Trip to Valkininkai (in English)
2006 spalio 13 d.
“When all the leaves are brown, and sky is grey..” and you have been working second week in a row.. Without a stop.. No matter how cold or bad weather is outside, there is nothing left to do than to grab few things, required for survival, jump into the first train and go somewhere far far away from city and all the civilization.. No matter that in Vilnius I do not have any touring equipment except not-so-warm sleeping bag :) Phone in my hand, and I am trying to invite someone else into this adventure. No results. Even most enthusiastic friends prefer urban-style weekend. No problems, for me it's ok to travel alone. Only when I have arranged everything, prepared food, maps and outfit, I call my brother Marius – I know he's crazy about such ventures :) Answer is YES without any doubt. And he'll take a tent! :)
After few hours we are standing in front of Vilnius railway station, wondering how to get to our starting point – Pamerkiai. We missed one train, because Marius had to come from Kaunas, and another one will go only after one hour. It's late.. We will be in Pamerkiai only about 20:00, and it will be already dark. In train we meet girl from Vilnius going to Varena. We speak about travelling, she is laughing at us – thermometer in train shows outside temperature - 0°. I am hoplessly looking at writings on my sleeping bag – comfort +24°, limit +7°. Pamerkiai. We have arrived. I have been travelling from this place before, it looks quite similar for me even in the dark side of the day. Marius speaks about how he likes night hiking, however I am not very amazed about travelling in woods and bushes without any idea where we are going. I haven't taken GPS unit. We even haven't compass :) We go by the railway, this is the only chance to keep a stable direction. After 40 minutes of walking, we decide to deploy a camp and rest until morning. Of course we are far away from river Merkys, so we can forget hot meals and teas because of the lack of water. We eat some cold meals, drink a bottle of beer and try to go to sleep. I am wondering how it would feel if I was alone in the middle of woods without tent :)
For my suprise, night was really warm – thermometer in train must have been wrong. We wake up only at 12:00 :) If it's cold, you are up-and-running already at 5:00 to make yourself warmer :) Three sweets for breakfast and we are ready to go. I can say, compass or GPS for hiking is a must. We went from forest, in whitch we slept last night, to plains. “This direction”, I say. After half an hour, when we see riding train, we realize that our azimuth is wrong. O.K, slightly left. From plains to old wild forests we are traveling forward our way. Finally, water! Merkys? No, that's just huge land-reclamation canal. It's too large that we could jump over it. After walk beside that canal, we see an ultimate bridge :) No, that's not a bridge, it's only fallen down tree, and it's pretty complicated to go through. And when Marius tries to trespass the canal through that tree, we see that the end of the canal is only after 20 meters away :)
I love Merkys landscape because of it's wildness. It's untouched nature. When you crawl through tightly grown bushes or walk in deep forest, you can forget that all the civilization with terror, anger, that freak urban social system even exist. It's only nature and you..
At last, we face Merkys. Fire is set, we cook dinner. We are really starving – three candies weren't very energetic :) Our dishes are pretty amazing – we haven't any pot, let's cook dinner in our largest eating bowl. Our menu is buckwheat with canned bacon. In nature, especially when cooked on fire, and you have been hiking all the morning with a heavy ruckstack on your shoulders, it's very deliciuos :)
Another task – we have to wade Merkys affluent – Verseka. Water is freezing cold even for me. Of course, we do not miss the opportunity to take a bath in Verseka :) Cold water wakes us up from after-dinner dizzyness :) However, according when we got up and how long it took to cook dinner, it's late and getting dark. Marius offers to try to get ourselves near one small lake in the middle of the woods. I only laugh at his offer – it would be really funny to wander somewhere in woods at night without any compass and with short battery supplies. We deploy our camp near Merkys. We recently dined, so there is no need to eat anything. I am just sitting on the bank of wonderful Merkys, and listening to flowing water.. Oh, there is something that I can't forget even running from civilization.. Another try, cellphone in my hands. Progress :) Dropped call. You are killing me and I even don't know why.. Fuck that. Fuck all the world. Trying to call someone else. The connection is pretty bad, suddenly phone battery runs low. I hate my high seratonin levels. I envy Tadas for his rational and feelings-free mind. Also I envy my friends for whom women exist for sex and only for sex. O.K., it's time to sleep, tommorow we have to finish our trip. Another beer and I sleep like a bear :)
This night was also warm :) Result is better: 9:30. It's interesting, despite the fact we are in nature, I was tired very much and sleeping deeply, I saw a dream. That dream was.. Fight. I was fighting. Hm.. I do not think that dreams are viable method of foretelling future, but I will keep this dream in mind. This evening I am having party – my “cementofke”, that's a fiest with my study colleagues. Hm..
We pack everything up and go through the forest to find that small lake. It's really hard to plan a accurate route through a forest without GPS and even compass. You have to guess :) This time we are lucky and our route was pretty good. After some walk in forest we see that little lake. There are some people fishing with boat. I believe there must be plenty of fish.. We see firesite and we decide to cook some dinner. I try to reach the bank of the lake and cast my fishing rod few times. It's pretty complicated because you have to wade through the water and some sharp plants who hurt your legs. After few minutes I am near the lake.. Trying to catch something.. Trying some different baits.. However, as far as I could go I didn't find any starving pike or perch. There was a little bog with some branches on it.. I try to pass that bog by putting my feet on these branches.. It was not good idea. One branch broke and I fell into freezing water.. As I measured the depth of that bog it was three meters.. That's how people die in swamps.. You see a little bog or even grass, you think “I'll pass this”, but when you put your foot on it and apply some pressure to the surface, you easily go down to the abyss full of cold water. However, I quickly hopped of that bog. Thrilling experience.
After some walk we made to Valkininkai. Althrough we entered the village already, we had to go three kilometers to the bus station. We look one really nice wall of some huge bulding with cultural layer of Valkininkai: a bunch of graffiti's :) I found a drawing for myself – three fish eating one another. Marius found artwork for himself – a skull :) And also another remarkable drawing was railway with incoming train. It looked really nice. Another remarkable object of Valkininkai was the church with huge marketplace in front of it.
It's sad but our trip is over.. However, I freed my mind from the daily routine.. Now I am coming home totally fresh.. Straightforward to the “cementofke” party :)
By the way, all photos are here.