It has been a while since I have hiked the native Carpathian Mountains, seems it took me for ages! So that’s why this year we decided to hike the unexplored places before – Eastern Gorgan.
The dates and participants have been chosen although some names of participants later were replaced by new ones. In the end, there were eight travelers ready for hiking. Pasha was responsible for food, by the way, he’s the one who offered to do this part going to the Carpathian Mountains.
In my experience, in summer train tickets to the most popular destinations (like Lviv, Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa, etc. southern cities) have been bought too fast, so the week before hiking, there was nothing to do, only to choose seats in 3rd class. The variety of the seats consisted of “side seats”, “seats next to CW” and “side seats next to CW”. Despite this, we could buy tickets almost for the whole group. Hesitated ones bought tickets by themselves.
How to get to the Carpathian mountains and Eastern Gorgany
Guys from Zaporizhzhia gathered at the central railway station about 30 minutes before the train departure and the other part of our company would join us on the way to the station of “Dneprostroi”.
So, our train No. 120 destination “Zaporizhzhia-Lviv” has to get us to the Lviv city in 24 hours, and after that, 3 hours later, we had to get to the train No. 606 destination “Lviv-Rahov” to “Yaremche Station”. That was the initial plan.
On the train, we met a very friendly and experienced hiker in the Carpathians – Vitalii Mazur. Having looked at our route, he advised us to start from the Tatarov village, which is only 40 minutes further than Yaremche. From there it’s more logical and closer to begin our route along the Eastern Gorganes.
Trekking along the Carpathian Mountains consisted of such destinations: Zaporizhzhia – Lviv – Tatarov village – Guk waterfall – Khomiak Mountain – Syniak Mountain- Malyi Gorgan Mountain – Zubrinka river – Dovbushanec Mountain – Dovbushanka Mountain – Vedmezhyk mountain – Bistrica river – Bistrica village – Nadvornaya village -Lviv – Zaporizhzhia.
Lifehack: if your mobile devices are completely discharged, you can always charge your device at the Lviv train station (there are a lot of power sockets as on the platform as well as in the station building.
I recommend you take over a tee and a plastic bag for charging more than one device at the same time 😉
Late dinner and the first overnight
The way to the Carpathians for Zaporizhian tourists is too long. After one and a half days, our train arrived at Tatarovo village with a little bit of delay at 10:00 PM.
For a place to stay overnight, we chose a one which is 2 km away from the train station near the river and spring. We decided to walk along the railway line, but in the darkness, it’s more comfortable to walk along the asphalt road, so consider it!
After 50 minutes’ walk, we reached our staging post breathing a deep fresh Carpathian air. It turned out that this is a small glade on the slope with a big table and benches, a fireplace and a gazebo in which you can hide from the rain. This is the best place ever! 😉
It was around midnight. We set up the tents and after that, there was a question to have or not to have dinner. Nobody was hungry and it was rather late, but the strongest argument was that “we traveled more than 1000 km during the day and a half and did not have dinner outside?!”
Gas bottle+ multi-fuel burner + Zhenya’s some culinary arts and in just 40 minutes dinner is ready! Well, the first dinner can be without diluted alcohol and guitar songs.
So we were sitting until 2 AM not hungry, a little bit tired but very pleased and happy that we finally go out in the Carpathians.
Visiting Guk waterfall
The next morning we planned to visit the Guk waterfall. Last night we’ve noticed the checkpoint on the way to the waterfall, so we decided to take a shortcut and just pass it by. To do this, we had to cross the river, which is particularly refreshing in the Carpathians! If you would like to freshen up, cross the river in the mountains! Highly recommended! 😉
There is a good asphalt road to the Guk waterfall, so it’s possible to drive a car with the whole family. The waterfall is five km away from the place where we stayed overnight. We overcome this way in one and a half hours, from time to time we stop for halts near the river.
There was a suddenness when we almost got to the place! Hundreds of people with children, strollers, umbrellas like ants, were walking in both directions, back and forth. Those who have already seen the waterfall left and those who are still want to see it went forth.
Despite the crowd, I could find a nice place to take a picture!
