Barefoot tourе in Carpathians

The emotional report of the mountain ride on the sheep’s trail, piercing the juniper from the vertical side of the Rebra mountain
INTRODUCTION AND LYRICS                               читати українською

There are several  failures and numerous small white spots in my memory, so I’m not sure I will be able to reproduce the exact sequence of my summer adventures, but I will do my best.


I’ve put Tania on a train and the very next day Roman and I started to Orane not far from  Chornobyl. There we had a plan to rent some motors from locals and take clients to the exclusion zone. But we failed – no one wanted to give us their transport, ‘cause most of them are driving without driver’s licence and the motors were taken away from the most hard-headed guys.


So because of the fear, stereotypes and our backwardness we decided not to make any efforts. Roman took a road to his hometown and helped his mom with promoting of her business ( She produces lingerie). Thus, he had a good practice of being a salesman – he visited Lutsk, Lviv, Kyiv, Drohobych and Rivne offering their products to lingerie retailers. I was really jealous and feel awkward. He also spent a good summer.

Later he spent a week in Kherson with his girlfriend and her family, who thought him to be a potential fiance. They met each other in VK  (she was the first who sent a msg). She loves him, and this is mutual. He is thankful and thirsty to know her better. Anyway, appearances matter.

Then i was getting back home (hitchhiking) – that was a bit extreme: at first i was waiting for 45 minutes for a bus to Zhytomyr. After i don’t remember all that drivers who hosted me inside  their cars. There was only one guy who was very uptide and claimed for money, that i didn’t have. I was honest and told ‘I have no money’, I slammed the door and went into the rain.

I didn’t like Zhytomyr and Khmelnytsk at all. Cities were like back to USSR, emotionless. That’s why i don’t want to visit them and get to know them closer. Somewhere near the Ternopil region I was thrown away from the zhyguli by the company of country folks. As I could judge from their talks, they were solving a very ’serious’ problem. That was slowly getting dark, and it seems like that was a Silent Hill straight the road. The hedgehog was slowly getting home  – only 25 kms to Buchach were left, but next morning I was going to lead the team to the mountains again. That’s why I strictly decided to walk all the night long to Buchach and catch the bus to Franyk  in the morning. And after start my way to 4-day tour – exhausted, dead-beat and with no sleep. I can only imagine how would my stomach feel like.


After I was walking for two hours, truck driver stopped and picked me up (thanks to my light-reflection jacket) He was from Ternopil and we had a good funny talk ( when i wasn’t sleeping). I’ve noticed that in Central and West Ukraine drivers are less hospitable. Somewhere on our way i saw foxes, hedgehogs and other stoppers-losers.

Anchor, culmination, interchange, the end.

I landed on the Franyk`s surface about midnight and it took me one more hour to get home. There I happily fall asleep with my belly full of tasty food. In the morning, when i arrived to the railway station, my illusions were broken and childish gone somewhere: there were only 2 boys: Roman and Dmytro from Zhmerynka (who turned out to be a bomb person).


 There was a freak mad poetess on a platform, whose ego was so big and poems were so ridiculous. After there was a boneshaker, in which we were die laughing with girls, that were sitting next to us. We were trying to stop breathing, but it was interrupted with our hysterical laughter. So, here we satisfied our thirst at the mistress of a mountain hut, situated in mile from the village and started our barefoot tour. Guys just didn’t have another pair of shoes – so it was a necessary step. And as for me – i joined them after the first serious swamp. That was really painful, but cool, like a massage and treatment for my flatfoot. I’m terribly glad that we were travelling barefoot almost all the first day.


At night we approached the river Bystrets where the camp was broken. That was  a very cozy place on the shore under the apple tree. The ax struck, the legs ran for a wood, the toilet paper burst out, a flame licked the caldron and our 1.5 kg of mushrooms started to boil, waiting for a buckwheats` company. The dinner was tasty – under the noise of the river and the Carpathians` air, overwhelmed by impressions and hopes…


Morning was falling to our heads with the dark heavens. We continued our barefoot tour. After long adventures and sorrows, we came close to Rebra Mountain, where there were a normal path, as it turned out later. I clearly saw the path and suggested it to boys, but they decided to climb. It seemed to be easy, whatever, so we didn’t care. After 30 minutes of climbing I realized that my path is nothing else but a stream, which washed out  the clay and napped the stones of the so-called path. Ten minutes later I started praying, bend in the swamp, move, pulling out the grass from the marshy shores of the stream. And what was worse – I had my 75-liter backpack, whose weight dropped me down, so I had to climb on my four, and sometimes on my tummy. Almost without rest – it was terrifying to look around, stay straight and no possibility to sit down  – i finally climb out to the mountain.


This was the first time in my life I was so close to death. how can I express that magic feeling when you get to the safer part of a top! I`m calling to boys – no signal. We used old-school method – just grumbled to each other until make sure that we all are alive and, moreover, on the top! To tell the truth, when you are climbing alone, fear simply lays you on your knees and presses to the ground. You start tying your minds up on knots and you become scared. I found my soul mates in the hole over the cliff. Happy to get there they were having a rest!



Our meeting was so warm and juicy! Everyone has something to share. You must admit, that you don’t go through such adventures every year. We saw nothing, surrounded with a fog and rains, according to the map we turned right , but, in fact, we were like a blind kittens.

