A bit of peace and quiet
In the summer season, people are everywhere. More or less crowded, but everywhere. Generally it can be said that it already has secluded mountains and beaches. Those that were lonely because of their loneliness attract so many people willing to take a break from the crowds that ultimately ... they create a crowd.
But there are exceptions to the rule. Always.
It is enough to choose the right time of the day (e.g. to go to the mountains before eight in the morning, not after eleven), or the appropriate trail (not the one leading the shortest way to the destination, but longer, more difficult, more distant) and even in the season you can catch a lot of silence and peace.
The red trail from Wołosate to Halicz is well suited for this. It is true that the starting point from Wołosate is the most crowded point in the entire Bieszczady Mountains (due to the fact that the shortest and fastest route to Tarnica begins in the same place), but after 500 m, at the fork of the trails at the ticket booth to Bieszczady In the National Park, the situation clears up quickly. The main, wide and swift stream of thirsty mountain hikers pulls a rope to the left, along the blue trail to Tarnica, and a narrow group of enthusiasts, like slowly dripping droplets from an unscrewed tap, goes straight along the red trail to Halicz.
I chose the right trail and the right time of the day. Fifteen past eight, with an entrance ticket to the BNP in hand, like a single, lonely drop I detached myself from the main stream and went my way: "red to Halicz"
At the starting point of the trail in Wołosate, there is a large and convenient parking lot for passenger cars (paid PLN 18, without time limits). I present the parking coordinate below.
There are free toilets next to the car park and a small restaurant / pizzeria that you will 100% appreciate when you make your way back to the car park after a long walk.
Wołosate - parking lot, GPS coordinates:
49.066327, 22.680162 - click and route
Wołosate - the Bukowska Pass
Literally at the very first meters of the red trail, behind the ticket booth to the BNP, next to the road on the left, you will come across an information board leading to the remains of the cemetery and the remains of the church that stood here until 1947. The village that was originally called Wołoschatka was founded in 1557. After World War II, in 1946, all inhabitants of the village were displaced. A year later, the deserted village and the church were burned down, and the cemetery was devastated.
The foundation of the church and several destroyed tombstones that can be seen here today are the only remains of the village.
After seeing the remains of the church and the cemetery, you can start the actual walk along the trail.
The first, nearly 8 km long fragment of the trail can be considered monotonous. For the first 1,5 km, it runs along an asphalt road, and then turns left in the form of a wide, stony dirt road. Almost all the time it climbs up discreetly, allowing you to gain new meters in height imperceptibly.
The walk is easy, pleasant and sheltered by trees which provide a nice shelter from the scorching sun in summer. This fragment, commonly regarded as monotonous, was an opportunity for me to break away from the hustle and bustle of the tourist crowd, catch the atmosphere of Bieszczady loneliness and enjoy the silence of the forest or rather the subtle voice of the forest. During all this time (about two hours of walking) I passed (sold out) three groups of two and one single man. Two people came from across the street. That's all. Nine people. In the middle of the summer season (beginning of August), when the headlines in the "internet" screamed about the crowds in the Bieszczady Mountains.
Ultimately, I would not call the initial fragment monotonous. It was very pleasant to me. It gave time and space to break into the Bieszczady mood.
This section of the trail includes the stations of the famous Bieszczady Way of the Cross, which ends at the Bukowska Pass.
Bukowska Pass - Rozsypaniec
We are still following the red trail.
From the mountain wanderer's point of view, this is the first fragment where something begins to happen. At the height of a wooden shelter, the trail turns left from the road, turns into a narrow, winding path and begins to rise sharper. The path enters an intermediate green area that separates the meadows from the high forest. The brush becomes lower and more sun appears. After a dozen or so minutes, a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains and meadows opens from the path ... such views will accompany me for the rest of the walk. After another dozen or so minutes, I reach the first summit of the day: Rozsypaniec (1280 m above sea level). It takes about 30 minutes to walk from Przełęcz Bukowska (approximately 1 km).
This is the first stop of the day, time for a short break and savoring the views. There are even benches. All empty. I'm alone, no crowds, no unnecessary sounds. I devour the Bieszczady Mountains.
