WE SHARE YOUR JOY

After launching the Hannah Grant in 2016, we distributed outdoor products among 25 selected projects. Huge interest, lots of beautiful, breathtaking photos, your smiles and the enthusiasm for the “Hannah Grant” made us so excited we decided to continue this sponsorship model which has become really close to our hearts.

HANNAH GRANT 2018

TRAVELWITHME – GR5 

GR 5 was a fight, but a beautiful one! My knees are still little hurting as I’m writing these lines. It’s just a nice reminder of the Alps not letting us pass without a struggle.

GR 5 begins by Lake Geneva on the Swiss and French borders. And this first phase lets us clearly know that this route will try to make everyone regret using GR 5 to get over the Alps!

Although it was just 16 kilometres long, the elevation difference was quite significant, with ascent of 1.870 metres and descent of 1.225 metres. And it didn’t change all the way to Nice. However, it got better over the next few weeks. We got used to going to sleep before dusk and waking up after dawn. Our muscles adapted to everyday walking and backs to wearing heavy backpacks and we felt joy even during our climbs. But we felt the happiest at tops and often we were even so lucky we could see the beauty waiting for us the next day, or couple of days!

The more you approach your final destination, the more you look forward to finishing your journey. That’s why it’s important not to rush it, find some time to relax and first of all, enjoy the fact that if everything goes well, it’ll just take couple more days to finish crossing the Alps on our own. And it’s definitely going to be one of those experiences we will cherish and gain energy from for a long time!  And that’s why we entered Nice at dawn, after spending our last night in the open air in the dust of GR 5, the trail which successfully took us through the entire French Alps and where we spent beautiful 31 days.

DISCOVER NOW  – CANADA

Pacific Northwest is a region in the west of North America comprising American states Washington and Oregon and a Canadian province British Colombia. Our journey included two states, two tents, 14 days and 4 members.

Mount Baker – The World Snow Champion

From Vancouver (a quick note – go there!) we headed south and we soon arrived to the borders with the USA, which we ploughed through with the elegance of a 20-ton crane. From there, we set out to the middle of a ridge – under Mount Baker glacier, which is the snowiest place in the world. We got to Artist Point which offers probably the most beautiful view of surrounding glaciers Baker and Shuksan.

National Park and Go!

A mountain pass in the Cascades led us to North Cascades National park. The ridges there reach up to 2.800 metres and they were covered in snow, so you could probably enjoy spring hiking rather in the valleys. In one of them, there is a beautiful lake called Lake Diablo. Its water is crystal clear clear and when seen from above, perfectly emerald green.

Spring walks

North Cascades Highway 20 is the northernmost road going through the Cascades. It’s usually closed in winter but we were lucky as it has been made passable a day before we arrived and it took us right into the heart of the Cascades. Our plan was to reach the highest point, Washington Pass. A slightly beaten path led us from there to a vantage point with such a view that could embarrass even a 360° camera; Azure sky, radiant white snow, granite gray peaks of surrounding giants.

A beautiful day in Icicle Creek Valley

From the Cascades, we headed south and got to Wenatchee National Forest, to Icicle Creek which we had been following all the way from Leavenworth town. It is an open-air folk museum of German immigrants. Along the whole river valley there are countless possibilities to go on trails or via ferratas. It’s paradise! The next day we went to check out Seattle, the city of coffee. Although Seattle is maybe even more amazing then Vancouver, the radiant glaciers far away were luring us back. It was time to get to the highest point of the Cascades, Mount Rainier.

MÁRA MAŘÍK  – TE ARAORA TRAIL 

In autumn 2017, we were approached by positive and energetic Mára Mařík. His idea was to walk across New Zealand on a world famous Te Araora trail, accompanied by nothing else but his ukulele. One of the most beautiful but also dangerous long-distance trails – 3.000 km – meant a huge challenge and, of course, a dream to him!

Walking New Zealand from south to north

Te Araroa is a long-distance trail which connects the northern tip of New Zealand (Cape Reinga) with the southern one (Bluff). I’m going to walk the other way round as I’m starting quite late and I need to make it in time before New Zealand winter starts, which is in June. Nobody has recommended to spend the winter season in the Alps in the southern island.

Te Araora is rightfully called one of the most beautiful but also dangerous trails in the world. I’m facing a 3.000 km long trail with 100 km elevation difference in the beautiful New Zealand nature. I can discover all its treasures – travelling around a jungle surrounded by kauri trees creating the illusion of a prehistoric forest, long beach stretches of famous Ninety Mile Beach, a track around volcanos in Tongario National Park or steep going up and down the ridges of the New Zealand Alps. It’s simply a beautiful journey across “Middle-earth”.

