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Hiking the Štefánikova Magistrála, Stage Three: Pezinská Baba to Vapenna

By Jonno Tranter

From Pezinská Baba, it’s easy to miss the SNP trail as you head uphill, so keep your eyes peeled for a narrow path that picks up on the right from the wider route circling the mountain. From here you’ll be rising steeply into mountains, and cross several viewpoints. To make things tougher, the trail doesn’t just go steadily uphill, but rises and dips in similar measure, so make sure you aren’t completely unfit if you want to tackle this trip in a day. There’s a spring and a resting place at Čermák if you need a break, and a route connects here so you’ll see a few people camping and enjoying the sunshine. From Čermák, it’s also a short walk to Piesok, where there’s the delightful traditional Slovak eatery of Furmanská krčma, a big hotel called Zochava Chata and a small collection of cottages, in a similar peaceful top-of-the-mountains setting like Pezinská Baba. From Furmanská krčma, there is also a nice hike down (three hours) into the pretty wine-and-ceramics town of Modra.

About three to four hours into your walk, you’ll come to a resting place along the dusty path where it’s possible to connect to other trails, and one leads to a town called Sološnica. With so little food options along the route, this is a good place to take a detour for lunch. Sološnica is a quiet town that’s pretty but mostly residential and not really worth a long stop-over. You’ll need to walk about 45 minutes in the gruelling heat through residential areas until you reach the centre of town, near the church. Here you’ll find two pubs, both of which serve food, and a shop, which had closed by the time we got there in the early afternoon. Make sure to stock up on snacks (there’s a small selection at the bar) as you won’t find any villages along the trail for a while.

From Sološnica you’ll need to take a green trail from the centre of town to Pod Malou Vápennou, where you can join the red Štefánikova magistrála trail again, and head back into the hills. Your next port of call will be Vápenná, one of the highest peaks of the area (752m). This is quite a steep rise up the forested mountain, but the effort is well worth it when you got to the top. An incredible view of the area awaits, with the forested mountains stretching out into the distance. It’s a truly rewarding and humbling experience and there’s a lookout tower at the top to climb, and a book to sign.

Gorgeous views from above the forested peaks ©Jonno Tranter

Gorgeous views from above the forested peaks ©Jonno Tranter

After that, you’ll be following the top of the mountain for a while, and it can be a bit rough. Though the trail is well indicated throughout this whole stretch, the route does not seem very walked, and is sometimes impossible to pass by without getting stung by nettles, so this would be a good time to wear hiking trousers. It also gets uneven at times and you may find yourself scrambling around. Again, the fact that this route is so little traveled only enhances its appeal.

We arrived at our next stop covered in cuts and stings, but relieved, we had found some water! Springs and wells are well indicated on the maps of the area (as something along the lines of studňa), so make sure you look out for them, they will be a godsend as there are not many villages in the mountains to buy food and drink. We had no issue at any point drinking the mountain water, and only used purification tablets when collecting water from streams. This particular spring, just after Mesačná lúka, spouted very little water, however, so don’t expect to be able to bathe! There’s a shelter here too and it’s a good place to set up camp.

We pitched the tent out in a little clearing just passed the spring and that night, a very heavy thunderstorm broke out. We huddled inside the tent and got ready for the rain. It’s the only time it rained during our eleven days in the area, so we definitely count ourselves lucky but it’s a good idea to pack with potential rainfall in mind.

Jonno Tranter is a freelance graphic designer and illustrator who lives in Bristol, UK. In his spare time he likes to write, have adventures, and attend music festivals. This year, he decided to combine all three into an epic trip across Slovakia! Read more about him on his online portfolio (and on stages two to five of our series of features on the Štefánikova Magistrála trail – for Jonno, part of a gruelling adventure which saw him hiking from Bratislava all the way to Trenčin: discover it through the links below).

STAGE OVERVIEW MAP LINK:

WHAT NEXT?

Hiking the Štefánikova Magistrála – an introduction (featured in our Places to Go/Bratislava & Around and Places to Go/Western Slovakia sub-sections)

Hiking the Štefánikova Magistrála – Some Useful Tips (featured in our Places to Go/Bratislava & Around and Places to Go/Western Slovakia sub-sections)

Hiking the Štefánikova Magistrála, Stage One: Hrad Devín to Kamzík (featured in our Places to Go/Bratislava & Around sub-section)

Hiking the Štefánikova Magistrála, Stage Two: Kamzík to Pezinská Baba (featued in our Places to Go/Bratislava & Around and Places to Go/Western Slovakia sub-sections) (Previous Stage)

Hiking the Štefánikova Magistrála, Stage Four: Vápenná to Dobrá Voda (featured in our Places to Go/Western Slovakia sub-section) (Next Stage)

Hiking the Štefánikova Magistrála, Stage Five: Dobra Voda to Bradlo (featured in our Places to Go/Western Slovakia sub-section)

Plus: More on the Cesta Hrdinov SNP Trail from Bradlo on towards Dukla – coming soon!

The writer relaxes for a map check... ©Jonno Tranter

The writer relaxes for a map check… ©Jonno Tranter

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