Beskydy – Šance Dam

The Beskydy Mountains are also known as the Beskid Mountain or Beskids for short.  This is a massive mountain range (outer part of the Carpathians) that covers 600 km in length and crosses from Poland to the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and the Ukraine. The area we wanted to explore is about a 6 hour drive from Prague and we took this as a three day trip. There are a number of peaks in this region but there’s none more famous than it’s highest peak, Lysá Hora. Although we were there to bike, we would easily go back to hike throughout this gorgeous area.

We started this ride on a small unofficial parking spot in the saddle under the mountain Malý Smrček (Little Spruce). After a long ride downhill we followed the road along the dam Šance (Chance) built in 1960’s, which is used as a source of drinking water and therefore is not available for any kind of recreational activities. The ride along the lake will take you on a nicely maintained road to the village Staré Hamry which was built for the people from the village destroyed by the dam. On the way you should stop at point 2, on the bridge in Masaryk’s valley. If you are lucky, you may see a big fish passing leisurely under.

Another point not to miss is the memorial to Maryčka Magdonova, the hero of the famous poem of Petr Bezruč about the girl trying to take care of her younger siblings after parents death. As in many Czech stories she did not succeed and ended her life.

From point 5 you will have to ride on pretty busy road up to the point where you will turn left to follow cycling road 6178. You may take a break at the point 6 to have some beer or Kofola – this is basically the only place to have some refreshment. This bike path will lead you up and down through the “bishop’s forests” via well maintained road. This is where I learned that the Czech Catholic Church was awarded over 140,000 hectars of forest lands in restitution after communism in 2012. You may also notice the memorial to the resistance group Wolfram which was sent here during the World War II from England.

Even though this ride had used a lot of our battery charge, we decided to climb to Malý Smrček and use up the rest of the charge. However, the last 300 m were not rideable so we had to finish the climb by walking. We expected a nice panoramic view, but the only thing we found there was another geocache. 42.5 km 910 m elevation gain

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