 

HANNAH GRANT 2017

EAGLES ON A TRIP – A TREK IN EAGLES  ON THE WAY – SLOVENIA

A three-member team consists of Markéta, Michal and Vítek (in a camper van) who had decided to change their lives and leave a daily stereotype behind. They started to do what they enjoy – to travel, camp, discover new places and get to know new people, simply to live. Together, they travelled over almost the whole Europe in a year.

A co jsme po cestě zažili a co se nám přihodilo:

  • projeli jsme Slovensko, Maďarsko, Srbsko, Rumunsko, Bulharsko, Řecko, Albánii, Montenegro, Chorvatsko, Slovinsko, Rakousko, Itálii a Švýcarsko
  • v zahraničí jsme najeli dle našich propočtů 18 412 km – nejvíce kiláků jsme najeli v Řecku
  • nakrmili jsme několik hladových toulavých psů
  • dodržujeme předpokládaný rozpočet na jídlo (150 Kč / den / 2 os.)
  • pitnou vodu si čepujeme tam, kde je to možné a neplatíme za ní
  • málem jsem šlápla na hada – 2x !
  • zdolali jsme několik vrcholů
  • koupali jsme se v termálním pramenu, kde se při zkouškách zrelaxovával Herkules
  • byli jsme v nejkrásnějším podzemním místě na zemi
  • prolezli jsme zasněženou soutěskou a až potom zjistili, že tam byl zákaz vstupu
  • koupali jsme se v osmi stupňové tyrkysové Soče, ale jen chvíli
  • ve Švýcarsku jsme skoro zdolali ledovec (překazilo nám to počasí)
  • matlali jsme na sebe bahno v termálních loužích v Bulharsku
  • koupali se na nejhezčích plážích Evropy
  • zdolali jsme visutý most ve Švýcarsku
  • zvládli jsme spaní na divoko i v Chorvatsku
  • pozorovali jsme dechberoucí západy slunce na Lefkádě

DISCOVER NOW – LAPLAND

At the end of the summer, where we were buying the flight tickets, everything seemed perfect and nothing had suggested we could have got cold feet about leaving for Lapland, a subarctic area in Finlad, in the winter. However, it happened and we suddenly had a feeling we needed sunshine, beaches and palm trees, so we decided to exchange the flight tickets and go to Bali. Luckily, the airlines didn’t look in favour upon this idea of ours. However, today we already know the trip to Lapland was the best decision ever!

And now it’s time to put on snowshoes and visit Lapland with us. It offers especialy the virgin nature, northern lights, thousands of lakes and millions of saunas. But there are also people living in those endless forests, plains and hills – and most of them in Rovaniemi city. It’s a gateway to the polar periphery and gathers everything Lapland has to offer at one place. For example the Santa Claus Hotel with a roof-top sauna offering a view of northern lights.

We visited three national parks – Risintunturi, Pallas-Yllästunturi a Pyhä-Luosto. They are all different but have one thing in common – they are full of adventure. You can take your time and stay there as long as you want yet you won’t find yourself bored. There are thousands of spruces between birch groves and you can clim fromb this subarctic forest up to the tunturit and enjoy views of neverending fairytale wasteland. And the nature isn’t the only thing which reminds you of a fairytale.

You’ll spend nights away from civilization in picturesque snowy cottages where you can perfectly disconnect. In these log cabins, you light with candles and fall asleep staring into a flaming fire. We usually chose our tracks at the place and each of them eventually seemed as the best trail ever to the north of Liberec.  The weather was quite mild, there were sunny days and blizzards, but what was the most important – the whole time of our trip we could see the full moon was coming and thanks to its shine, days had an estimated 24 hours. Normally, we wouldn’t have been very excited, standing in the middle of a white plain, lost, in -15 °C. But there we relished any minute of it, delighted by the star sky and northern lights above us. In fact, we were happy we had got lost and didn’t want it to end. But everything has its time and eventually we found the log cabin where we were supposed to stay overnight. Now it’s necessary to say how it is possible that the group of such experienced polar explorers got lost. Yes, you are right, it wasn’t our fault. Somebody had turned the signpost the other way around.

 

ONDŘEJ ŠPERKA – OUT OF THE COMFORT ZONE

We’ve enjoyed enough east, this year let’s head off for the north. Our beloved north. Our dream Spitzbergen. And what is a journey without sleeping in ditches and forests behind petrol stations.

So we hitchhiked do Oslo. With climbing irons, ice axes and signs with a picture of a polar bear – who would’t not give these two adventurers a lift?

