Day Four: Climb Every Mountain

We awoke early on our last day at Samotnia to sounds of water dripping from the roof. If we had not known better, we would have thought a water main had broke.

The rushing downpour was not from a broken pipe. Warm temperatures were to blame. The four new inches of snow from Saturday’s storm fell victim to an overnight thaw. By the time we were outside the hut and ready to leave at 8 am, the snow and ice were mush. A residual ice patch near the front door of the hut made for a hasty and almost painful retreat. I slipped on the ice despite years of ice skating practice.

Ice Rink in Front of Samotnia

Ice Rink in Front of Samotnia
© Copyright El Jefe 2016

The path up the cirque past Akademicka to the top of the plateau was soggy. The trail was partially exposed by the melting, slushy snow. Our plastic double boots were perfect. We reached the crossroads at the top of the plateau in good time without soggy feet.

Crossroads (Part I)

Crossroads (Part I)
© Copyright El Jefe 2016Crossroads

Crossroads (Part II)

Crossroads (Part II)
© Copyright El Jefe 2016

The continued march towards Śnieżka was uneventful. We trudged through the mash potato like surface occasionally following the deep, weighted track left by the mountain patrol, who had already completed their morning rounds.

Before we reached Śnieżka, we turned a corner and took the black trail that lead back to town. The trail was wet. In several places, it looked like a septic tank had exploded or a dog marked much more than just a spot. The ground had a mustard complexion due to the color of the sand below the watery surface. Again, our double boots and gaiters kept the frigid and murky water at bay.

Ski Slopes and Ski Lifts in the Region

Ski Slopes and Ski Lifts in the Region

The Männer came upon a sign that announced another summit. We effortlessly bagged Mt Kopa at 1350 meters without blinking an eye. We celebrated our quick success with a stanza of “Copacobana” by Barry Manilow, a Billboard gold single I frequently lip-synced as a child.

Mt Kopa Boys Choir

Mt Kopa Boys Choir
© Copyright El Jefe 2016

Mt Kopa Manly Men

Mt Kopa Manly Men
© Copyright El Jefe 2016

The trail to Karpacz became icy as we descended down the hill. After a few hard falls, we put our crampons on to speed our descent. Along the way, we passed many day hikers out for a morning walk. I raced ahead to the bottom of the trail hoping to find a cash machine at the trail’s end. Fortunately, there was one conveniently located near the ski lift at the bottom of the hill. With enough cash to get our car out of the car park, we left the trees of the Karkonosze National Park and returned to the grand hotel in Karpacz where we left our car.

The Road to Karpacz

The Road to Karpacz
© Copyright El Jefe 2016

The Road in Karpacz

The Road in Karpacz
© Copyright El Jefe 2016

Texans Finish Tour; Finally Position State Flag Correctly

Texans Finish Tour; Finally Position State Flag Correctly
© Copyright El Jefe 2016

We did not have enough time for a proper meal in town. Snacking on our remaining rations, we drove backroads to get to the Polish A4 and A18 highways. The winding, looping, bumpy roads made it seem as if our return was greatly delayed. Despite two quick pitstops and rain, we made it safely back to Berlin in a little over four hours. With El Jefe at the helm, we took a victory lap past the Soviet War Memorial in Berlin.

Before we could regale about our successful trip back home, we were forced to confront another white topped challenge. To my complete surprise, my loving wife presented us with an amazing carrot cake, which we eagerly devoured after our long day.

Mt Carrot Cake

Mt Carrot Cake
© Copyright El Jefe 2016

A Crevasse of Carrot Cake

A Crevasse of Carrot Cake

The white sugar summit gave us just enough energy to make our next pitch. We left for the Prater Biergarten down the street where we found nourishment and refreshment.

Kaliningrad Cow Balls

Kaliningrad Cow Balls
© Copyright El Jefe 2016

Berliner Schnitzel

Berliner Schnitzel

We devoured the super-sized portions with few words. Our training was complete; our mission, a success.

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