Later I knew the price for visiting Guk waterfall (information for 2018th) was:
- Child – 10 hryvnias
- Adult – 25 hryvnias
Failed “Khomiak” (the “Hamster” mountain)
Freshen up under the 15-meter Guk waterfall, we returned 1.5 km, to the nearest turn on our main route towards to the Khomiak Mountain. According to our hiking plan, we have to stay over the second night under the mountain in a montane meadow (polonyna) Khomiak.
Just around the turn, well-marked road (by red-white markers) began to lace up quickly! After all, we had to climb up more than 500 meters to get to the nearest mountain shepherds’ hut.
As soon as we managed to overcome this incredibly steep climb, the rain charged! The forecast predicts that the weather is expecting a rainfall in the afternoon and the next day.
Firstly, we considered waiting for the rain to stop under the pine 🙂 , Pasha even took the rainfly from his tent, but at night he regrets about it, cause he has to sleep in a wet tent the whole night. Half an hour later the rain stopped a little bit, so we took this moment to move to the place to stay overnight.
After the rain and lunch is on schedule! We took some water from the spring (in this area there are only two drinking springs) and make lunch with tea!
The shepherd who lives nearby, you can buy sheep cheese “bryndza” for 150 hryvnias per kilo (the price is for 2018th).
There were several groups in the spacious meadow which have already occupied the place, so it took us some time to find a beautiful place for overnight. Because of the rainy forecast, we decided to hike Khomiak Mountain in the morning, if we have enough time for it. So that’s why we all relaxed and spent the evening with songs on the guitar 🙂
The morning was shining, but after checking out a plan for the whole day, it became clear that we didn’t have time for Khomiak Mountain. It’s a pity, this mountain looks so majestic and marvelous, in common like a “hamster”! 😉
Syniak Mountain and our first “bruises”
According to our plan, the next mountain was Syniak Mountain. At 11:00 in the morning, we already started to hike, we took enough water supply because there is no water source in the mountain. The forecast assumed that the weather in the afternoon will rain. Suspicious, but at this time, the forecast was right! 🙁
Supplied with raincoats, we continue the route. The path weaved through the forest, and at that time, it was gaining height. Soon the forest had changed from the tall smereka to the small spruce. The stones appeared on a path more often, they were covered with green moss. We understood that today we have to walk on these stones for a long time because rain made them unpleasantly slippery. So, we didn’t have any other opportunity, everything was on the plan, and according to the route, it was typical in the Carpathians.
Stone by stone, hopping slowly but surely from time to time and having a snack of blueberry, we reached the top of the Syniak Mountain! Yahoo!! In this travel, we have a newcomer Dasha, who started hiking in the mountains for the first time with an experience but not as many as experienced hikers!
Ahead we were waited by a scree path about two and a half km along the ridge to the summit of Malyi Gorgan Mountain. From the summit, we had to slope down to the place to stay overnight.
Probably, there are picturesque views, when rainy clouds and fog are gone. However, sometimes, the fog dissipated and we could enjoy the views on the tracks of the “Bukovel” ski resort.
Monotonous path, tiredness, and some slippery stones reminded of themselves! Half an hour later, almost each of us tried how to “fell on your butt”. By the way, I wasn’t an exception; having made a careless emphasis on the stone edge slipped and injured my leg a little!
Syniak Mountain remembered us beautiful views, rainy weather and slippery stones and of course, bruises all over our bodies 🙂
After having rest on the top of the mountain Malyi Gorgan, which is very huge by the way, we decided to go to the path down past Char Mountain to the meadow to have lunch right there. It took half an hour to the path down.
It was raining when we saw a nice house in the meadow, so we decided to check whether somebody was there.
– Is anybody home? – We asked coming near to the house.
– Yes, I am. – The old woman said so unexpectedly for us.
– Excuse us, where can we get some water? – We decided to ask despite seeing the spring.
– It’s next to the house – The voice answered.
So we decided to wait outside the rain and have lunch in the nearest pine forest next to the house.
After having lunch, we realized our capabilities and decided to take the path to the nearest place to stay overnight near the river. The plan was changed from the complicated mountain route to the simplified one along the cycle route!
I admired the idea because I would like to see where bikers ride in the Carpathian Mountains. The path looked great for the mountain bikes, but unfortunately, the road was littered with branches, so this year bikers can’t ride there.
