|Date||Friday 1 July 2011|
|Distance stage||42,0 km|
|Distance acum.||2491,5 km|
|Quality of signs||very bad!|
|Quality of the hike||D (not so good): great views and undisturbed nature is followed by many times crossing directly through woods and fields, path hidden or not existing|
Today is the second day of my three-day hiking trip. During the night I was able to dry my clothes and shoes after yesterday’s drowning experience.
I leave just before 4.00am, before sunrise, as the first kilometers are along the regular road up to the pass Sedlo Besnik. Exactly when the daylight breaks the night I arrive at the pass and go right into the woods. The weather turns out the very nice in the early moning; clear blue sky, temperature still low, the forrests awakening. I enter now the area that is named Slovakian Paradise. It is a national parc, with small hills, hardly any infrastructure and lots of peace and silence. Wonderfull! I see many animals, haze, deer and even wild horses. After approx. 18 kilometers the Trail leaves the lovely nature and crosses the road between Dobsina and Dobsinska Lavoda. There is a nice window between the trees to the village of Dedinky and its lake.
Shortly after I arrive at the Dobsinsky Kopec, where some local roads are crossing. Until this point the signs along the Trail were good. At this crossing I follow a sign that indicates some jumping and crawling to continue on the other side of a gutter. After ten minutes I am stuck between bush and no indication of any path, I realize I am on the wrong way and I go back. It turns out the road sign should be read as “first 80 meters in the other direction, and then to the left”. It’s not ruining my good mood. Looking back to where I come from the peak of the Kál’ova Hola is still attracting the clouds and bad weather, just like yesterday.
I continue crossing the forrest along gentle hills. At one point the path that the Trail uses gets lost in the woods on a crossing of 6 roads. I try most of them with no avail and decide to follow the compass, straight through the wood and the bushes. I enter into a field with grass up to 1.20 meters height and I see in the far distance a sign that is painted on a tree. I am on the right track again. Some 20 minutes before I should arrive on the pass Pod Stromisom the signs on the Trail indicate in a different direction than what I expect and where the map shows me to go. I decide to disregard the signs and to follow the map; at least then I know where I am going to. There are no more signs in the next 1.5 kilometers. I check the map and the compass continuously and I realise that this road, and its direction, are not on my map. I decide to go back to the unexpected junction and go the way that is indicated. The Trail goes east, and crosses a plain valley to end up on the ridge. Of course there are no signs for more than a kilometer. Following the compass I make sure where exactly I am on the map and than I decide to make a shortcut through the wood straight to where I expect the Trail to be. After three minutes only I cross indeed the Trail, clearly marked. Altogether I have lost more than one hour in this small section of the stage. I follow the Trail uneventfull to the Sedlo Sulova, where the Trail crosses the regular road. There is a complete set of signs on the Sedlo for all paths that cross this point of the road, except the sign indicating in the direction where I am going to; it has been removed. Using the map I find the red-white signs easily enough and follow my way. A few minutes later the wood lightens up as I approach a section of the hills where all trees have been chopped. I pass a few junctions where no signs can be found. Walking up and down a bit, trying to find a clue where to go to I loose again time and energy. It’s not fun anymore, to walk this stage. Further up the hill many trees have been crushed and leftovers are covering the entire hill side including the path and make it next to invisible.
I arrive at Sedlo Volovec, just below the peak of the Skalisko hill. The signs here are clear and I hope I can follow them easily towards the peak. Unfortunately, the signs stop in the woods, the path ends at some point halfway the peak and I have to use my compass again to find the direction again. The weather is not so nice anymore, by now. There are many clouds, the wind has started blowing again, and it’s chilly. The top of the Skalisko looks like a huge plains of some hundreds of square meters. All of a sudden a 10 meters high rock appears from the fogg, which is the real peak of the hill.
From here I follow the green signs to the southwest where I arrive after 10 minutes in the refuge Chata Volovec. It’s 5.15pm. Fortunately the refuge is open, there is a keeper who prepares a simple dinner for me; again bread with sausages and soup and omelet. It’s enough, the taste is good and it’s cheap.
After dinner two more hikers arrive in the refuge. They are Slovaks and they have started 8 days ago the Slovakian part of the E8 at the Polish border. They follow the Trail in the oposite direction, from east to west. The amazing aspect of their trip is that one of the guys is completely blind! We exchange experiences of our stages of today. They tell me that the stage that I am planning for tomorrow is also dominated by missing signs and paths that end in the middle of nowhere. “We had to use all our eyes to move on”, the blind guy says. Also in some sections many trees have been chopped or crushed. The remainders are blocking the path as well which can create difficult situations for hikers. I go to bed early. Tomorrow is going to be another tough day.