First taxi back to Mizhhir’ya, then bus to Myslivka where I want to start my hike. This means I’ll start later than I’d like but hopefully it does not matter.
A small clash with the bus driver who thinks that I wanted to cheat with the ticket. Already at the bus station I wondered about my ticket but then thought that maybe this is some strange Ukrainian way of doing things. Well, it turned out that it stated some earlier stop and I had to pay 20 grivnyas extra. This was no problem, of course but the driver being really rude was. Perhaps he should learn foreign languages, it might make him feel better.
I’m heading for Gorgany mountains which is one of the most forested and difficult to access areas in the Ukrainian Carpathians. The difficulty is mostly due to de steep slopes. The name comes from grey stone slabs that cover the mountain tops.Sun is high when I start walking and it is very hot. Soon the trail enters the forest which is better. People are picking blueberries and when I stop to look where the trail is then a woman immediately points me to the right direction. Trail goes up, lot of sweating. Make a blueberry-eating stop. Cigarette buts and other garbage on the trail. Not much but still.
Two peaks have to be climbed: Malyi Pustoshak and Velykyi Pustoshak. The first one is lower but since I start lower this is the more demanding one. Between the two peaks I start hearing noise. Part of it comes from above, mild thunder. It also rains a bit now. Another noise is clearly from people. Soon I see four hikers parking under a tarp. They are surprised to see a solo hiker and invite me to join them under the roof when the weather gets worse. Otherwise they are heading the same direction that I am, Nimetska pasture.
After climbing down from the second peak, the pasture soon becomes visible. Grey clouds drift over it and thunder hums above. Plants up to my shoulders, all wet and wanting to rub themselves at me. I spot a place where someone has camped and leave my backpack to go looking for water. It is cool and a bit scary too to walk under thundering clouds in deep vegetation. Find no water and turn back. The Ukrainians have arrived. They are sure there has to be water. So we continue along the trail and really, first there is a sign saying “water” and after a while a blue stick marking a place where water comes from the ground. A miracle. I probably hadn’t found it by myself. Maybe the guys are a compensation for the rude bus driver.
We continue to the other end of the pasture. There’s some more level ground for tents. And back to get water. There’s actually another spring more close but I fail to find it.
Sun comes out, valleys steam, the view is stunning. We chat into the night and Vova, Gera, Vitali and Sasha insist that I taste all of their food. I get a thorough overview of Ukrainian kitchen, corruption, mountains and a hummingbird.
Distance walked: 13,6 km.