4 days, 350KM by train and ~ 65KM on foot. A team of 4 and a dog took on an adventure to explore one of the national parks (a part of the national park of Samogitia) in Lithuania. The civilized world was left behind and a nomadic lifestyle was adopted. We have visited 200-year-old trees in the ancient “king woods”, ancient hillforts, long-forgotten magical places and the deepest rarely visited by people ancient forest. But all of that from the start.
5 am and already awake the train is leaving soon. Just enough time to grab breakfast and head out to the train station. We were lucky enough that we bought our tickets a day in advance since the train was fully booked.
We arrived to Plunge at around 11.20 a city from which during the age of Soviet Union thousands of people were driven out in train carts used for animals to Siberia. From here we started our 4 days around 65KM hike.
The weather was not perfect. Cloudy and with a light drizzle. The first part of the hike was nothing special we had to pass through the city and reach the park first. However, because we were finally free from the chains of the concrete jungle we were very excited.
We took it slow stopped a lot to rest and eat the heavy load we had with us. Probably the most interesting thing throughout the first day besides the camping grounds was the strange mushrooms we have found. Looked like eggs that just hatched but made from mud.
The first night camp had beautiful views around if you could ignore the campsite that looked like a battlefield just recently fought with the sky gray and lightly dripping raindrops, trees chopped midway and the sap dyed in red looked just like blood seeping through, the meadows and campgrounds plowed that almost not a single spot was left to camp at and tables and benches broken to never again to see the smiles of the campers.
But if you look past the destruction you can see that the beauty is still there. The lake appeared as if by magic as we crested the ridge. It was shaped like a perfectly flat disc of metal. Unruffled by wind or rain, it was vault still and restful.
The second day started similarly to the first – cloudy. The first stop was a small wooden church. It reminded me of the churches in fantasy books or movies.
The second stop was an ancient 200-year-old tree that used to be part of the kings’ forest. With the branches shaped like lightning forks.
While we were at it we have decided to enjoy ourselves to the full and cut through this ancient “Kings Forest”.
We walked through an umber-brown, ancient forest. It reeked of age. Its woody incense was from centuries of snapping branches crashing to the forest’s floor and rotting silently. Every sprawling tree we passed under reminded me of a watchful guardian, a silent sentinel of the groves. We decided to venture deeper into the tangled heart of this primeval forest. We hoped that it would lead us to the next stop.
After crossing the forest we arrived at the crossroad with an ancient wooden sword stuck in the ground. It was a sign that we were walking towards the correct direction. Before finally getting out of the forest we stumbled upon the beaver home which required us to do some improvised crossing to not disturb it.
Finally, upon escaping the forest we have arrived at a clearing near the lake which was our second sleeping spot.
Upon the sunrise, we were already awake and ready to hike again. This day included 2 mystical places through very beautiful countryside.
The first place was a hillfort that used to have a castle and settlement nearby you can still feel the mystical times when visiting the site.
Second place was a religious pagan labyrinth that is said to have magical/meditative powers to the people who walk in those labyrinths.
Followed by a short hike to the campsite where the rest of the day pleasantly surprised us with a terrific sunset followed by a huge thunderstorm. But we were so exhausted that we fell asleep almost instantly when the thunderstorm started.
The last day was the easiest of all. Visited a soviet union nuclear museum. I suggest visiting to all, who is in this area it still has the feeling of the dread that the nuclear bombs and Soviet mindset can bring to you. Cold, damp and depressing.
P.s. Pictures are all originals. If you would like to copy or use them you have to get a permission from the authors.