With packraft in the wild: one-day rafting on the Lower Noteć Valley and Warta Valley
What sections of the Notec and Warta rally to choose, so that it was without major complications, and the day in the kayak was simply pleasant? More useful information from Robert Bogusz.
Recommended rafting route
This time I propose a rafting trip through the Lower Noteć Valley and Warta Valley. It is an area located in the Gorzow Basin, which is part of the Torun-Eberswalde Proglacial Valley, directly before the mouth of the Notec River to the Warta River. The valley is crisscrossed by numerous channels with the remains of oxbow lakes and peat bog complexes. The natural value of the area is due to the accumulation of diverse biotopes, forming a complex mosaic in places. A well-developed floodplain has been preserved here in places; on the elevations of its bottom there are natural and semi-natural fertile meadows, while in the depressions there are patches of sedges and manna (a variety of wetland grass). There are a significant number of unchanged oxbow lakes here. Slightly farther from the river are developed quite wet peat meadows, but in places significantly dried and degraded as a result of land reclamation works. Quite often here you can find old, overgrown post-peat pits, which are valuable habitats for birds, and fragments of willow-poplar and alder-ash riparian forests. The area described above is part of the Protected Landscape Area of the Warta and Lower Noteć Valleys. As part of the Natura 2000 network, it is a Special Bird Protection Area PLB080002.
One-day rafting down the Lower Noteć River and Warta River Valley (fot. Robert Bogusz)
The area is easily accessible by car. You can get here by road Gorzow Wielkopolski – Skwierzyna, as well as by rail (railroad line Krzyz-Kostrzyn nad Odrą).
I propose to start rafting in the village of Santok. It is a village located at the mouth of the Noteć River to the Warta River. Santok is the ancient Sątok. The word used to mean the confluence of two rivers. The castle, located at the forks of the rivers Warta and Noteć, played an important role in the organization of the Polish state by the first Piasts. Gall Anonim in his “Polish Chronicle” called this place: “regni custodia et clavis” – “the watchtower and key of the kingdom”. The trade route leading from Poznan to Szczecin and further to Wolin used to wind its way here.
Currently Santok is a village of streets, stretching along the bed of the Warta River and at the same time along the foot of a high scarp, which is the beginning of a vast upland. Visible above the village, built in the 1930s, the observation tower is an important part of the landscape. It is also interesting to note that the vineyards scattered in the surrounding area are the result of an effort to restore wine-making traditions in the area of the former New March.
If we decide to come by car, we will leave it in the parking lot at the local municipality office or marina.
Recommended rafting route – one-day rafting in the Lower Noteć Valley and the Warta Valley (elaborate. Daniel Tokarz) A one-day rafting trip along the Lower Noteć Valley and the Warta Valley (fot. Robert Bogusz)
The first part of the proposed route begins with a walk through Santok in the eastern direction. Our task at this stage is to reach the embankment stretching along the Notec River. From Gorzowska Street we turn into its branch (characteristic points are Zacisze store and pumping station buildings in the distance). From reaching the embankment until the end of this stage, we will have the opportunity to see all that constitutes the natural value of the area. We will finish the hike more or less after walking 6.5 km, but after 6 km we should look around for a convenient place to start the water part of the trip.
The second part of the proposed route is a rafting trip down the Notec River towards Santok. The length of this section is approx. 6.5 km. There are no difficulties along the way, and the current of the river makes it easy to swim. In a short time we should notice the tower in Santok. This part of the rafting trip does not end on the Noteć River. After passing under the road bridge in Santok, we enter the wide waters of the Warta River and look for a place to land near the former castle of Santok (it is best to look out for a shelter), located on the opposite side of the river from the village of the same name. In the absence of a contrary wind, it will take us about two hours to cover this section. After going ashore, it is worth taking a look at the remains of the castle.
One-day rafting in the Lower Noteć Valley and Warta Valley (fot. Robert Bogusz) One-day rafting in the Lower Noteć Valley and Warta Valley (fot. Robert Bogusz)
The third part of the route is a walk along the tourist trail through the nature reserve “Santockie Zakole”. The trail has its beginning a few dozen meters from the shelter, near the fortified settlement. “Santockie Zakole” is a unique landscape, rich forest stand and an unusual population of birds. This is an area periodically flooded by the waters of the Warta River, with many oxbow lakes of the former stream of the Warta, ponds and clumps of natural riparian forests and thickets. Most impressive are the densely growing oaks and other tree species, among which as many as 220 meet the standards of natural monuments. The reserve is a habitat and breeding place for wild animals. These are especially waterfowl and meadow birds, but also birds of prey, of which we can find there nearly 150 species (e.g. goose). You can also meet wild boar, roe deer, fallow deer and European beaver here. The reserve is also inhabited by m.in. Goatsucker – one of the largest and rarest beetles in Europe (reaching about 6 cm in length), whose characteristic feature is long feelers that make up 1.5 body lengths. After walking a little over 4 km, we will again approach the Warta River. From this point it is worth looking out for a place to start the fourth, and last, part of the packraft day.
fot. Daniel Tokarz photo. Daniel Tokarz
Rafting on the Warta River to a stretch of about 4.5 km. Taking into account the strength of the current it will take us about an hour. Arriving in Santok, look out for the municipal office building. There is a convenient place to end the trip.
The route does not contain major difficulties. We should also not be afraid of damaging our equipment. Due to the strength and size of the rivers, for belaying purposes, consider swimming with another person. Obstacles in such places are sometimes regulatory spurs and fallen trees. When planning the route, it is absolutely necessary to take into account the forecast wind strength and direction.
One-day rafting trip down the Lower Noteć Valley and the Warta Valley (fot. Robert Bogusz)
We will need about 8 hours to swim the route.
One-day rafting trip along the Lower Noteć Valley and Warta Valley (photo. Robert Bogusz)
In the case of a one-day rafting trip, an overnight stay will not be necessary. Santok has a marina with a camping area, store and restaurant. The village is a good starting point for trips to the “Mouth of the Warta River” National Park, Drawa National Park, Gorzów Landscape Park, Barlinek Landscape Park or the Płoni Valley.
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