Behind Smolenice runs a part of the Carpathian Mountains, the Small Carpathians. As seen in this picture from the town, I’m often surprised at how much difference a little elevation can make to the appearance of winter. Behind those hills is Zaruby, the highest point of the Small Carpathians at 768 m (2519 feet) elevation.
Last weekend my husband packed all four kids in the car to go visit Babicka (Grandma) while I had the luxury of meeting up with two women to go for a hike, Julia (Yulia) and Julie, of the blog Wish I Were Here(go check it out, seriously, she writes travel memoirs in the most lovely evocative style). We started at the castle, where the pond above is located.
Ramps (or ramsons) are starting to come out. The leaves taste exactly like raw garlic and soon the forest floor will be lushly carpeted in garlic scented green.
As we got higher, the hike winds through gnarled trees and rocky outcrops, weird and barren but beautiful. It took us about two hours to get to the top at a decent pace. I was pleasantly surprised that I had made it up a number of years ago at seven months pregnant, for the trail is rather steep. A larger one of those rocky outcrops denotes the peak, where stands a black cross and a book to sign. From the actual peak there isn’t much of a view, but a view north is to be had just behind and a bit below the peak. Or rather, I should say a potential view, as the air was quite hazy. Tucked in behind on the north side, a few small patches of snow still lingered, surprising as in town we only had one or two dustings all winter.
We then followed the ridge across to Havranica, lower down but with a rock wall. Two pairs of climbers were shaking out the winter inactivity of their ropes; above them we took in the hazy view.
There’s Smolenice castle, again. A short jaunt down through the forest and we found ourselves back full circle at the castle. A beautiful hike with friendly people in gorgeous weather – a perfect Saturday!