Mariusz Bryja and Tomek Dębiec, the riders who showed us the most spectacular Polish enduro locations in their Enduro Me film three years ago, head out to some crazy spots in Europe to shoot the second installment of their singletrack saga, the Pathfinder.
The film will show locations such as Romania, Ukraine and Bosnia Herzegovina, but it takes off in filmmaker’s homeland, Poland, in Bieszczady mountains. This is one of the least inhabited regions of the country and one of the most exotic for sure. The forests take up 90% of the area, they are a habitat for bears, bobcats and wolves – predators so rare in Europe today. Apart from the unique wildlife, Bieszczady are also a place to go when you are into hypnotizing, natural singletracks.
What is so special about them? Their surface is made of clay that is as slick as porcelain. In dry conditions the bike rolls over it with no resistance, so you’d better not lose your focus or you will be eating some greenery after launching out of one of the turns. If it is raining, you ask? This is a completely different story – the clay gets sticky and heavy, it covers your tires to the point they do not fit into your frame nor fork, the bike easily gains 10 pounds or more – total mess! We were lucky enough to avoid the rain and the result was some of the very best riding we ever had.
The most elevated part of the mountain range is protected by the Bieszczady National Park, you obviously cannot ride there, but the majority of the ride-worthy terrain is luckily right on its outskirts. The lines we surely can recommend are the red Main Beskidy Trail, as well as the trail going right on the Slovakian-Polish border – if we merged this one with the neighboring Beskid Niski trails we end up with over 100 kilometers of singletrack. Crazy good!
What else there is to find in Bieszczady is that “end of the world” feel you experience there, a thing that lured many Polish artists into moving there for good. It is sometimes mentioned that Cisna, one of the main cities of the area, has the biggest number of artist per 100 inhabitants. A sight of an art gallery in a small town is nothing weird here, and a cult Cisna bar called “Siekierezada” is filled with paintings, sculptures and pictures made or taken by local artists. It is also a place to witness charcoal production done the traditional way – in big steel containers producing lots of white smoke. Sights like this and many other Bieszczadian flavors coming soon in the final cut of Pathfinder.
Now check out the Making Of of “Pathfinder”
Words & Pictures: Mariusz Bryja