2018-10-20 50 15
Today's location is in a forest near the village Wigancice Żytawskie, not far from the town Bogatynia, in a small corner of Poland that is surrounded on two sides by the Czech Republic and on 1.5 sides by Germany.
Country: Poland; Województwa (Voivodeship): dolnośląskie (Lower Silesia); powiat (County): zgorzelecki
Weather: forecast said 30% rain probability but it was more sunny than cloudy. Fresh though and in the evening quite cold.
It was a Saturday, I had a lot of free time and this hashpoint fell into the small Bogatynia corner of Poland that I've been watching for a while, so I decided to visit it. It was quite a distance by bike but I felt I could make it with only a bit of difficulty and I found a train connection that would fit me well as I believed I could cycle 22 km in 80 minutes to be at the hashpoint at 4 pm. At one pm I started and cycled to the Dresden-Neustadt train station, taking my bike in the train with me. During the train ride I read a bit. An unpleasant discovery was that the ticket inspector told me I could have bought a day ticket for 21 € from the small company that owned the train instead of the 35 € two-way ticket that I bought from German Railway. In Zittau I left the train and cycled straight to the border, reaching Sieniawka in Poland within minutes. From there I followed a recent-looking road for a few kilometers along the border (the Neiße river in this area), there was light car traffic. After a while I came to Trzciniec Dolny where the map told me to turn left off the road and follow a smaller trail. In that town there is the Turów power plant, one of the biggest coal power plants in Poland, the coal comes from the huge open pit mine (28 square km) that I had to circle to reach the hashpoint. The route led me past one of the entrances and I had to climb a steep incline to get there. This was the first time I realized this expedition might be much more difficult than I thought. A realization that fortified when the ground turned from a tarmaced road to a gravel track and continued to go uphill. It was difficult and my progress was slow but I finally reached road 352. I still had to go uphill a bit but then I was standing on top of a hill.
I was a great feeling to race downhill to Działoszyn but on the other side of that village I had to climb another hill... Again I shifted to a low gear and slowly crawled uphill, now a bit more tired than before and still sweaty. I still hoped to reach the hashpoint by 4 pm but that hope slowly died the longer the hill went on. At 4 pm I was at the hamlet Wyszków with only two more kilometers to go and I was on top of the hill. I might still make it only very few minutes late! I started racing downhill again but this road was in a bad condition with lots of cracks, a partially missing road surface and loose gravel. The speed I was going was really not safe but I made it down without an accident. Once I was down there was still a bit of distance to go and I was now significantly exhausted. Once I was at the part of the track nearest to the spot I chained my bike to a tree and started trampling through the underbrush. It was already 10 past 4. I'm not sure what coursed through my veins but I felt strange and without care for nettles and burrs I just went straight ahead towards the hashpoint. After crashing through the underbrush I was near the spot but I had to do an extended geohashing dance before reaching the correct spot at 16:20 because the coordinates jumped around. While I was glad to have reached the hashpoint in a virgin graticule I was disappointed to have missed hash o'clock, I was tired and dreaded the way back. I didn't stay long before making my way back to my bike, this time taking more care of my steps. There were still reed-like plants going up to my head and my clothes were full of plant matter. As the border between Poland and the Czech Republic was right next to the trail I rounded a borderstone for some additional internationality. While I cleaned myself two people walked past me, from their greeting they were Czech and so I mumbled the bit of Czech "hello" I remembered. Then the route back started.
I might have already mentioned in this report that I was tired. Now I had to climb up the shabby track again and that was bad. I had to push my bike for part of the way because it was so steep and at the top of the hill I had to take a break. From there it was downhill a bit, uphill a bit and downhill again to Działoszyn. The next incline was horrible, I alternated between slowly cycling in a very low gear, pushing the bike and stopping to catch my breath while the sun went down, hitting the horizon when I reached the top. There was one positive part and that was that there was a long downhill stretch next (120 m elevation within 3 km as I know now) and that it was on a road of good quality. There were lots of cars passing me but I didn't mind. I stayed on the road instead of taking the small track I had used in the other direction. While I had been upset that G. maps sent me on such a bad track instead of a nice road I now realized that crawling up that hill on a much-used road would have been much too dangerous. I passed the power plant again and started to rejoice, only 10 km left on level ground... It turned out that the road wasn't level, instead it was going uphill very slightly, just so much that I noticed it. It was getting darker and colder. I had an eye both on the time and on the distance left, as I wanted to reach the next train. My original train schedule plan had become impossible a long time ago. My cycling speed dropped further and further because my legs were soooo heavy, from 15 km/h to 14 km/h to 13 km/h and I couldn't do anything about it. I hated geohashing. At the roundabout just before Sieniawka I looked up the exact time for the next train and noticed I had still 20 minutes for 3.4 km, it should be no problem to cycle faster than 10 km/h and the short stop gave me some energy. But I was still exhausted. Then 18 minutes left for 3 km, still 10 km/h to beat. Finally I reached the border but on the German side the route was still going uphill, now a bit steeper. 16 minutes for 2.4 km, 9 km/h necessary, that means I'm ahead. 12 minutes left for 1.5 km, 7.5 km/h to beat, I'll make it. Why is this street feeling so long? I'm so out of energy, I need something to eat soon. With 800 m and 8 minutes left I came to a gas station. In order to not die from exhaustion I bought a coke and some chocolate bars, putting on of them directly into my mouth while continueing to cycle. With only 300 m and 3 minutes left I avoided a red traffic light by cycling on the pavement, each second counts. I saw the train enter the station while I was reaching the station. This gave me the energy to carry my bike down and up the stairs of the underground crossing to reach the platform. The train was already moving. NOOOOOOO! With shaking legs I was barely able to carry the bike back to the station building, collapsing on a seat. I ate the chocolate bars, then bought more from the vending machine. I would have made it in time if not for the stop at the gas station and I probably would have had time to use the vending machine. In the end it wasn't too bad, the next train came after 45 minutes and by that time I had stuffed myself with sweets. On the return ride another ticket inspector also told me that the day ticket would have been cheaper. In Dresden I still had to get back to my home but I had lots of time for that. From cycling so much my ass still hurt while cycling to work on Monday and slightly on Tuesday.
In total I cycled 51.9 km (45 between Zittau and the hashpoint, the rest in Dresden) and 400 m uphill, the whole expedition took 8 hours. The small part of Poland in 50 15 that I visited is not the only one in that graticule, further east there are another ~20 % of the graticule area that are in Poland but they would be even more difficult for me to visit.
|Danatar earned the Virgin Graticule Achievement|
| Danatar earned the Border geohash achievement