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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