Those who visited Bieszczady once will return there many times

Well… let’s go back to reality!
Our wonderful Bieszczady trip had to come to the end. I didn’t want to go back, but I missed my family and cats. That was a time, which I spent only with my mom, we didn’t have a lot of time for ourselves for some time, so it was a way to organize it :)


Bieszczady mountains is one of these places in Poland, where you can take a rest and feel this wildness and predominance of nature over industrialization.
A lot of people says: polonynas (that’s how we call a landform, an area of subalpine and alpine meadows in the upper zone of the Eastern Beskids) are crowded, there are a lot of tourists. If I compare it for the rest of routes in different parts of Polish mountains I wouldn’t tell, that they’re crowded. Of course, you can meet some people in every ~15 minutes, but it’s not a lot of people - really. I was even able to make some photos without anyone else ;)

We started our trips with visiting Wetlinska polonyna - it’s the most popular ridge in Bieszczady.



We decided to start from Wyznianska mountain pass and go via the whole ridge and Smerek peak at the end exiting with red track.


It was almost 16 kilometers walking, but views were incredible!



When we got to the Winnie the Pooh hut (original name ‘Chatka Puchatka’ - it’s the PTTK shelter) we met 2 cute kittens. They were hugging people and demanded petting. Here you have a photo of one of them. Well, tradition has been fulfilled already on the first day being here (I meet cats wherever I go)!



Next day we decided to visit Solina lake. It’s the artificial reservoir lake, which popular because of the huge dam.


There is a few swimming spots and rental of water equipment around. They also organize lake cruises. It’s a total commercial place, everything what is done is made for tourists and to earn money. I’m not sure if I’ll ever go there again, but if you haven’t seen the dam, it’s worth to go.




Next day we again chose mountains track, this time we went on Mala Rawka and Wielka Rawka peaks, we also decided to see Krzemieniec.



The way wasn’t easy - the track was sometimes steep and rocky. Krzemieniec (it’s tripoint of three countries - Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine). It didn’t impress me - just a marble pole in the middle of the forest. But I think it’s worth to see it, because it’s characteristic point in Bieszczady mountains.


You can meet here tourists of each one country sitting together, eating sandwiches and talking about stuff, the atmosphere is really great! You can really feel, that there is no difference and no barriers between us! Borders are just lines on a map!

When you’re going on Mala and Wielka Rawka peaks you can also meet the most popular Bieszczady ginger cat! It’s one of the inhabitants in PTTK shelter near Mala Rawka. Actually, there is a lot of cats there, but this one is the most characteristic and sociable!


This mottled cat is supposedly very selfish - he’ll let you pet him, but you have to give him something for exchange! People staying in the shelter told me, that he loves yoghurt the most! So probably it’s the key :D


The next day we decided to rest a little bit from going up and down, so we visited Sine Wiry reserve. It’s protected area near Wetlinka river.


The route is very easy - a pebble wide road, sometimes forest path, slight height changes, you can even wear sandals there. While we were walking a lot of cyclists and mothers with kids were passing us.


We also met a family of several. They were very loud all the time, kids were screaming, adults also were talking and laughing very loud. I still heard them, even if they were around one kilometer in front of us. Well, I was shocked, because I'm not used to such behavior, especially when you’re in protected area. I’m always trying to be quiet, because I don’t want to disturb animals living there. And most of people I know do the same. I didn’t like it, but they passed us quite fast, so it didn’t make any sense to engage in unnecessary discussion.
A few days later I was accidentally talking about this situation with one of the local bus drivers and I learned, that this family was right with such behavior! There are bears in this area… They’re living in whole Bieszczady National Park, but they are mostly near Sine Wiry reserve. In summer season they try to be far from all touristic places, unless you pick this track! :D
When the summer season ends the best way to visit Sine Wiry reserve is to take flare and use it every 15-20 minutes, it gives you chance to not to meet a bear!


After less tiring day finally came the time for visiting Bukowe Berdo - the most beautiful Bieszczady arete! We started our trip in Muczne village and we ended it in Wolosate village. The route is practically empty - we met maybe 3 people during our way through Bukowe Berdo, views were breathtaking!


That was this trip, which I was dreaming about the most! There is no more beautiful track in whole Bieszczady National Park than Bukowe Berdo arete - a lot of local people will agree with me.


The way from Muczne village is quite easy - sometimes it’s calm, sometimes more steep, but it’s really good even for people, who don’t walk in mountains a lot. The way through the arete isn’t very tiring.
Going forward you’ll reach GOPR mountain pass, the route is also easy, but a little bit annoying, because the way down and up are stairs - a lot of stairs! the difference between up and down is around 180 metres and you have to traverse it twice.


Going up from the GOPR mountain pass you reach the point under Tarnica - you can go up on the highest peak in Bieszczady, or go down from here. Actually it’s worth to go up if you’re so close, especially because it’s only 15 minutes walking. The track is also easy - stairs.
Contrary to appearances - the way from Wolosate village to Tarnica peak is the most crowded way. A lot of tourists want to reach the highest point. A lot of people can’t imagine how beautiful arete they have so close to them! They don’t know what they lose!