Our backpacks were reaching almost 30 kilograms in weight, with the guns, dry dog food, food for us for two weeks, equipment…  Every gram was important and as weight was the main factor to consider when choosing a proper tent, we had decided for Hawk 2. This Hannah’s flagship weighs only 2 kilos!

The north welcomed us with very strong wind right on the first day which gave the tent an opportunity to prove itsef. As it is elongated, we had to pitch it up in the direction opposite to wind. This 3-pole tent passed the first test perfectly and we knew it was one of few certanities we had on our way to Pyramiden.

Marching fourteen hours a day wasn’t an exception and at those moments we truly appreciated how easy and quick it was to pitch it up. You simply attach the inner tent with hooks to the three poles, which stretches it out. I always found this part, when a crumpled thing immediately turned into a precisely tightened inner tent, really amusing. Then just cover it with a flysheet which you clip into the corners and tighten with the pegs. It all takes just two minutes and even one person is perfectly able to do it on their own.

At the beginning, we kind of struggeled with the space there as the tent only has one large living area. It was necessary to figure out a way of placing our fully loaded backpacks and boots as well as keeping a free passage to get in/out comfortably. But in the end it wasn’t a problem at all and everything fit in there pretty well, including the two of us, and I should add we are both tall guys. Unfortunetly, there was no space left for Rudek, but we needed him to drive bears off, anyway.

During the first three month of its life, the tent also made it to Scotland with us. There it endured the biggest test – a huge storm took us by surprise nearby the sea and we could have just prayed not to fall off the cliff. But everything was okay.

HANNAH GRANT 2016

ŠUMAVA CROSSING WITH ROZÁRKA 

It’s been a few years since we got the idea to cross Šumava. If you don’t get lost, the trail is about 160 kilometres. It starts near Nýrsko, namely in Hojsova Stráž, and it finishes in Lipno nad Vltavou. But every year something came up at the last moment, frustrating the whole trip – Julča’s illness, getting Róza – a puppy which wouldn’t have managed it given she was 4 months old at that time, floods, and so on and on and on… But this year we’ve finally made it!

At the Pilsen train station, we got on an express train heading to Železná Ruda and we got off in Hamry – Hojsova Stráž. Not surprisingly, we got off the trail before reaching the first kilometre and our travel was at least one hour longer on the first day. On Saturday and Sunday, the weather was boiling hot and we travelled on neverending asphalt roads, but our reward were beautiful sceneries of the Šumava nature – Bílá Strž waterfall, Černé (Black Lake) and Čertovo (Devil’s Lake) lakes and Poledník. We stayed overnight in an emergency campsite nearby Modrava village and on Monday morning we were woken up by lightnings and thunders. It rained pretty heavily but our Hannah tent passed the test. Unfortunately, the wether didn’ get any better during Monday so we saw Černá Hora (Bohemian Forest), Vltava spring and Bučina through fog, hiding in our ponchos.

After a calm sleep in another emergency campsite, Strážné, we were in the middle of the journey. We followed the red touristic sign which led us to Nové Údolí, which we called the Earth’s paradise. Another destination was Třístoličník mountain top which we missed by four kilometres. After checking out the satnav we realized our mistake and returned. Luckily, we found the correct turning and started one of the most amazing climbs – a narrow path, rocks, beautiful views and most importantly, no asphalt! However, reaching the top crowded with “tourists“ brought us quickly back to the reality, so we quickly escaped and headed off for Plechý, where there is no road up the hill. We climbed up in an hour, took a selfie with a Hannah flag and went down, following yellow touristic signs. But it finished after a couple of metres and was replaced by a “at one’s own risk” path leading to Plešné lake and an emergency campsite below it. After diner, we agreed on Monday’s and Tuesday’s walks being the most beautiful parts of the whole trip so far and we didn‘t change our minds about that even after finishing it.

We conquered Smrčina and Hraničník in the last two days and than we arrived to the Czech sea – Lipno. We arrived there on Thursday 1st September at 3:50 p. m. and confirmed walking 160 kilometres.  

 

LUKÁŠ KNYBEL – MATTERHORN

One of the most and popular mountains in Europe, the Matterhorn, became Lukáš’s target. A father of two, husband, working full-time, he found valuable time to train hard for the demanding climb. He made his dream come true and celebrated his 30th birthday accompanied by a mountain guide on the top of the Matterhorn.

A campsite Täsch became our home and we set out from there through Zermatt to an acclimation hike to Breithorn. We went up to Klein Matterhorn by a cabin lift to make the journey easier a little, and from there directly to Breithorn. We continued along its ridge and I rejoiced at the view of its beauty. Then we made a short glacier hike which, surprisingly, terrified me more than being up there.