Rozsypaniec - Halicz
Descending from Rozsypaniec towards Halicz, you have to give up some of the height you have gained, and then slowly start climbing again, to the third highest peak of the Polish Bieszczady: Halicz (1333 m above sea level). The red trail towards Halicz can be seen from here as on a tray.
The ascent itself is short (about 600 m; 20 minutes) and becomes sharper as you get closer to the summit. Walking the entire section (1,2 km) from Rozsypaniec to Halicz should not take more than 30 - 40 minutes.
Several people showed up in Halicz. The number of people at the level of 10 was maintained all the time. Every few minutes, after the appetite for the views was satisfied, someone descended from the top and someone new entered. However, it is difficult to call it a crowd.
From Halicz there are views inaccessible from other peaks. Not accessible even from Tarnica, which is 13 meters higher. Halicz is located in such a way that, apart from all the most important points of the High Bieszczady Mountains, after looking east, we have access to an unlimited view of the Ukrainian part of the mountains. From Tarnica, this view is inaccessible because…. it is effectively covered by the tall and massive Halicz.
There is a cross on Halicz, which once stood on another, very famous peak in the Bieszczady Mountains. The cross came to Halicz from Tarnica.
The first cross on Tarnica was placed in 1978, and in 1987 it was replaced with a new one, which still stands today. The old cross from Tarnica found its way to Halicz, where it was not easy. The weather conditions it was struggling with caused deep damage. Good people took pity on him and in 2002, without any consent, they renewed and enlarged the cross without any consents, without breaking any regulations. By design, erecting crosses in the mountains is exempt from the principle of respecting the law.
Halicz - Switch Goprowska
The rest of the trail (we still stick to the red one) is a typical Bieszczady walk along narrow paths, waving slightly upwards and downwards (in this case, we will go slightly downwards more often). We walk along green, vast open mountain meadows covering the cones of the neighboring peaks. The trail runs along a picturesque slope, passing the peak inaccessible to tourists Kopa Bukowska (1320 m above sea level).
This part of the trail between Halicz and Goprowska Pass is 3,5 km long and takes about 1 hour.
Goprowska Pass - the pass near Tarnica
At the Goprowska Pass, the red trail joins the blue trail and both will lead us to the pass at Tarnica. This fragment (800 m long) leads all the way uphill and you will "jump" it in about 30-40 minutes.
On the watch, it is approaching noon and this area is starting to be denser than people. This is where the quiet zone ends, in which I moved from the beginning of the march in Wołosate. The very fact of combining the two main Bieszczady trails into one common section means that it must be denser. The Bieszczadniki from several main directions travel along this short fragment, from: Ustrzyki Górne, Bereżki i Pszczeliny, Muczne and Bukowy Berd, Halicz, Wołosaty and Tarnica. You can say that it is a local, main crossroads in this part of the Bieszczady Mountains.
From this part of the trail there is a perfect view of practically the entire fragment of the final ascent to the Tarnica peak (starting from the Tarnica Pass). That day, a glance and a split second was enough for me to decide that ... I am not going to Tarnica.
It is only 15 minutes to the summit from the pass, but what was happening on the trail towards the Tarnica summit left me speechless (you can see it in the photo below).
I was not sorry to give up going to the top. I've been there already. But standing in line to the summit and pushing through the dense crowd and screams at the very top ... just thinking about it made me sick.
This example illustrates the difference between the population of the most popular Bieszczady trail (the blue trail from Wołosate to Tarnica), compared to the less popular, longer and more difficult trails (like the red trail I have followed so far).
The conclusion is simple: avoid popular trails in the afternoon and afternoon hours, and if you want to walk a popular trail and avoid the crowds, do so in the morning. It's best to go on the trail around 8.00.
In the morning, when it starts to get thick, you will be on your way back, having a walk in peace and quiet behind you.
The pass at Tarnica - Tarnica
The yellow trail leads to Tarnica. We go up and follow the same trail.
That day I did not go to Tarnica, but I did it earlier. The walk uphill takes 15 minutes and is steeply uphill all the time. It takes a similar amount of time to go down. It is so steep that it is difficult to climb it faster.