Ok, so maybe some practical informations:
  • The best way to get to Bieszczady mountains is by car. And even better if you have a group of friends with 2 cars. Polonynas are extensive, most of the people would like to go from one point to another, the way is usually around 10 - 15 km. That’s why I think the most comfortable is to split up into two groups and each group starts a trip from a different side. You’re meeting somewhere on a track, exchange car keys and return with second group’s car.
  • If you can’t go with 2 cars you have the similar option using 1 car. You have to also split up into two groups, you’re giving a ride first group to the place, where you (second group) are finishing your trip. And you park on the other side. And the same idea - you meet the first group somewhere on the track, you give them keys and they’re taking you from the palace, where they started.
  • We’re non-motorized, so we decided to stay in Cisna village, because we were sure, that it’ll be easy to get to the tracks from the biggest village in Bieszczady. Nothing more wrong - there is only one morning PKS bus going to tracks and some seasonal touristic buses (it’s a family company from Cisna), which are taking people if they have a full bus. It’s no more than 2-3 rides. And the same with returning - one afternoon PKS bus and private buses going between 3-4PM. But you have to know, that you can miss it because it can be already full… The best way for people, who don’t want or can’t use a car is going to Ustrzyki Gorne village, there are more buses there, but also not a lot of. Sometimes it’s a little bit easier to go somewhere from this village, but it’s the most far from bigger cities, so going there will take a lot of time.
  • It’s really profitable to have good relations with bus drivers - it’s important for them to earn money, but they’re also nice and helpful people. If they know you, they’ll treat you like one of their own. You can call them or reserve a seat for some hour - the bus will take you from the track even if it’ll have to go only because of you. You can also ask bus driver to take you to the place, where nothing else going, you’ll have to extra pay for it, but it’s a good idea if you don’t have a car and you want to visit some place in Bieszczady. That’s how we were able to get to Muczne and they picked us from Wolosate after we finished our trip. Bus drivers are trustworthy and they gave a fair price for a course (I’m talking about bus drivers from Cisna, but I think family companies from different villages are similar).
  • Ok, but what if you have a car, but you can’t organize a group of friends to go to Bieszczady mountains? There is also a solution in this case, but you need to cooperate with bus drivers. You can tell bus drivers that you’re going to enter the bus at some point on the road (it’ll be a place, where you end your trip) and you go there with a car. Bus take you at the beginning of your trip from the place you parked your car. It’s a good option because you don’t have to wait long for returning bus. Buses are going to tracks around 8-9AM and returning around 3-4PM. Usually, it’s too much time and you’ll finish your trip earlier. When we were walking up and down it took us around 4-5 hours to go 11-16km.
  • The last thing you can do, when you have some problems with going or returning from the track is using hitch-hiking. I really love the relations between tourists in Bieszczady mountains. You’re one big family, everyone passing you will say you ‘hello’ and smile! Have you finished drinking water? I’m pretty sure, that someone will let you drink his/hers. Have you forgotten the protection cream with a filter? there will be someone, who has it and let you use his/hers (btw - it’s better to not to forget the UV protection cream…) And believe me, if you’re waiting for someone, who can give you a lift - you’ll find it sooner or later! It was my first time using hitch-hiking because our PKS bus left just a few minutes before, I didn’t have bus driver business card in my wallet, and there were 2 hours left to their working hours. We found people, who helped us with getting Cisna after 10 minutes!
  • Let’s make an advertisement (not sponsored). 


    You have to mandatory visit Siekierezada, it’s the unique bar in Bieszczady. The most (I should tell the only) interesting thing here is how it looks like inside. There is a rumor, that it's built by local alcoholics, they made everything from start to finish with their own hands. Each one detail - axes pushed into the tables, paintings, sculpture and even stained glasses are handmade! They have a really great idea and it’s worth to see it. Unfortunately, food isn't very special, similar to the other restaurants nearby. The same with prices. Also not a big selection of beers - no local beers.

    If you want to eat something really delicious I can recommend you a restaurant called ‘Pod Kudlatym Aniolem’ in Cisna (it’s not in the village center, but not very far from it) - really great ‘fuczki’ (pancakes fried with sauerkraut), the best fried river trout, delicious baked potatoes and really great selection of local beers. The waiter can tell you something about each one! 



    On the other hand, if you want to eat the delicious homemade cake you have to visit Polanka cafe and bistro. There is also great friendly atmosphere inside, Sylwia is a very positive person, she always welcomes her guests with a big smile and some nice word! I can recommend tasty blueberries and strawberries shakes and a great selection of leaf tea. This cafe is the only one place in Cisna, where you’ll feel like you visit good friends!
Returning to Bieszczady mountains after all these years was the best decision which I could make. I've already forgotten how beautiful and calm they are! When I was on the track I felt free and I didn’t think about how imperfect my life is. There counted only ‘here and now’. That was the best mind restart ever!

For the end I share with you short movie with photos I made, some of them can repeat with these above. Music is a local band, who sings i.a about Bieszczady, I wish that you could understand the words!

2 comments:

  1. The Bieszczady mountains is beautiful! I enjoyed your pictures. You sure met a lot of wonderful kitties!

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  2. Oh wow! This is just gorgeous. I loved every photo -- mountains and water and of course the cute cats! Sounds like a wonderful journey.

    And thanks also for your very kind birthday greetings on my recent post! I'm so glad you shared your own stories -- I love it when people do that so I get to know them better!

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