The Papal Canoe Trail

The canoe trail, whose name refers to the most famous of Polish canoeists, Karol Wojtyła, covers most of the course of the Słupia. It was established as a result of the cooperation of the Local Governments of the ten Communes through which it runs and it not only commemorates a trip in the company of the Pope-to-be from nearly half a century ago, but also his approach to nature and active leisure, with which he was commonly associated.

The route runs from the Kashubia’s Gowidlin to Słupsk, and contains 10 stops, the location of which reflects the probable places in which Karol Wojtyła and his thirteen friends camped in 1964. The route has been equipped with information boards for canoeists, and the local residents have also placed historic stones dedicated to John Paul II.

A trip down the Papal Canoe Trail may be treated like a pilgrimage, but it can also be satisfying without adding the spiritual dimension. In both cases you can see beautiful nature and wonderful landscapes, but also test yourself in fighting with the water. The Słupia, particularly in its upper course, has the character of a highland river in some sections, with all the consequences of this fact – a rapid current, and a great number of obstacles – such as shallows, boulders and tree trunks. Some of the route is even termed “the extreme Słupia”. Those canoeists who are less confident in their skills can start the trip a little further downstream, where the current is calmer and you can even see small children in canoes. Journeying down the Papal Route you will see the historic, one-hundred-year old, yet still working hydroelectric power plants, which are open to visitors, watch the nature reserves along the way, with their natural peculiarities, and, with a little luck, see the white-tailed eagle. A week of rowing, which is the average time needed to cover the 133-km Papal Trail on the Słupia, is a considerable physical effort, but one that guarantees great rest of the kind that was recommended by Archbishop Karol Wojtyła.



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