It had taken me more time than I planned to visit Turaida Castle, and when I arrived near Zvārtes Iezis on the Amata river, it was after 4pm. I walked to the lovely river, which here has a steep rock with a trail around it: Zvārtes Iezis, or Zvārtes Cliff. To my surprise, I found that the trail along the river actually continued from here, and I decided to follow it as far as I could. I took water from the car, and hiked through high grass and flowers, sometimes reaching my armpits. The going was not easy, but the sun was shining, and the views of the fields with purple flowers were beautiful enough to keep me going. At times, the trail descended to the river, and I had several good views of its rocky bed on my way southeast. I had to be careful though: at some points, there were deep holes in the trail, and in others, it was precariously close to the edge of the terrain, above the water. At one point, I heard the noise of a wild boar behind me; I stood still, but could not see it. It kept on groaning, and even though I could not see it, I knew it must be close. I also knew that, if it would charge, my only escape would probably to climb a tree, so I decided it would be best to try not to make it more nervous than it apparently already was - and got away with it.
Continuing my way along the river, the going was quite easy, and the trail easy to follow. Moreover, there were dots on tree trunks at regular intervals to confirm I was on the right track. I was getting hot, my shirt sticky, and I started looking for a good place to go for a swim. I had not seen anyone for over an hour when I suddenly spotted a fisherman in the middle of the river, and wondered if that meant I was getting close to a village. But I continued walking in the forest, and after another while, reached pinkish cliffs on the other side of the river. It was a strange sight, as I had been walking in plain forest for quite a while now. Here, I found a small beach, and feeling the water of the small tributary river of the Amata River flow over my skin was a great feeling. I dried up fast, and was back on track to complete the hike. At one point, the trail took me higher and higher, and I could only see the river below through the trees.
Instead of taking the Amata hike to the very end, I turned towards a track, which I assumed would lead to the main road towards Kārļi. I was running out of time, and still had to drive a little while to where I would be sleeping. My assumption proved right; after hiking the track through forests, past small ponds, and traditional houses, I arrived at the road I had been driving a few hours before. I had looked forward to walking this road, and was not disappointed. The soft light of the early evening, and the fact that I was walking now, made me stop often to just enjoy the views of rolling hills with lone trees, surrounded by fields full of flowers. I walked through a tunnel of trees, past wooden farms, while the rays of the sun were filtered through the clouds, appearing like giant spotlights from the sky. When I reached the entrance of Zvārtes Iezis again, I felt very satisfied with a great hike through one of the most beautiful places of Gaujas National Park.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Amata river (Latvia). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Amata river. Read more about this site.