On Friday I’ve decided to do the impossible: take my friend Kati with me for an adventure. One thing to know about Kati is she likes her flat better than nature, even though she has limited knowledge about the latter. That’s precisely why I’ve decided to pick the most popular hiking destination, the „Rám szakadék” or Rám canyon. It has thrills on every turn and its obstacles are manageable for newbie trekkers, but it is just enough challenging enough to drag out a flat-dwelling hermit from her enclosure. If all goes well…
I met Kati at my usual summer residence, at the Danu Camping in Dömös (following a lengthy persuasion ceremony), ready for action.
But first, a quick rundown!
Rám Canyon inventory:
- hiking boots (a pair each)
- jumper and durable hiking pants
- fingerless gloves (for the cold railings)
- food stash:
- nuts and raisins (1 pack)
- banana (a lot)
- 1 l of water per person
- fried vegetables and meatballs from last night’s bbq
- My friend, Kati whom I managed to drag out of home office: novice adventurer
- Raspberry, my 4-year-old dachshund: veteran trekker
- And me, Lily: wine, gastro, sports, and most of all, hiking enthusiast
A trip to Rám canyon from the Dömös Danu Camping and back
Stepping out of the camping we headed towards Szent István király church then got on the red trail sign that lead us through Szent István Street. Concrete. The perfect introduction for the uninitiated hiker. The cityscape slowly turned green and 15 minutes later we were walking inside the Duna-Ipoly national park. Crossing the lake by the Dömös Mill, Raspberry performed a water ballet, much to our amusement. That’s when we started on the Rám canyon trail. We passed the water mill and continued for 50 minutes on the trail. A few dissatisfied grunts came from Kati’s direction as we traversed puddles and thistles but she hadn’t said a word, and I just smiled, thinking about the rest of the journey.
We walked by the Szentfa-chapel and a few minutes later arrived at a charming little wooden gazebo by a well. Filling our water bottles I noticed the exhausted expression on Kati’s face and deemed it time to improvise a picnic.
On a bench, we took out our multiple-course feast. Vegetarian meatloaf, fresh fruits, veggies, nuts, and berries filled the belly of my companion and her face took on a much healthier color. It was time to move on. We kept on the red and yellow trail towards the mysterious Rám canyon.
That’s when I came up with the idea of walking as silently as possible, maybe we could spot an animal or two. Although hesitantly, Kati agreed and we started tiptoeing around fallen branches. The sounds of bird calls from all sides engulfed us. I started a birdsong-shazam app on my phone to recognize the singers. Greenfinch, tibia, and hawfinches were serenading. I’m always stunned by the beauty of birds and could listen to them for hours. But we didn’t have time: the canyon doesn’t wait. And Kati had also started to lose patience.
An enchanted valley
It started to turn chilly, it was time for the sweaters. We soon reached a fork in the road. The yellow trail turned leftwards so we turned on the red-green combination and soon crossed the creek by the mill to the delight of Raspberry. In a few minutes, we found ourselves by the Rám-szakadék. The valley turned into an enchanted little canyon. Massive rock walls stared at us as we moved past the creek. The whole place became more humid. And Kati more careful.
Swaying in the sea of mud she balanced after me with outstretched arms while Raspberry kept circling us. She looked like someone trapped in a chocolate fountain, her little paws thumping on the rocks like small mud dumplings. Iron railings helped us cross slippery sections. As Kati desperately clutched a railing, she said this was the last time she didn’t check where I’m taking her.
And the real deal was still ahead: my favorite part, the ladder by the waterfalls. Raspberry ended up on my back in her little satchel and we slowly started ascending next to the rumbling stream. Carefully moving along the slippery rocks while hanging onto the railings is a real adrenaline rush, and even though Kati didn’t look like she was having a blast at the moment, I knew she’ll see it differently when she’s thinking back later.
We eventually arrived at the highest point of the canyon, a three-way intersection. We followed the path on the right and soon arrived at the next green trail sign. By this time Raspberry got the courage to venture out and reclaim the lost miles, barking at trees and escaping squirrels as she scurried along. A little stairway led us out of the valley and we soon found ourselves at the Makó meadows.
An unexpected encounter
The Júlia spring watered our little four-legged mud monster, but we stuck to our bottles, as the well is not for the human stomach. While I explained it to Kati she silently shook my arm. Next to the giant beech trees, a majestic stag was watching us. He was looking straight at my friend. For a few moments they stood motionless, then the stunning creature leapt through the trees. It was the first time I saw Kati enthusiastic on our trip. Or for a few months really.
We crossed a forestry road and at a signboard got on the red trail. In a few minutes, there was a massive glade with a view that took our breath away. After the thrills of the canyons, our grove-flanked walk back to civilization was a welcome experience. Passing the Prépost-hill we spotted the ruins of the Dömös provost. Full of mud, but with a smile on her face, my companion listened to the story of the thousand-year-old chapel with it’s underground parts still intact.
Soon, we were leaving our muddy footprints on the streets of Dömös. The red road led us to the town cemetery. We continued on to road 11, which took us right into the Camp. While getting rid of the heavy hiking boots, I asked Kati how she liked the trip.
“It was okay.” Which in her book means this was not the last time she went hiking with me. The only question was: where to next time?