Mt Hoverla, Carpathian Mountains, Ukraine Week 28 28th - 29th October 2011
We didn't know it at the time but as we approached the Carpathian National Nature Park entrance there was Mt Hoverla in the background. About 12km away.

We are at about 850m. The peak is at 2061m. The car park at Zaroslyak is at about 1250m.

Using our enormous mathematical ability that means we had about 800m to walk up (and about 3.5km along).

We would have liked to have seen the Caucasian Mountains like this but alas, the political situation in Georgia and surrounds put a real block on that thought.

Signing into the park took about 15 minutes and 40 Hrv (about A$5).

A hand written book with lots of columns needing vehicle registration and passport and a few of the other useless bits of info beloved of bureaucrats..

All very friendly and helpful. Including an A4 sized copy of a cm to the km topographic (contour) map with routes marked.

Along with some very definite instructions about "go this way, don't go that way".

We are well used to walking with large scale contour maps and a compass so this was very welcome after 6 months without.

On the way into the park we saw evidence of plantations and logging

And as the road climbed we also saw evidence of snow rather than just the heavy frost we'd seen near our camp site.

The origin of the Carpathians is in the same orogeny as the Alps. Just not as high or as steep. Mostly in Ukraine they extend into Moldava and Rumania.

The trees are mainly spruce, fir and, a bit of a surprise for us, beech. Mostly evergreen, and quite different to the deciduous trees we've been seeing for the last couple of months.

The park has areas of strict protection, regulated recreation, stationary recreation and economic.

From the park entrance it was an 8km drive to the car park at Zaroslyak.

Some sort of winter sports training centre and reputedly a hotel.

These buildings at the car park were fairly low key souvenir stalls.

It was one of those idyllic autumn days that are found in mountains.

Clear blue skies (really, not a cloud in sight) and cold (the snow was dry rather than slushy and icy).

As we climbed above the tree line we could see further and further.

The full frontal approach was a bit deceptive.

The bit up the ridge is quite steep.

Doing our best imitation of mountain goats it took us a bit more than the couple of hours the park people reckon it takes to the top.

We are beginning to feel our age. 

There were some other walkers on our track, including a 10 year old girl celebrating her birthday with lots of encouragement from mum and dad (reminiscent of some of the things we dragged our kids through!).

Just past the steep part a glimpse of the snow covering to the south.
Remembering the "good old days" before biscuits came in packages with just the wrong number to divide equally among a hungry family we'd bought some loose chocolate biscuits by the kg at the local shop.

Perhaps the packaging industry has the only real consumer use of prime numbers, 

Not enough biscuits of course as they were all eaten. And we'd bought an odd number!

We thought it was the top, the map and compass said it was the top, but we couldn't see the large cross that's supposed to be on the top.

Easier going now though.

Having said that, it was a bit slippier than it looked and part way up we had doubts about whether to proceed.

As always though we were pleased we did.

And finally the cross at the top.

There were other people around. They seemed to have been more adventurous than us and walked along a south-north ridge for several km.

Also a guided tour that seemed to have come along the ridge and descended where we had ascended.

We saw a friendlier side of Ukrainians than we've met so far. A drink of something warm from the father of our 10 year old birthday girl. Advice on the tracks. Pleasant surprise at us having come from Australia.

Perhaps just the normal effect of people who have walked up a hill anywhere in the world - the higher we are the more willing people are to talk. It certainly helped make a good day better.

The view south from the top.
It was cold, but not too cold for a rest and look round.

Probably because of a total lack of wind of any description.

There was just something never ending and appealing about this view to the west.

To help the memory cells, though they hardly need any assistance in this case, this picture is now the desktop background on the netbook.


And yes. For those who think that if there isn't a photo it didn't happen. We wuz here.
To the south "again".
And of course we had to go back down at some time.
We passed some "happy campers" almost back at Zaroslyak.

There are numerous "no fires" notices throughout Ukraine which seem to be cheerfully ignored.

We stopped by a clear mountain stream to fill the water tanks.

Ali stayed inside with the heater on and made a late lunch while I bravely sacrificed myself to the elements and filled the tanks.

It wasn't too bad once I'd learned not to get my hands wet and cold.

Well worth it for some clear mountain stream water.

The exit from the park. We signed the book again.

We were both tired and aching after only 5 hours of walking. Back to our campsite of the previous night to nurse our aches and pains.

Then a rest day in the same campsite.

Next stop is Hungary. Now that we have a sense of what the weather may have done to the mountain passes we can decide whether to cross the Carpathians and follow the River Tisa, which marks the border, or drive round the north of the mountains.

Methinks we'll try the mountain passes (a bit less than 1000m). We'll take a couple of days to drive to the border.

Eger and Budapest, Hungary Week 29 30th October - 4th November 2011

Julie Wed, 02 Nov 11 12:40:46 +1100
Reminds me of the Cascades back home. Thank you for doing/writing this. It is wonderful.

Lisa Leake Wed, 02 Nov 11 15:04:40 +1100
Thank you so much for taking us along on your trip with this blog. Gosh, I missed reading about you while you were waiting to cross the border, and without internet over the last weeks. Looking forward to continuing through Hungary. Thanks guys!

jon Thu, 03 Nov 11 21:13:47 +1100
Ahh, some how, Ukraine sounds so much more relaxing than Russia.

More safe travels.

Robn Whitaker Sat, 05 Nov 11 18:37:48 +1100
Hi Julian and Ali - have been following your journey - missed while you dropped off in Ukraine. Comment on it with Dave C at our weekly sessions. It has been a fascinating trek. thanks for sharing it with us.


Sorry, comments closed.