You know, the views from the top of Tarnica are beautiful. You can clearly see the plates leading to Tarnica from different directions, meadows, other peaks, everything.
It is a pity that it is still full of people (well, unless it's winter, or the weather is bad, or preferably off-season + bad weather 🙂)
However, you must have the removal of the cross on Tarnica. So I also have.
Tarnica - Wołosate
From now on, we go to the blue trail and continue along this trail to the parking lot in Wołosate.
This part of the trail can be fun and irritating at the same time. You need to be able to isolate yourself very much to focus on admiring nature, even for a moment. The procession of potential conquerors of the highest peak of the Polish Bieszczady Mountains is uninterrupted. The variety of fashion outfits that can be worn on the occasion of Tarnica's conquest can be astonishing. The clothing used, and especially the footwear (both for men and women), always prompts me to ask myself: how is it possible to climb Termica in something like this? I admit that I couldn't.
I think that if someone in something like this can climb to the top without significant health damage, there must be a hidden talent.
So I watched the textiles used with interest, instead of admiring nature. It is simply impossible to break away from it, although it effectively hinders another, slightly irritating phenomenon.
Descending from the pass under Tarnica to Wołosate along the blue trail takes about 1 hour.
After 30 minutes of descending I started to feel pain… in my face and tongue.
"Hey", "Hello", "Good morning", "Hello", "Good morning", "Hey", "Hello", "Hello", "Hello", "Hey", "Hello", "Hello" , "Hello", "Hello", "Hey", "Hello", "Hello"
…. and so on endlessly.
I had the impression that my lips and tongue (after several dozen minutes of talking over and over again: hey, hello, good morning) were swollen like a Botox spray. I don't know why this need to verbally say hello on the trail to everyone who passes by, as the line of people goes on forever. I understand that when you meet someone on the trail after 2 hours of walking alone, you exchange greetings with them ... but to machine greetings of 30 people in XNUMX minutes?
When I ran out of water (because greetings kept my throat dry and in half an hour I drank more than 18 km of walking) I couldn't make it. I got lost and used the situation. I caught up with a very nice and patient with angelic patience in front of me, who answered all the "good morning". I hid behind her and thanks to that she responded to all greetings on my behalf as well. At least I didn't go for a beet, which I don't even want to say "good morning".
By the time I went down to the parking lot in Wołosate, the swelling on my lips and tongue had subsided. The thing, however, haunted me. On the way, I had some errands to do. I parked in Wetlina near a small ABC grocery store. The number of people walking on the street was even smaller than the traffic on the trail. Some were leaving, others were coming, I even noticed the faces that were familiar from the trail to Tarnica. Apparently they also had something to buy. I decided to run an experiment.
I parked a little further, to have about 200m to go to the store. I got out of the car and went to the store with friendly greetings to the passing people: "Hey", "Hello", "Hello" ...
While on "hello" some people, after a moment of surprise and reflection, responded under their breaths, the reaction to "hey" and "hello" was as if I had thrown some insult. They looked at me at least strangely ...
But how? - I asked myself the question. After all, we were just walking along the same trail in much more crowds.
It did not bring me any closer to understanding the phenomenon of serial greetings on the mountain trail. The experiment ended in failure and was not continued.
A Bieszczady classic on Halicz
The closed-loop trail described above, leading first along the red trail and finally along the blue trail, is one of the few such looped trails in the Bieszczady Mountains. He is often called the Bieszczady classic. It leads through very interesting parts of the Bieszczady Mountains, beautiful meadows and the highest peaks. At the same time, it is long enough, demanding and secluded to feel the taste of traditional, Bieszczady wanderings.
I recommend it to all those who want to really touch the classic, Bieszczady, long hiking.
It may be less attractive to follow the same trail in the opposite direction. Firstly, because we start along the trail towards Tarnica, i.e. we follow the main stream from the beginning, without a chance for a bit of peace and loneliness, and secondly, the final 8 kilometers may seem monotonous in this arrangement.
The map of the route: Rozsypaniec, Halicz and Tarnica z Wołosaty
Below is a map of the trail described above. On the map, you will find information about the total time of the trail, its length and the altitude difference to be covered.
Below the map is a cross-section of changes in the height of the trail.
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