Beskid Zywiecki is only 2 hours away from my parents home in Czestochowa, Poland. Although, I used to live close to the mountains I only did day hikes in the past. The idea of trekking with a heavy backpack and sleeping in a mountain lodge sounded miserable to me. However, I like challenges and I always want to try something new so when my friend asked if we could maybe do some hiking I said ”this sounds crazy and fun. Lets do this!”
We got to Zburzyca Gorna town on Thursday night. The 4 of us got one room at Pensjonat “ Za Borem” (http://www.zaborem.pl). We each paid 50zl, good deal ($13 USD per night). After few shots of vodka and hours of giggling like kids we finally fell asleep.
Friday morning, we started the day with a hardy breakfast at the same place where we spent the night. Our host, Pani Janina, prepared breakfast for us: scrambled eggs, cheese, deli meats, veggies, tea and coffee for only 20zl (about $5USD/per person). The day started sunny but a bit windy, which can mean bad weather in the mountains and dangerous hiking conditions. Regardless we drove to Krowiarki, the start of the trail.
The agenda was to hike 10.9 km to our first destination the mountain lodge at Hala Krupowa ( Schronisko PTTK na Hali Krupowej). I admit that the first 30 min of the hike were hard. My Backpack ( Osprey Farpoint 55L ) was filled with food, water, some clothes, electronics and it was quite heavy. The scenery was beautiful and the laughs made me forget about the pain.
The weather continued to be perfect and by 4 pm we reached our destination, the mountain lodge "Schronisko na hali Krupowej". The lodge was an old, charming wooden house surrounded by forest and green meadows covered with wild flowers. It was quiet and peaceful. After eating a meal, prepared by the local mountain ladies "goralki", we took a nap outside on the wooden benches.
We spent the rest of the evening sitting in the meadows and enjoyed the beautiful view. We also met some other hikers at the lodge and we shared some stories and vodka.
Waking up in the mountains is the best. You naturally wake up early and refreshed. There is this amazing connection to nature and even though your feet might still feel tired from the day before your mind tells you to get up to conquer another summit.
The second day we planned to hike to our next lodge "Schronisko Markowe Szczawiny". We changed our original trail a bit and we ended up hiking to "Masorny Gron" ( about 6.5 km ) and then we hiked down the ski slope to a near by town. We had to find a way to get to "Krowiarki" trail again and unfortunately there were no buses running that day. We were already a bit tired and didn't want to add any more kilometers so we decided to hitchhike. Luckily for us the first car that we tried to stop picked us up. We hiked another 6 km on an easy blue trail to the next lodge.
This was our last hiking day. We left our backpacks at the lodge and we headed up a yellow trail (second hardest) to Babia Gora. The hike was definitely the hardest that we did during our trip. We had to claim up some chains and the trail was really steep, especially towards the summit. However, there were many kids and people of all ages at the summit and as long as you are careful and bring enough water, anybody can do this hike. The views at Babia Gora are spectacular and the hike was totally worth it! One more thing. Don't ever ignore the weather in the mountains, especially when going to Babia Gora. The weather changes really fast and this mountain is known for strong winds and scary thunderstorms. There is nowhere to hide at the top of the mountain and many people have been struck by lightning and died. So be careful out there!