Staying in a place with some gasoline
Soon the path went out to the main road leading through the felling. It’s so pathetic to see that deforestation in the Carpathian is going on both legal and illegal ways!
So this road came to the river, we crossed it and stayed in a nice place with fire pit and tree stumps.
Everything was soaked after the rain, and it was almost impossible to make a fire. Suddenly in the bushes, I saw a bottle with some liquid in it, which reminded me of gasoline.
I smelled it and made sure that’s it’s gasoline for real. Probably lumberjacks left it. It seemed we were lucky and saving some of the liquid will make a campfire, but it didn’t work that way!
We had to fiddle about with fire, but at least, we managed to do it almost in the dark.
Couple words about mushrooms
Pathing down different kinds of mushrooms had shown us. There were fly agarics, chanterelles, gyropoorus blue and so on. I’m not a great specialist in mushrooms, the only one I know how it looks like is the Carpathian mushroom’s king Boletus edulis! So that’s why we decided to try our luck and to find some known mushrooms along the path.
In 10 minutes, we were rewarded by several prominent representatives of “white mushroom”! 🙂
So, it was the point to change our menu, and the borsch was replaced by mushroom soup.
The next morning, began with the words “Is everybody OK?” After yesterday’s wet walk on the “green” stones, somebody could be injured. Everybody was great, so this day we have to continue the same route along the steep slopes of the ridge of Doboshanka and Vedmezhyk mountains.
After short debates, our group separated. There were three of us who continued the way along the river, and the rest group decided to try their hand at the mountain. We arranged a meeting point, checked GPS coordinates, and shared contacts to be in touch if plans will change.
The forecast weather promised to be sunny, so the path should be dry and not slippery on these “scary” piles of stones.
From the beginning, the path from fork near the river takes a steep ascent. In such conditions, it’s necessary to go slowly zigzags traversing the slope.
After one and a half hours, we spotted berries and it appears more often, so the group made “berries stops” from time to time . You can find raspberries, strawberries and, of course, blueberries, it’s so pleasant, but what’s more, it’s good for health.
Thirty minutes later, we went to the edge of the mountain and amazed by our achievement. It’s incredible at the same time it’s frightening and stunning feelings! 🙂
Coming closer to the slope, it became clear how to path up, and it seems even less difficult to the path. In 40 minutes, we climbed the ridge along huge green boulders, and decided to stop for lunch, enjoying wonderful views for a while!
We still have a long way to get to the Doboshanka and Vedmezhyk mountains.
Surprisingly, we overcame this pathway quickly, almost in 2 hours.
Path down from Vedmezhyk mountain
During the climb, we met two tourists at a steady pace; they followed the same route as we did, so we keep in touch with them, as not to stray from the path. On the top of Vedmezhyk Mountain, we made a final reconnaissance (map binding to the terrain and outline the route).
We started to path down and noticed the tourists, which we have met before. The descent through the stone’s way didn’t make any difficulties, but to go through the “zhereb” (small spruces usually crooked, densely growing) turned out to be very difficult. The path was wagging constantly and we got lost eventually. So, we had to back a couple of hundred meters, and find the right pass. Soon, “zhereb” changed to tall smerekas. We had enough time so we didn’t hurry and had a great mood!
As we started to path down, I got a message from the other part of our team that our meeting place is displaced. They sent me new coordinates in SMS, I used “Maps.Me” and paved the route. It’ll take two or three hours to get to the new place, and it’s great, here we go!
The wrong turn. What you have to do if you’re lost
On the next meadow, we saw the same two tourists (our guides) from the last time. They started to path down to the nearest village, and we had to go to the other way. We plotted the route by GPS and followed it! 🙂
Unfortunately, GPS can’t research the path, its condition, abandonment, weeds, and other obstacles, that may occur in the wood.
Walking by a good path for half an hour, we got into a windbreak. It was so close and large even better than in the painting “Morning in a pine forest” by Shishkin. We proudly overcame this difficult part of the new route and stopped for a berry snack. At that time we didn’t know what is waiting for us ahead…
As soon as we went ahead, the path turned into “boar road”, i.e. which only animals use. And at this moment, GPS satellite has ceased to find out where we are! It showed whatever it wants: that the path is nearby and like we stayed in one place (we continued to move on though), but couldn’t find out our exact location!
