It all started back in 1991 when a vendor sold me a book Karpatské hry (Carpathian Games). I can still remember him saying: “Some people love this book, but I am personally not fond of it.” Carpathian Games stroke my teenage soul. Poetic descriptions of Romanian mountains along with “games” one can play on a hike made me wishing to walk all the Carpathian ranges step by step.
And I did: Alone. With my girlfriend and later with my wife. With friends. With troops of teenagers. Dozens times. Thousands of kilometers. Summer, winter, autumn and spring hikes. Forests, rocks, cliffs, mountain meadows. Carpathians are beautiful for their variety.
Thanks to a friend I got internship with the Teton Science School back in 2002. On my way to Wyoming I by coincidence spent 3 days hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. Meeting the hikers and learning about PCT impressed me so much I had been wishing to hike this trail once our children grow up.
Though the children were growing into their teens, this dream started fading. Something happened with the PCT. For years I could hardly find a person aware of the PCT in the Czech Republic but few years ago it came into fashion. I also learned that numbers of hikers on the trail skyrocketed to the point that people compete online for the permits. It was difficult to admit, but I felt that PCT is not for me anymore.
The idea of putting these two dreams together and hiking across the whole Carpathian arc came to me as a flash of light. I felt like Archimedes shouting “Eureka!” Way forward illuminated, blood pounding strongly through the body, muscles ready to go, head charting the trail in mindmaps from previous hikes, though the real start was years ahead.
I could not comprehend, why it took me quarter of a century to conceive this super simple plan, threading the beads of the beloved mountains on one string.