BootsnAll Travel Network

Loket: The Green Trail

Let’s pretend for just a minute that you’re in charge of marking the hiking trails around the little town of Loket. Oh, c’mon, everyone likes pretending; Michael Jackson pretends he’s a white woman, Dubya pretends he knows where Canada is, Little Johnny Howard pretends he’s a major player on the world political stage (my apologies to those reading this who are not Australian, and who are currently sitting there scratching their heads. Little Johnny Howard is the Australian Prime Minister, here’s a link to a photo which may perhaps jog your memory, Little Johnny Howard, he’s the one without the eye patch.)

Most hiking trails we’ve been on during this trip, in fact, all the hiking trails we’ve been on, now that I think about it, are marked in a particular colour. As you walk along the trail, a tree or rock every so often will be marked with a blue or red or green or yellow spot or stripe, to show you that you’re still on the right trail. Follow the green markers; that’s the green trail. And maps will show the trails in their respective colours, so you should always know exactly where you are.

Now, back to pretending you’re in charge of marking the trails around Loket; you’d probably make sure that you didn’t mark two trails with the same colour, wouldn’t you? It makes sense, doesn’t it, because it could prevent people from thinking they are walking on, let’s say, a green marked trail that they believed would start in Loket and follow a big loop through the hills to end up back in Loket, when they are in fact walking on another green trail that also started in Loket, but did not loop around, rather, it kept going in essentially a straight line for as far as anyone could ever want to walk.

You’d think that’d be common sense, wouldn’t you?

Because it was with this belief in mind that Bec and I started out hike, on a green trail, that we believed would lead us on a loop starting and finishing in Loket. We didn’t have a map of the trail, well, at least not a map in the traditional sense of an impossible-to-fold piece of paper with heap of lines on it from which you can determine your exact location. What we had to guide us was a photo on our digital camera, a little photo of a map on a tourist information board that showed a green looping trail starting and finishing in Loket, plus a couple of yellow trails that also snaked around the hills. Over the next three and a half hours of hiking, we would refer to this photo on our tiny screen as though it were the bible; pulling it out every minutes to check our progress.

Upon leaving Loket we wlaked through a wooded forest, over a trail covered entirely with brown fallen leaves, and then past the meadow where we’d stopped with Gram and Will a few days earlier. Beyond this, we followed the green trail through tiny villages, with hardly a soul in sight, save for man and his dog walking the trail in the other direction. At the edge of one such village, after an hour or so of walking, a yellow trail left off to our right. I consulted the bible, “Well, the map says there’s meant to be a yellow trail about here, but it should be going to our left, not our right.”

“Yeah, that’s weird.”

“Yeah, but I guess as long as we’re on the green trail we can’t go wrong, right?”

“Yeah, I guess.”

After an hour or two more on the green trail, leading us into a pine forest with vast barren sections, bare from heavy logging, we stopped at a small pond and ate some lunch. From here, another yellow trail led straight ahead, and the green trail, our green trail, turned off to the right. I checked the photo map again, “Yep, we must be here at this bit of water,” I pointed, “and see, the yellow on the map goes straight, and the green goes off to the right. Perfect.” The niggling doubts we’d both felt back at the village were forgotten, and we headed off on the green trail through the pines.

Another hour passed, we’d been walking now for three and a half hours, and the path reached a busy road. I checked the bible, “Well, just near the end of the trail we should hit a road, according to this, then we go along the road to the right for a bit, and then we should pretty much hit Loket.” I looked back up to the road. The green trail did indeed lead along the road, but to the left, not the right. I looked back to the map, it showed the trail leading along the road to the right. My eyes slowly drifted back up to the road; green markers were dotted on trees beside the road, leading to the left. Shit. We were lost, and I think we both knew it. What we didn’t know at the time though, was that rather than follow a loop leading back to Loket, we had in fact walked 15km in pretty much a straight line, and were standing in the middle of bloody nowhere.

As we silently pondered our situation, the lone guy we’d passed hours earlier appeared on the path, walking towards us with his dog. Just to the side of the road was a parked car, his parked car. He got in and backed out onto the road, but then stopped, wound down the passenger side window, and yelled something to us in Czech (presumably). I stepped up to the window, “Uh, we need to get back to Loket?” I asked optimistaically. He replied with a string of unfamiliar words huddled around one word that I did recognise, Sokolov. It was a town not too far from Loket.

I looked over to Bec, “Uh, yeah, I guess we could go to Sokolov.”

“You’d better get in,” he said in English, and with not the slightest bit of hesitation Bec and I grabbed our bag and jumped into his car, me in the front, and Bec in the back with the dog. Sokolov was about 25 minutes away by car, although he got there in not too many more than 12. As he asked us questions about our travels, I was gripping the dash board with both hands, eyes stuck on the winding road in front of us, a road he was driving on as though he were in a rally car. The thought of being lost out in the Czech forest hadn’t fazed me too much; being on a road meant we could’ve hitched quite easily, but sitting in the passenger seat whilst this guy fanged around corners on the side of a hill; narrow little corners where two cars could just squeeze past one another, that was bloody scary.

He dropped us on the outskirts of Sokolov, on the road that lead 6km back to Loket, and wished us luck. From there, we thought of hitching, but ended up walking all the way back to Loket, darkness descending over us by the time we reached the hostel.

Bloody green trail.

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One Response to “Loket: The Green Trail”

  1. Mark Hogan Says:

    Kinda like when you got lost in the Grampians coming back from the Pinnacle?
    That’s the trouble with you engineering types, all brains and no common sense!
    What do you want for Christmas? I saw something the other day that I thought you might like.
    I hope Bec and you are well.
    Talk to you soon,

  2. Posted from Australia Australia

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