An hour later, we still couldn’t figure out our location. There was nothing to do, and we decided to path down geographically on Azimuth. We decided to walk to the road near the river, and a place to stay overnight couldn’t be far.
Suddenly the river’s voice was heard! (Actually, it was early for noise, because it’d take a 2-3km to the river which we planned to get to.) I began to search the surroundings by GPS, looked at the map BUT THERE WASN’T ANY RIVER! It’s unbelievable, but it flows!
Thanks to Bear Grylls and his advice: “If you are getting lost, look for the nearest river and continue to go downstream. You’ll meet people!” We did so, walking along the river we went to the huge abandoned tree felling.
I spoke up: “If the timber fell here, it should be transported to somewhere, so the road must be here!”. Our chances to end it, has increased, even though the sun was setting.
Murphy’s laws: if you think things cannot get any worse, they will…
First, we found the road, and the non-existent river flowed along with it. Perhaps this river was a reason to stop deforestation in this territory.
Well, there wasn’t another way just to follow the river. We used to jump from rock to rock to stay dry. There was sunset, and it didn’t matter whether you were wet or your foot slipped on a stone.
We fled as fast as we could… Pasha panicked a bit, Dasha sometimes slipped but continued to move on so confidently falling behind and catching up. The road was disgusting, what could be worse than walking along the river? 😉
In this situation, we just missed Murphy’s low “If you think things cannot get any worse, they will” – and here we go!
In thirty minutes later, we went out onto the adjoining road. Probably it led to the existing tree falling. This road was completely blended, with clay, yellow slush ankle-deep above it.
We tried to walk, but it was impossible. You just get stuck in the clay! On both sides are high mud slopes overgrown with bushes. We tried to climb one of it and even walked about 500 meters.
Murphy’s low worked again, the slope became completely unuseful, and the road became a mess.
In such conditions, we already reached the road in darkness. Finally, GPS could tell us a precise location, and there were only 600 meters to our place to stay overnight.
We were exhausted but saved!
The next few hours we spent story telling about our unforgettable adventure and after all, we deserved a well rest inside our tents in the great meadows.
A quick stop at “Bystritsa” but the lake is first
Everybody was saved and satisfied. A new day is for new sightseeing. There is five km to the Bystritsa village, and we don’t have to hurry up to get there, we have two more nights ahead.
So what shall we do?…
Discussing our plans about the meeting point with the other part of our team, we have noticed the lake which had mark Tourists’ rest place. That day we wouldn’t have time to reach it, but for today it is a perfect place to relax after wandering the previous day.
Three hours later, we were exploring the surroundings of the lake, had lunch and get rest as well as we could have it!
Everybody of the team knew that this is the last overnight in the Carpathian Mountains, so nobody fussed but tried to enjoy the last moments of adventure.
Those who wanted to freshen up in the river enjoyed the swimming, others who would like to take a nap or just lay surrounded by nature!
It’s a paradise place for sure!
Nadvornaya town. Continued to rest by the lake
At noon we packed up and went to the bus station in Bystritsa village to have the opportunity to go to the Nadvornaya town. There we could take a night train to Lviv.
Bystritsa is a big village, to get to the bus station, we had to walk almost 2.5 hours but we didn’t waste time and use the moment to visit local stores.
What could be better than having ice cream and refreshing lemonade! 🙂
From Bystritsa we went by public bus to Nadvornaya.
Nadvornaya is a big and cozy regional center. I like it because it’s possible to pitch a tent in a beautiful place by the lake.
So we decided to have a rest there until midnight and then go to the train station to take a train to Lviv.
The next morning, we scattered around Lviv. Some guys went to the “Osprey” store to get backpacks, to “Gorgany” store. Somebody went to “Kryivka” but I had another plan and arranged a meeting with my friend from Mont Blanc, Andrei Pavlesa. He is a talented music producer by the way.
He gave us a tour through his music studio with pleasure, shared his experience in making music. We spent a great time with a cup of coffee in “Lviv Kopalnia Kavy”.
To everybody who can read this long-long story, I’ll show the route that we managed to do!
The final KMZ file of our route
See you on a path! 😉