On the peak of bliss on the lookout baba

The older she gets, the more attractive this Baba is. She was at her busiest in the Bronze Age. It formed a foothold, a kind of lookout tower and last refuge, for prehistoric settlements in the earlier Bronze Age, which were throbbing with life around 2000-1600 BC. And then in the Late Bronze Age around 1000 - 800 BC, historically just a short while before the arrival of the Slavs to the Bohemian basin and the Hluboka Basin. 

Four thousand years ago, the Vltava River was a busy and in fact the only thoroughfare in this region of still deep forests, and Lord Baba was also lord over part of the life-giving trail. 

Today, Baba is one of the quite extraordinary and increasingly popular "instaplaces" - places where you take exceptional "pictures" on "instac" and other social networks. For us from the last century in Czech: It's good to take pictures here! But be really careful not to step sideways or backwards! You are on a rock platform of a few square meters and then for a while there is nothing below you but a bike path and a river...       

But first things first. Baba can be reached on foot, by bike or scooter, or by boat or paddleboard. You can start from Purkarce upstream of the Hněvkovice dam, which is about seven kilometres up the Vltava, or from Hluboká nad Vltavou on the left bank. It is closer, but easier route, suitable for active seniors, families with children and dogs with short legs. For all three types of travelers: water, pedestrian and "surrounding", I recommend the Hamry parking lot as a starting point, which lies a few dozen meters below the Hamry dock and a stand with a great buffet, right next to the bike path number 7, and a few meters from the green hiking sign. It is less than five kilometres by water from the port of Hluboká to Baba, and it is difficult to get lost, similarly by bike. Hikers will walk a little over three kilometres from the Hamry car park and only a small terrain wave awaits them. 

So let's take the Vltava walking trail quite unmistakably downstream past the beautifully repaired white niche chapel of St. John of Nepomuk with a quote about water from the Gospel of John. The cycle and walking route heads down Hamry Street, where we are joined at the cross by a red trail leading from the chateau park above. Following the St James's Way, we will pass by the breeding ponds. A few cars can still fit in the car park under the trees on the right by the Kampanovka information board, where more signposted routes still run parallel, but I wouldn't rely too much on a place to park. There won't be any further options as we leave motorised civilisation but not the tarmac of the cycle path. At a place called Pod Janečkem there is a crossroads - a forest asphalt road turns left to the U Janečků secluded village and further to the Křivonoska campsite. We continue on the red road along the Vltava River. Gradually the meadows on the banks begin to narrow and close into a beautiful valley full of rocks and pine trees. If you walk along this path in autumn or winter, when the leaves are down, you will get an unusual view of the castle and the Zámostí quarter of Hluboká. If you have decent optics, few people have a photo of the castle from this angle... We wander along the Hluboká - Poněšice nature trail past the peak of Na Kopaninách and the fence of the Old Game Preserve. After a sharp bend in the Vltava River on the left near Černá louka, finally SHE appears in the distance, as if rising directly from the surface of the Vltava - BABA.

After the red light we reach the pier on the left bank, where the paddlers put away their kayak or paddleboard, because the kayak is not very good at going uphill.  If you don't have a boat or bike, it's nice to just sit here and look at the rocks and the river and think. But this is the first landmark: you can't miss the sharp red left turn here. In the springtime distraction, it's possible to miss it, but now you know that a few metres past the pier by information board 4, you leave the comfort of the cycle path and the proximity of the Vltava River and climb a steep left hill through the trees. Suddenly we're in echt nature, tall grass around the path and mud in the trail when it's wet. But the fence of the Old Game Preserve on our left leads us unerringly. Don't go beyond it, Standa the deer doesn't like it... 

After a few hundred metres of easy climbing you will begin to feel the terrain waves of the fortifications of the prehistoric hillfort. The three rounded tops of the ramparts and the shallow ditches between them are clearly visible. And at this point, at the top of the climb, you will notice that there is no sign or signpost leading directly to the rock lookout, only a path through the trees. At a prominent tree on the edge of a several-metre terrain break with the remains of an old fireplace underneath, after about 750 metres of climbing, we leave the red trail, which continues straight on to Karlova Hrádek and Purkarec, and follow the path between the trees to the right of the red trail down towards the river. I deliberately came to check it out for you - I took 75 steps down steeply to a gentle saddle, where the first rock will appear in its full glory in front of you, and you can start your ascent to Baba. 

Beware, when the weather is under the weather, it slides. And watch out for the kids, it's only a few metres of rock climbing after all. But the view from the stone platform of the twists and turns of the life-giving Vltava is really worth it. Maybe at summer dawn, but even before dusk, or when the fog is over the river, you'll be on top of selfie bliss. The Bronze Age people knew very well where to build a fortress, to make an aesthetic living and still get buyers...  

Opposite you, on the right bank, is the vast Poněšická Game Reserve with romantic rocks falling perpendicular to the river, and no noise from the road leading to Poněšice, famous for its famous distillery of fruit spirits.

Baba has been mystical since prehistoric times and sitting on its top is purifying. You know the way back to Hluboká, it's a walk just right for a Sunday afternoon. If you are a sportsman or a cyclist, you can continue along the Vltava along the red line towards the Hluboká ferrata A and B on the left bank, to the perfectly explored and revitalized ruins of Charles Castle, with which Emperor Charles IV had big plans, and then it's just a jump or a few shots on the water to Purkarka with its restaurant, sailing museum, harbour and the mysterious Church of St. George. St. Christopher with you, pilgrims...

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