Thursday, 19 April 2012

Having loads of fun in Polish mountains

I don't think that my making winter go away is working all that well, unfortunately. Maybe I'm not trying hard enough...? It was minus (!) two degrees yesterday when I was going to work! And it's almost May! Horrible, right? I sooo much hope it's going to get warmer pretty soon as we already have the long weekend all planned out. Aaaand warm weather is a must!

So today's post is going to be a kind of a merger between cold and warm. How? Keep reading, you'll soon find that out.

I have already described our climbing (big word) to the peak of Zugspitze, our climbing (an even bigger word) to the peak of Teide, our climbing to the top of the Three Crowns and Sokolica. Oh, oh, and I've also mentioned our walk (using the word climbing here would have been a total exaggeration) to the top of Wieżyca hill. This time I'm going to try and describe a very magical and, at the same time, a very strange place in Southern Poland. Our trip to the peak of Szczeliniec Wielki in Stołowe Mountains (919 metres above sea level). The weirdest of all the climbs I've ever done in my life. And climbing, once again, is far from being a perfect word to describe what you can find there.

Getting to the peak is not the whole story. Is not the pure goal. Is not everything you can do there. Szczeliniec Wielki is much more that that. The mountain isn't high at all, that's true. And yet you can get totally tired on the way. Weird? Yup. But that's what happens. Well, at least happened to many of us.

Szczeliniec Wielki is a kind of a combination of a climbing route, a funfair and a fantasy park. All in one place. It's really warm and really cold in there at the same time, depending on the area. And it's not about "the higher, the colder" phenomenon, but about "the lower, the less sun, the more humidity" one. It was very warm on the upper parts and really cold in the hollows. Even snow was lying in some places and it was July when we were there.

Walking the whole path (it is said that it's about 5 km long) is not for the fainthearted though. Not because of the height, obviously. It's because of the effort it demands. You have to walk loads of stairs to get up to the top. And then, walking up and down, over and under the rocks, sometimes you have to hold your breath to get slimmer and get through. It's all really tiring but a lot of fun at the same time. Sometimes it's scary as well - especially in the hollows - the dark colours, no direct sunlight, coldness, high rocks surrounding you. Spooky, absolutely horror-like. Perfect scenery for that kind of movies. You can totally imagine being chased by a strange-looking monster down there, having to escape possibilities. And, on top of that, one of these hollows is called Hell!  Can you point a better suited place for shooting horror movies? I think not. Well, maybe you can. But that's a really good one as well. And recently I found out that they were shooting one of the Narnia movies on Szczeliniec Wielki - Prince Kaspian or something. I know it's a family movie, but also considered a horror by some ;) But not in the classical definition of the word, though ;)

The rocks on the Szczeliniec Wielki route are in various forms. Something like twenty-or-so different shapes, as far as I remember. You can find them all on the map that you're given at the entrance and they're all named after the shapes they represent. But half the fun is spotting the rocks by yourself and guessing what they represent! Really a lot of fun, as quite often people might see different things in different rocks.

The entrance to the route is right next to the exit. And these two paths do not intersect as in fact it's one route. Or maybe I'm wrong on this one, not sure. My impression, though, was that once on the route, you have to go all the way to the end of it. No turning back. Just like on a one-way street.

Such a great time we had there. And we were exhausted after that trip. So, mind you, being fit helps to get to the end. But you can make stops on the way and rest if you like, of course. So no worries :) You'll get to the end. It only sounds scary ;)

 A quick rest

 Entrance and exit signs

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