Published: 14.07.2021

 Hey! Hey! My name is Honza and at the beginning of May, together with two friends - Michal and Radim, I went to the Krkonoše Mountains to complete a DofE expedition. Sun, rain, fog and snow. All this in the highest and perhaps the most beautiful Czech mountain range, which boasts many beauties. Three days and two nights in the mountains. That was our DofE expedition for us!

Get Started

We start in the very heart of the western Krkonoše - Harrachov. From there we quickly reach the Mumlava waterfall, which we can hear from afar. We admire the power of the water, take a few photos and continue along the river, which thanks to the rain in the previous days is beautifully murmuring, and so the meters we climb pass pleasantly. Around six o'clock in the evening we are at the crossroads near the Four Lords, here we breathe for a while and then continue along the milled path to the Labská bouda. It is going great until the snow mantles end and we have to continue through the melted snow. Fortunately, the almost one and a half meter deep layer of snow ends at Labská and we continue along the stone path around the Labský waterfall. The views of Labský důl and Zlaté vrchší are spoiled by a big cloud, which starts to engulf the surrounding peaks and us. We are passing Martin's huts and we have one last kilometer to go to the finish of the first day - the shelter Pod Smělcem.

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We scramble up the hill and we can see the roof of our current home. Unfortunately, we also hear strange voices and in no time we recognize six other tourists who had the same idea as us. We wish them well with their just-cooked dinner and start asking if they know of a nice place to sleep, because six people in an emergency shelter is quite a lot, let alone three more. One of them immediately answers us: "It's best you go to Petrovky, they have such a canopy there, maybe better than here after all". Thank you for the advice and we take our backpacks again. As we are leaving, another one says to us: "Hoshi, remember the most important rule in the mountains - don't die." We take this advice to heart as well. With slight uncertainty of where we will sleep tonight we climb up to the Men's Stones when it happens.

Hope has dawned on us

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The clouds part and an incredible spectacle unfolds in the sky behind us. The setting sun finds its way to us, giving us the feeling that it's not as bad as it seems after all, and the belief that the described canopy will indeed be better than a crowded shelter. Full of euphoria we climb the Men's Stones, the Girls' Stones and run down the hill to Petrovec. We discover that the promised canopy is right in front of the entrance to the hut and thus covered by only three walls. We prefer to reason with the hut keeper, who even invites us in. But we politely refuse and spread out our mattresses in front of the hut's threshold. Stars in the sky, light winds and less than two degrees. That was the first night of our journey.

Second day

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In the morning the sun shines and we have a quiet breakfast, until around 8:30 we set off again. We pass by Spindleruv Bouda and start to meet bigger and bigger groups of mostly Polish tourists. There is quite a lot of snow under Malý Šišák, so cross-country skiers are passing us. At eleven o'clock we are at the Poledni kamen, where, like the others, we choose a small break with a snack. From here we continue along the Czech-Polish Friendship Trail and below us we have a wonderful view of the Big and later the Little Pond. It is beautiful, and we can see far into Poland. We are probably in the most visited part of the mountains, so it is not surprising that it is really busy around Luční Bouda. 

We would like to arrive at today's shelter first, so it takes us less than an hour to reach Klínovky at a faster pace. We succeeded and we have the new shelter to ourselves. A mountain spring, wooden benches, a glass front overlooking the valley, against the concrete in front of the hut we feel like we are in a hotel. The only thing missing is a door, but we solve that in a moment with a bivy sack. We cook dinner, finish the videos for the DofE and look forward to the sunset. Unfortunately, a big cloud is driving from Pec, bringing with it rain. We take shelter in the shelter and watch the fast moving clouds over the valley, finding that strong winds and thunderstorms are driving the mountains. The worst should pass us by, but we secure the emergency door with planks and stones just in case. We inflate our mattresses and crawl into our sleeping bags, which are pleasantly warm, so we just listen to what Krakonoš has in store for us and slowly fall asleep.

What was that?

An hour after midnight, we are all woken up by a big bang. We don't want to be outside right now, we can hear the rain and the strong wind hitting our roof in gusts. The makeshift door is still holding, so all we can think about is the planned 4.30am wake up call, after all would it be worth it in this weather?

Foggy morning

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We wake up before the alarm. We couldn't sleep anymore, so we decide whether to really go, even though it doesn't look too nice outside. It's drizzling and the fog is very thick, at least we'll finally get to try out the jackets properly, we tell ourselves. We climb through the wet snow to Chalupa na Rozcestí and continue along the asphalt to Výrovka, the weather is still the same. Behind Výrovka we meet similar snow mantles as on the first day, but these are much bigger and look impressive thanks to the fog.

After Luční bouda we enter the Úpa peat bog. We are walking through the snow and on the poles, without which we would soon go off the road thanks to the fog. We pass the source of the Úpa River on a wooden footbridge, at the end of which we are in for an unpleasant surprise. Thanks to the higher temperature and the night rain, the snow turned into slush, which in some places reached our knees. We know that it is not far to the finish line, so we try to run through the place as fast as possible.

A moment later we are at the Silesian House. It's blowing hard, so we don't put on our hoods and climb the last and highest hill - Snezka. The wind blows clouds over the rocks that line our path. We hold on to our chains and now we are standing on the top of the mountain, the Czech Republic and our expedition! Thanks guys!

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In conclusion, I would like to thank the DofE program and the Leisure Time Centre in Trutnov for the opportunity and support in the realization of our expedition, as well as the HUSKY company, which provided us with backpacks and jackets that made our wandering easier and more pleasant, and the sleeping bags, which allowed us to gain strength for the next days.

We can only recommend a trip to the Krkonoše Mountains, especially in the spring months when the mountains are not yet so full. Have a great time and I wish you all lots of great experiences!

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