The White Mountains and Marianne's road
During my long trip to Śnieżnik last autumn, I visited also the neighbouring area of the "White mountains" (Góry Bialskie / Bělské Vrchy). Since the trip was excessively too long (back to the car almost at night !), I decided to split it into two pages to present each areas as they deserve. The lack of pictures made me wait until I get a bit more. Here we are so let's go for the second part !
The white mountains, culminating at Travná Hora, 1125m , are not very high, but the area has a particularly rich network of biking trails, including an alphalted road, only dedicated to bikes, going up to 1000m.
Again, this cicuit lies on the polish/czech border, allowing a loop that was not possible before 2008. The czech mountain hut Chata Paprsek makes a fine goal, and place for a break.
For the (geographical) anecdote, you must know that these mountains are the junction of 3 water divides, between the Baltic, the North sea, and the Black sea.
I started the circuit from Bielice, so I am going to describe it this way.
As we leave the car park, pass the last houses and park entrance sign, we need to cycle up the long valley of Bielice. This remains an asphalted road in most places, but in very bad state, generally gentle but quite steep in a couple of places. As we get near the upper end of the valley, we need to leave on the right a red-marked trail (by which we will return), and keep going on the main one, turning left. In the upper end, easternmost, the trail stops being asphalted and describes a square-angle going south. In this small portion, we need to look for a discrete pedestrian footpath on the left. This is an unofficial way that goes to the Polish-Czech border.
There is a bit of bike-pushing through the dense blueberries bush and dead trees, but this is the fun and adventurous part of the trip ! Few hundred meters later we find the usual white and red plots of the border, with a tiny trail that follows it. It is useless to try to keep this one and we keep crossing the bush until we find soon the Czech green-marked official path. Here we are ! The trail is wide, full of bends and very nice to cycle. We pass below the top of Travná hora, and get after a steep descent to the junction with the read trail, that takes us quickly to the mountain hut Chata Paprsek. This is a very nice and clean hut with a lot of facilities, including a nice restaurant with local specialities.
We leave the place by the read trail (well cycleable) instead of the asphalted road, which goes near Růžová bouda (a closed basic hut) and Medvědí bouda (another small closed hut). Near this one, we need to cycle up the start of the valley, and take the red trail. There is a bit of push at the start, but after it's fine. It goes below "Chlupenkovec", below the border, and describes after a big round-shaped half-circle under the prominence "Zhorélá", to get back near the Seninka. The red marks leave the track for a steep descent on the left, but we stay on the track, that takes us to a higher point of the road pass Kladské sedlo (Przełęcz Płoszczyna in polish).
After we pass the border, there is a little descent which takes us in the upper part of the village of Nowa Morawa. We catch the blue trail which goes inside a long valley, and which starts with a gentle slope going up. The slope increases as we go, and becomes firmly steep, and finally infamous near the end.
For the story, I struggled with this part during long horrible minutes, knackered and never seeing the end, against the falling night...
There is a little steep "S" that announces the end, and the rewards comes suddenly as we reach the flat asphalted road over 1000m, mentionned in the overview: Marianne's road (Queen of the Netherlands in the 19th century, who built it), just below the top of Rudawiec.
The views are gorgeous, and unveil stunning panoramas on whole area, a wilderness of countless valleys covered by dense forests. Definitely amongst the wildest places in Poland. Mariane's road takes us back to the Bielice valley and the point we passed as we started.
One can also decide to shorten this section using the shorter variant via the path "Czarnobielski Dukt", a straightforward descent into the forest, getting back directly to Bielice.
The circuit is accessible both from Poland or Czech Republic. There is road pass which links both areas : Przełęcz Płoszczyna/Kladské sedlo, which is a part of the circuit.
But the best trailheads are:
- For Poland, the long and secret valley of Bielice, or the village of Nowa Morawa
- For Czech Republic, the previously mentionned Chata Paprsek has a got car park.
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