Today we would like to present our suggestion for a 5-day trip into the Bieszczady mountains. We put this plan into life early June, making smart use of some public holidays. The timing worked well for us, with just a few tourists around and surprisingly sunny weather. We are happy to have created a diverse plan which included some shorter ‘warm-up’ hikes, one 13-hour long challenge, a day at a lake and visits to fascinating cultural places. Add to this: old cemeteries hidden in the bushes, searches for traces of inexistent villages and attempts to understand the difficult history of this land and exciting holidays is what you get. Join us!
Day 1: Lesko, Wetlińska Polonyna, Chatka Puchatka shelter
We started in Lesko (can be reached from Krakow by bus), which we will devote a separate entry to, so stay tuned. Having visited it for half a day (more here), we took a bus to Kalnica (1.5h ride) and followed the red trail through Wetlińska Polonyna direction mountain hut “Chatka Puchatka”.
Chatka Puchatka means Winnie the Pooh’s hut in Polish, yet has surprisingly little to do with what one associates with the Ashdown Forest. It lacks the very basic comforts- no showers, no electricity, few beds and limited light which gets turned off early in the evening. What makes the stay there worth it are both the retro feeling this place offers and the spectacular views- equally at night, unpolluted with any light, and at sunrise, with morning fog trapped in the valleys.
On this day we still followed the red trail through Caryńska Polonyna to Ustrzyki Górne where we stayed for a night. Not only did we admire the beautiful views, spanning across both Polish and Ukrainian landscapes, but also the brave ultrarunners who fought to complete a 70km long mountain run within the challenging time limits. We couldn’t possibly complain about the burden of our hike. On your way, don’t miss an abandoned cemetery in Brzegi Górne, a reminder of the cultures long gone. We spent the night in Ustrzyki Górne in Kremenaros shelter.
Day 3. Ustrzyki Górne, Wołosate, Rozsypaniec and Tarnica peaks, Muczne
We left Ustrzyki very early in the morning and headed to Wołosate and entered the red trail again, climbed up Rozsypaniec, Halicz and Tarnica peaks, then headed to Krzemieniec and rested in Muczne only, which altogether took 13 hours of marching. Halicz, Rozsypaniec and Tarnica peaks are the crown jewels of the Bieszczady mountains, with Tarnica being the highest one. Note: please remember to stop by in Wołosate and look for ruins of a former Orthodox church and cemetery- remains of what used to be an important religious location for all minorities living in the region.
Hot sunny weather made us quickly verify our water supplies assumptions; luckily, we managed to find some deliciously refreshing mountain streams on our way, nearby Tarnica. The efforts were compensated with loads of food and drinks down in a local restaurant in Muczne. This effort really made us proud- we struggled to complete the route but it was some very rewarding challenge!
Day 4. Stuposiany and Polańczyk
In the morning, we marched to Stuposiany where we caught a bus to Polańczyk, a quiet resort at the Solina Lake which is described in depth here. It was a great pleasure to simply rest for some time, swim, stretch the muscles and enjoy the views.
Stuposiany is also an interesting place to think about- once an industrial centre of the region, with its own train connections, mining, glassworks and sawmills, heavily affected by the WW2 and post-war forced re-settlements of Ukrainian population (Operation Vistula), now it’s just a couple of houses, one bus stop and a devastated cemetery with a dozen of graveyards reminding of the past.
Day 5. Sanok
The grande finale of our trip was the visit in Sanok, famous for its Museum of Folk Architecture. Details here! Around lunch time, we headed off back to Krakow… Eh, reality, welcome back to!
This is just a brief summary of the PL language version, focusing on key information. We are happy to elaborate upon it, share insiders’ tips, advise- just shoot a comment or an email and we’ll be happy to assist you in exploring Poland!