On the 63rd kilometer of our longest route there is a long downhill, leading deep into the Kamienica valley where there is a nicely landscaped tourist area Trusiówka with wooden gazebos, benches and a tourist information point. There will be an aid station there, and thereafter 1.5 km of a flat, very crumbly, but once paved road along the river. In fact it’s the least interesting part of the entire race …
You could say it’s the least interesting if not for one detail: the way leads precisely along the route of the former forest railway, one of the remarkable miracles of technology in the Gorce mountain.
A narrow-gauge railway in Gorce existed briefly at the turn of the 1950s and 60s. It was built in Kamienica valley, going from a wood yard just above Trusiówka Glade down to the sawmill Szczawa-Bukówka. It was only 8 km long, but downhill all the way, meaning it was a gravity train with wagons of wood moving “by themselves”, without a drive, just according to the laws of gravity. It’s nothing much, the track was 8 km long with an altitude difference of 152 m, and the carts easily reached speeds of over 30 km per hour. Not only that, there were also short uphill sections, where the wagons rode a little faster to overcome the momentum of the hills. Not too fast, however, because there were plenty of corners which, if taken too fast would cause the carts to fall off the tracks and into the river (at best). True “riding to the max, no hands”.
The braking system of that “roller coaster” was also interesting – a long rod spruce inserted by the operator at the beginning and the end of the unit between the wheels and the bogie frame. The other item which made this railway resemble a roller coaster in an amusement park was the timetable: the trains started from the upper station at solid 5-minute intervals, so you can imagine what happened in case of a breakdown, accident or failure.
You’re probably wondering how wagons return empty to the top? Yes, it was by muscle strength and irreplaceable horses – the faithful friend of men in the mountains.


Today it is difficult to recognize residues of the forestry structure in the field. The railway track was pulled down, in the clearings in the upper part of the valley there are hardly any more timber yards, Trusiówka is nothing like the greatest landfill it used to be, the National Park is all around and timber harvesting is at a minimum. A careful eye may notice some remnants of the abutments of eight (!) wooden bridges over the Kamienica river which were built specifically for the gravity wagons; in Szczawa the remains of the sawmill are slowly disintegrating. Left to itself, nature quickly blurs the traces of human presence …
It seems you will have something to think about when passing the nearly flat part of the route, you can even imagine doing the race with carriages…
The level of excitement we feel at the thought of such a ride, can only be compared to rafting with an artificially induced wave “flood” on the white and black Cheremosz in Czarnohora. But that’s another story

More information and images available: here