55 – Tramping Totems

Only experienced walkers can make a purposeful pace appear leisurely; and they did. We watched them come towards us across the country road, clad in khakis, bearing badges and a small but conspicuous Czech flag. Definitely not hunters! Forest rangers? Their cheery chatter and accompanying laughter approached, a friendly “Dobrý den” exchanged, one slowed briefly to interact with one of our dogs, then the five men and one woman passed us by. On their backs; huge rucksacks with more, smaller bags attached, and we counted one guitar and a smaller instrument case ; perhaps a ukulele. Adult scouts?

The first time I happened upon such a group, many years ago was when I stumbled upon a tramp’s den, complete with campfire, elaborate shelter, woodcutting bench, saws and all, in the forest, near Mnísek pod Brdy. And such were the questions I asked myself. Today as the same scenario plays out before our eyes, I am able to explain to my hiking friend that they are, in fact, tramps!

As we started our hiking itinerary this morning, I tell her what I know about this century old Czech tradition where a nature-loving group of friends sets off on a lengthy trek and spends the night at a tramping den, singing, drinking and cooking around a campfire. Inspired by the free spirit, symbolic of the American Wild West, elaborately sculpted totem poles, crowned with animal skulls can often be admired at these camps.

Difficulty : moderate Distance: 10 Km Time : approx 2h45

Starting point : Konrádov, just next to the little water source (studánka u hynků)

Fifteen minutes into the itinerary I have planned, we happen upon one such den and I am delighted to introduce my hiking friend to such a perfect example of the cultural phenomenon I have just been describing.

From the starting point, follow the green trail, go right on the green and yellow and just as you pass the country house which stands in an apple orchard, go left and follow yellow trail markers. The trail meanders round the huge rock formations and is particularly pleasant.

You will come across rocks which are worth a closer look ; even exploring. You will be able to climb a rock ladder and slide into an astonishing cave with two delightful arched windows.

Continue right up the yellow trail and backtrack on an almost parallel, unmarked path which will join up 4Kms later with a trail bearing blue markers. Follow my map provided to return to the starting point or use my on-line itinerary link, with which you can navigate directly, thanks to Mappy.cz

My book which contains 39 similar trails in and around Prague, is currently available here : https://dogwalksprague.blog/prochazky/

My on-line itinerary: https://mapy.cz/s/retozanaho

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