On Tuesday, we intended to get below the Matterhorn and find a place to spend the night. We rejected the Hörnli hut because it just didn’t feel right without stars above our heads. We took a cabin lift up to Schwarzsee and visited a small sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin Mary there. As the altitude was going up, the number of tourists was going down and we got to a signpost below the Hörnli hut. Than we started descending into an area where we could spend the night legally. We needed to fall asleep quite early.

Briskly through a labyrinth

The Day. The alarm clock rang, we cooked, packed the things and hid our sleeping stuff under rocks. Before 5 a. m. we put on our sit harnesses at the Hörnli hut. We could see the others’ lights above us. The rough beginning took me by surprise, but then the situation calmed down for about an hour in a stone labyrinth of the Matternhorn. It’s wasn’t easy to find the right way. We cought up the first couples before Solvya and since then we weren’t alone all the way to the top. There was more and more snow so we put on our climbing irons. I totally enjoyed the snow field. And another dream come true just before the top. A steep slope, climbing irons on our feet, an ice axe in my hand and random refreshing showers of falling ice – excellent. Then there was probably the most difficult part, luckily with many hemp ropes around. It was a combination of the pace, exposed places and work of my hands (which could have done better). The last few hundreds to the top passed really quickly. I was really enjoying myself, the view was incredible and it was warm, almost hot… And when a statue of St. Bernard emerged in front of Vojta, I couldn’t believe we had made it to the top. I was speechless and cried a tear of joy behind Vojta’s back. 

Thousands metres back to reality

It was 10:30 p. m. and I was standing at the top of the Matterhorn, moved. It was starting to be windy but it didn’t matter at all. It had worked out! The descent was quick at the beginning but at one moment everyone stopped because of strange noise. Some rocks fell down just few metres to the left which proved what they write about risks on the Matterhorn. No wonder though, the sun had already warmed up the mountain and there was quite a stream at the place where the rocks had just fallen down. We could see we were getting closer to the Hörnli hut and we fancied a beer. We touched beer cans just before 4 p. m. but soon after we started descending again and three hours later we were 3,500 metres lower, in Zermatt. There was a huge party going on, people holding beer cans, wearing the Matterhorn T-shirts and the two of us looked like a kind of apparition. This comeback to reality was harsh and we tried to get out of the crowd. We were feeling amazing when coming back to the campiste at dawn.

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ROMANIAN FAIRIES – HITCHHIKING TO ROMANIA

Two girls nicknamed “Romanien fairies” came up with a crazy idea – to hitchhike to Romania and walk Făgăraș Mountains and on the way back also the Slovenian Tatras, with full equipment. And the girls who had barely known each other before their trip have become a great dream team and have had plenty of interesting experiences.

Let’s say me and Terka had met about six times before we set off. We barely knew each other but I had a feeling everything was going to be alright. We started from a petrol station near Plzeň where we discovered the beuty and simplicity of hitchhiking. The first driver took us to Rudná and in a short moment we were speeding to Brno. We stayed in Moravia for a couple of days and then we moved to Tatras, which we had already been incredibely looking forward to. We were really lucky as another driver took us from Slovakian borders all the way to a campsite in the Tatra Mountains where we had planned to go. There we made day trips and enjoyed raspberries, chamois, sunsets, helicopters, winked at hot rescuers and pilots and we even stayed overnight at the Zbojnická hut once because we hadn’t had enough time to get down to our campsite before sunset. But it was totally worth the morning in the mountains!

It was time to move to wilder Făgăraș Mountains, the highest mountain range in Romania. We bought some food supplies, adding 5 extra kilos to those 20 we had already had on our backs, and we were facing a week outdoors, crossing the range ridge, sleeping in tents and cooking with a propane stove.

We spent, wearing all the equipment, nine days in total in the mountains, walked abou 100 kilometres, climbed up tens of hills, met wild horses, donkeys, sheep with sheperds, wild dogs and a bear. You name it. We wanted to go to the Black Sea, to relax and do nothing for a while. We went to a village called Vama Veche which is said to be a kind of hippie place. On our way back we were incredibly lucky when hitchhiking – we stopped a guy who was going to Norway. Although we wanted to get to a city about 100 kilometres far, we quickly checked out his satnav and hinted we could use a ride 1.100 kilometres further. And he took us all the way to Prague! Our Mums were pretty surprised when we appeared at home three days earlier. Long story short, we’ve experienced a super adventurous month, got million experiences and all of this was just incredible.