the creek on stones or branches and climb up a few steep steps again. Consequently the path goes up the hill to the peak of the Chryszczata. It is well to do, with only one really steep section at 2/3 of the climb. I take a break at the top, where a picknick bench is situated next to some monument. From here the path goes south (easy) between trees (boring). The pass Zebrak is reached easily, without any descent. Consequently the hill Jaworne needs to be climbed. The ascent is filled with short sections of descending, which makes it quite anoying. South of the top of the Jaworne, before the black signs go left, there is an open spot in the trees on the lefthand side and I can enjoy the view to the northeast for the first time. While being there I see a hurdle of buffaloos, only 100 meters lower on the hill,  grazing peacefully.

Wild buffaloos

Wild buffaloos

After enjoying the sight for a few minutes I continue my way. During the rest of the path to the hill Osina I am busy with going through short sections of ascending and descending. From the Osina onwards the general focus is on descending. The path enters Cisna near a small grocery shop.

My First choice for B&B happens to be situated next door to the grocery shop, so it is the ideal place to stay. There is a big kitchen that I can use to prepare my dinner, and wash my clothes.

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Wisloczek – Komancza

e8 kaart wisloczek

Stage no. 76
Date Wednesday 23 April 2014
Distance stage      37,0 km
Distance acum. 2824,5 km
Quality of signs very good
Quality of the hike C (good): hills, fields

When I leave the cabin in the morning it starts to drizzle.

I leave the village by following the main road. Near the curve at the creek I join the E8 signs again and I continue my way to Pulawy Gorne. The road is comfortable and it’s easy to maintain a good pace. It is springtime and flowers and trees are blossoming.

20140423 P1010674 wisloczek

After I have passed the second skilift in the village the signs lead to the right, up the hill to the south. After entering the forrest the hike gets boring; the path goes straight for some kilometers, there is hardly any view due to all the trees on the left and right. The signs along the path are very well placed and also very well maintained. Before arriving on the hill Bukowica the path passes a simple bivouac cabin.

Shelter for the storm

Shelter for the storm

Shortly afterwards the path joins the yellow signs of a local trail and then turns right to the top of the hill, to the antenna tower. The weather is dry, and the visibility is improving but still not great. After descending the hill on the other side the signs lead to the right in a forrest road, again up the hill in to a forrest. In this section the path is not easy: there are several passages where yellow clay make the soil very soft and difficlut to move. After leaving the forrest in the open field the view improves with every step uphill. There are thunderclouds in the southeast ahead of me, but with the wind in my back I feel comfortable that they will not reach me. In the final forrest section of today there are again some parts with yellow clay, but these are not as complex as a few hours ago. After passing the first houses of the village Komancza the path crosses the railroad under a tunnel and goes to the right into the brandnew main road towards the centre of the village. There is a grocery shop on the lefthand side. Where the church is on the lefthand side and the railway station on the righthand side the signs go left, into the village.

I spent the night in an inn that is situated two hundred meters further along the main road. I had to clean my boots after todays clay sections.

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Lubatowa – Wisloczek

e8 kaart lubatowa

Stage no. 75
Date Tuesday 22 April 2014
Distance stage      17,0 km
Distance acum. 2787,5 km
Quality of signs very good
Quality of the hike C (good): hills, fields

After travelling for more than 12 hours from home I arrive in Lubatowa for a six day hiking trip. This trip should enable me to finalize the E8 in Poland.

I start at 15.10 in front of the small grocery shop. After passing the church I turn right, up the hill towards Zdroj. The weather is nice with some hazy sunshine and warm temperatures. The views to the west and south are very nice.

Nice view back to Lubatowa

Nice view back to Lubatowa

The road is easy just like the crossing of Iwonicz Zdroj, where many tourists are enjoying the weather and the tulips in the flowerbeds. After leaving the village in the forrest the path goes up the hill. There are some simple shelter-roofs built along the path, which should accomodate some hikers, even during a bivouac. While passing Rymanow Zdroj it seems this is even more touristic that its twin village; there are several outlets selling snacks along the road. The path leaves the road and goes up the hill. After leaving the forrest I pass a picknick spot where many wooden statues are stored. The path continues through the fields, up the hill.

Nice view back to Zdroj

Nice view back to Zdroj

After reaching the forrest again the path goes down the hill, to the road near the village of Wisloczek. After crossing two creeks I reach the road, and leave the E8 by turning right to Wisloczek.

I spend the night in a cozy cabin in Wisloczek, managed by one of the B&B addresses in the village. My host tells me that in the summer season there is a hikers camp situated near the creek. Hikers can put up their own tent and stay for the night, or rent a place in the big tent that is put up there.

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