Having walked on New Year’s Day

In Czech we have a saying conveying that what you do and how you behave on the New Year’s Day, it will last through the whole year. A bit scary if things don’t go well on that particular day, isn’t it? But we always laugh at something rather than become afraid and take it easy.

We started this year with a walk nearby. First we planned to go to Plzeň to participate in a march, that kind of a march when people come to a specified place, get registered, choose the length of the trail they want to conquer and when they arrive at the finish, they get a certificate attesting to their effort. When I was single, I participated in a few of those marches but then my husband didn’t like the many people walking the same path and we were rather looking for more solitary trails. I was quite surprised that this time he agreed to my suggestion to join the event, nevertheless we looked up all the details just to find out that it wasn’t quite practical for us to go there. Yet the die was cast and we needed to come up with another destination which my dear husband managed to find. Just a few kilometres from us there is a nature trail “Devil’s load” so on 1st January we hopped into a car and off we went.


We’ve had quite mild and muddy winter so I was glad that though the temperature was just above zero, the ground was hard. There was neither snow nor frost covering our yard and I was quite surprised to see the change at the place we arrived at.


Along the way we came to a small chapel dedicated to Virgin Mary. It is said that in 19th century Virgin Mary revealed herself on the rock above the chapel to an innkeeper from a near village who went that way home late at night. He let the chapel build then.


The forest is a nice area to walk through, with many rocks and specific atmosphere. Some of the rocks form a ridge and there is a legend related to it.


The legend tells a story of a hermit who settled down by a healing spring and was tempted by devils. He promised to give them his soul if they build a big stone chapel at the spring and will manage to finish it in one night, before cocks start to crow next morning. The devils agreed but just as they were transporting the stones, fire broke out in a near village. While the villagers were trying to put it out, the noise awoke all cocks in the village and they started to crow. The devils let the stones fall at the place they were just flying over. Accordingly, the created stone formation was named the “Devil’s load”.


As you could notice in my photos, there was neither snow nor frost in the forest but when we came out of it, the scenery changed.


It was as if you closed one door and opened another one.


And then the sun came out and presented an impressive scenery…


The photo below was taken as one of the last ones and my fingers were so numb at that time that I had to try a few times before I achieved to press the shutter release. In a while the sun went down and though I would have loved to stay longer, it was time to get into the car and go home.


What a beautiful walk that was and how pleased I’m that we realised this alternative plan. I won’t complain if there are more walks like this in the course of the year…



    1. Sarah, thank you. I’m so pleased that your favourites are also the second and last photos. Unlike me, my husband doesn’t like them much so it’s great to know I’m not the only person to appreciate them.

      The New Year’s Day is far back now and we are three weeks older. Or wiser?? Hope so… :))

  1. What a great idea for New Years Day – a challenging walk or hike – I am completely amazed at how the scenery changed when you came out of the forest and blown away with the frost on the trees and bushes. I so enjoyed the story of the Devil's load as I love a good story. You persevered, even though your fingers were freezing to take those frosty photos, so I am thinking you will persevere well this year . Lovely post Petra

    1. Lilly, thank you. When we were walking through the forest, I was enjoying it but regretted a bit that there was no snow, so it was a big surprise to see the change eventually.

      I like the folklore of stories such as the Devil’s load. They are surely made up to add flavour to a certain place but without questioning their truth we can just take them as what they are. Stories.

  2. Hi, Petra. This New Year's walk could become a family tradition. I enjoyed the story of the "devil's load." In the 5th photo, is that a hunter's stand? I love all your frost pictures, with the 6th photo and the last one being particular favorites. There's such a soft, delicate look in the 6th; and it includes a portion of the path. Just very pretty.

    1. Linda, thank you. The frost brought a tint of different atmosphere into the scenery and I was grateful for that. You’re right, that New Year’s walk could become a family tradition, I’d vote for that enthusiastically… 🙂

      In the 5th photo, it is a hunter’s stand. They are usually made just of wood and are either quite simple or considerably elaborated but I haven’t seen any like this, covered with a cloth. It’s a bit surprising that the cloth is blue, not green or brown… You know what was funny? My husband was also photographing the stand and when we were looking at each other’s photographs, we saw very different perspectives. I liked this angle – the stand being open to the space in front of it, while my husband was enchanted by the green branches above it so his angle was turned at 90°. 🙂

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