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Wednesday, 1 June 2016

To the top of the Schneekoppe

Possibly most people who climb to the top of the Schneekoppe, or, to use its Polish name, the 'Snezka', use the chairlift, but the four of us took the hard way, climbing to the top on foot.  Parking the car at Karpacz and commencing at 11.30, we climbed up, up, up and further up.  We walked constantly up hill with no moments of walking on flat surfaces. 
It was nearly two hours later when we arrived at the first restaurant about two and a half kilometres up, where we had coffees and lunch.
For the first part, the track was reasonable quality, but then it became like in the above picture - bad for Jean's knee when coming down.
After lunch, we were ready to go, but were prevented from moving on because rain suddenly set in and stayed for ages.
It was after 3 when we pushed on.  It took another hour to climb the remaining stretch.
Several hundred metres from the first stop, we passed a second restaurant.  Outside that restaurant, the above photo shows how much further we had yet to go.
After more than three hours' climbing time, we reached the summit of the Schneekoppe, or Snezka, which is the highest mountain in the Riesengebirge (Giant mountains).  The summit marks the border between Poland and the Czech Republic and is 1602 metres above sea level.

Interestingly, very close by, is the source of the river Elbe, which could be several different trickles of water feeding a larger one, which, further down, clearly becomes the river that stretches all the way to the North Sea.  We've seen the Elbe near its mouth, also in Hamburg and Dresden as well as in the Czech Republic.  Tracing the Elbe back to its source was never intentional.

After about 20 minutes, we then spent the next two hours climbing down again, all of us very proud of our achievement - a tremendous feat but with now very tired feet.

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