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We`ve started to climb down and it was getting dark. We were losing our path almost all the time, and finally realized that we were moving towards animal trails. We were crossing by the river for several times, in order to detect where it would be more safe….

 The night fallen down. We were critically exhausted and turned out to be hostages to the river which became very deep and wild.

So what we had – stormy water in the bottom. It was almost impossible to climb up – heavy backpacks, decayed decks in the forest, which looked like tropical, where trees are just falling because of the age and no man has reached there. Dmytro walked in front of the road, paving the way. I was the second one. Behind me I was hearing thuds – that was Roman, who carried my huge heavy backpack and trying not to fall into the river. It looked like there was raining hard every day for years and branches of trees, as well as broken trees themselves, were too slippery. It was more dangerous and fascinating than a reality show and we could even become heroes of an adventures film.  It’s hard to explain our emotions because we realized that we were lost. My idea to move along the river and it will surely bring us to the village was brilliant.


To move further in the dark on a steep slope, with no strength was not a good idea, so we decided to make the camp . We needed it badly in order to keep our lives more-or-less safe. Crawling like worms we got higher, where we found very nice lawn – actually a swamp, covered with juicy, mild moss, totally soaked with rains. We placed raincoats on the bottom, because even watersafe tent bottom wouldn’t help us in this tropical wet wildforest. Then we ate cookies, took off wet clothes and put on warm belongings.At last – sleep. Raining all the night and in the morning we changed our clothes to the wet again. Before we started to pack our tent there was true drama. We were eating our last food – a few cans of sardines and sausages. When there were only 2 sausages left – we decided to play ‘rock-paper-scissors’ in order to give provision to winners. I became a loser this time, so i was greedily watching and trying to hide my envy to those two scums who were enjoying their meal. After all, my pants were also wet. We’ve got a small council in which decided to get to the point, where we saw some defining marks at the fork and there turn to another road. Two hours or so we were carrying heavy backpack and trying to climb across huge fallen dead trees. We saw nothing and that was so uncomfortable that we almost lost our energy and will to get to the point mark. Ave! Here it is, so civilization is somewhere close. But before our happiness I’ve wrecked my legs to the blood piercing through the juniper. This battle wounds just made me stronger and more enthusiastic. About 200 meters we were climbing through prickly juniper and drinking rain drops from branches. We were thirsty and ran out of water long time ago, but rainwater from leaves is extremely tasty and clean. This simple thing made us happy and satisfied our thirst.

We continued our journey and walked in random direction. We couldn’t find Nesamovyte lake and were totally confused, because map told us one thing and we saw another picture in front of us. After the fog has calm down we saw a huge lake below. Yesterday evening we couldn’t see it because of the rain and clouds. Now it was just impossible not to see it. Welcome and enjoy tourism during the rainy season! After this we met several touristic groups and became sure that we are on the right. We were hungry, thirsty, wet to the skin with heavy backpacks when we reached Dzembronia. We walked our way for six hours, instead of 1,5 day that equipped guys used to spend. On our way we dropped into the country house, where bought cheese and warm milk and changed our clothes into dry. You can just imagine how it tastes when it is raining. After it one nice lady phoned to the owner of a local shop, who opened it for us and there we bought bread and halva and went to sleep in someone`s hospitable house.


We got to the 2nd floor and surrounded by the sound of raindrops falling to grass, under the noise of the river and in the presence of the bats we made a camp, hung our wet things on the wall. Finally, delicious food and we settled down. In the morning we literally couldn’t move, knees and hips lived their own lives. We were feeling results of overnight critical descent. We scarcely raised our legs and struggled with them.  After we asked the dude to take us to the nearest railway station.And since we got to the back seats of bobik, we took off wet socks and were dragging our thinned fingers. Ahead the river blurred the coast and floated on the road somewhere about 40 meters. Wheels started to hide in the water and drivers wife started to pray. Bobik skewed, but we continued moving. The wheels drowned … the water started to gain into the cabin. Adrenaline in our veins and brains start to work faster! Adventures are what you actually need – just in line with the best expectations. Dmytro and I looked at each other with fire glances. The crew was eager to adventures, but bobik stopped. We got out of there and under the water started to push it! But it didn’t help at all. All the bus guests started to build a dumb like little ants in order bobik can go. At the end we slowly strolled to the village 7 kms. Our bones and fingers were so cold. At last we reached to the bus station, but we missed the bus, because Dmytro went somewhere for a while. We enjoyed delicious Ukrainian cookies in a transport. We settled comfy there and did not pay the driver somewhere 30-40 UAH. But he took that normally. And here we are in Franyk. On our way we noticed several brigades of Emergency Situation Ministry who went to the place where we were stuck with bobik. People were catching fish at the bank of a river, which was flooded. On the bus people phoned to their friends and spread the atmosphere of a state of emergency due to flood. At the very entrance to Franyk, one of the bridges was blocked.

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Dmytro bought the ticket to Kyiv and we dropped for a tasty and cheap pizza, btw I worked as a guide during the walk.  Warm family ‘goodbye’ at the railway station and here we are – Roman and me – going home to eat potatoes, cooked by my brother. After we had a little rest and went to Ivan (where Roman left his belongings). At the railway station we said goodbye to each other and went homes. We all need journeys like this in our lives.


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