Buck's Hill Trail in Rauda Forest
Mystical stories and legends abound about the Rauda Forest — a truly ghostly forest! Sages say that in the sense of energies, it does not lag behind the legendary Pokaiņi Forest. The Rauda Forest is special with the fact that here — unlike anywhere else in Latvia — one can experience a marked contrast of energies. Here, the positive and the negative energy come face to face.
Buck’s Hill (Āža kalns) is 480–520 metres long and around 109 m tall (though some sources say it is 123 m tall). The hike up the hill is like an offer of a small adventure, which is why we call it the Buck’s Trail (Āža taka).
When asked about the origins of the name of the hill, even the oldest residents of the area only shrug and say: “It is the shape. A buck, no doubt!” Indeed! The shape of the hill resembles the side view of a body of a buck: a tail, hind, curved back, a head with horns and a nose. The drop from the Buck’s forehead down to the nose is almost terrifying.
If you wish to take in the beautiful scenery and soak up a good dose of positive energy, climb the steep tail upwards, crossing the Sun’s path during the Spring Equinox. The trail continues along the 5–8 metres wide backbone across several crosspoints of “goldmines” and towards the Buck’s Head, where the area of the right eye is the site of an ancestral Sacred Grove — an excellent spot for picnics and conversations. From there, the trail leads to the Buck’s forehead and down the steep drop to the Buck’s nose.
You can also hike up the hill along the short and comparatively gently sloping People’s trail (Tautas taka) and end up straight in the Sacred Grove.
Author of the Werewolf Trail and the Buck’s Trail — writer Guna Roze. Map – Raimonds Lapiņš.
Stops Along the Route | Information Stands that You Will Find in the Forest
The Eye of Wisdom
Another unique natural formation — the funnel-type holes — are found a couple of dozen metres away from the tail of the Buck’s Hill and not a hundred metres away from the Lousy Oak. It is possible that both holes formed as glaciers melted thousands of years ago.
The explanation offered by researchers of Latvian sacred sites and magic rites is not an official version, but certainly a more interesting one. They call these dips on both sides of the road the Devil’s Eyes.
The sage Māris Zvaunis: “The circles look like perfect funnels as if drawn by compasses, the ground cannot itself form it. Signs suggest that about 4000 years ago, a meteorite fell here and split near the ground, carving out these funnels (there is another such funnel further in this forest). Their visual effect is much more impressive than their famous Estonian peers — the craters of Saaremaa, not to mention the energy that has penetrated the earth along with the space rocks.”
The energy of this crater is markedly positive — its water leads you to learning and wisdom. Even though the water is as dark as black tea, they say that it is potable. Due to the dry weather in the spring, summer or autumn, the water in the funnel may have dried out.
A very special place of the Buck’s Hill — approximately at the middle of the Buck’s tail. Here, the larger and more important hills are found on the same line. In Estonia — the Munamagi, across the sea bay — Milzukalns, and here — the Buck’s Hill, but further in Zante — Smiltiņkalns and further still — the Krīvu Hill in Liepāja.
All of these hills mark the Sun’s path on the Spring Equinox, which falls on the 19th-20th of March when the day becomes longer than the night. There is only one such path on the Earth, and it crosses the Rauda Forest and Tukums.
Tukums itself has a unique site — the oldest observatory in the Eastern Europe; as you stand to the south-west of the Tukums castle mound and look through the notch of the Large Hill (Lielais kalns) as if through an eyepiece, you can welcome the Spring Equinox sunrise.
The Buck’s sacrum — the first crosspoint of fire energy “goldmine” that crosses the hill. In clear weather, you can see the Durbe Manor from this place, but not much more.
But Tukums is a town of 20,000 inhabitants! How is it possible that, when you reach the highest point of the area, you can only see a couple of roofs? This was something that people had already thought about in the 13th century, when there were no highways or rail roads — only waterways and logging trails in forests. Nor there was the Durbe Manor. The town was deliberately set up in a way to ensure that ill-wishers could not see it even from the tallest hills in the vicinity. Tukums is a special town in a special place.
It would already suffice that the town is crossed by the strong sacred Spring Equinox line. But that is not all! Tukums is situated atop the symbolically strongest Latvian sign — the zigzag of Māra or the three hill waves. The first is made of the Milzukalns and Buck’s Hill followed by the valley of Lake Melnezers and the spring cascade. The town itself is built in the middle, on the second wave, and this placement is extraordinarily wise. The third wave is made of the Large Hill, Cook’s Hill and the castle mound.
The lowest point of the Buck’s curved spine. Along this trail that leads you over the Buck’s spine is a path of fire energy lines and sometimes even fire crosses. The hill is a place that helps you develop and inspires you.
The water-finder Māris Zvaunis tells that the Buck’s Hill has no underground water streams. The closest underground streams near the Buck's Hill are found to the west, down by the pond, where waterlilies bloom during the summer, and to the east, where there is a little swamp in the valley on the other side of the Buck’s back. To the south, the Buck has made a little puddle under the tail — there is water in the meteorite crater or the Eye of Wisdom, but to the north — approximately 100 m past the Buck’s swamp, near the road of Rauda, you can also see a pond.
Official science, too, conducts various studies about the topic of the underground water streams. The radiation of the underground water streams is explained with manifestations of the electrostatic field. It is possible that the radiation is not caused by a single source, but rather by separate processes in the entrails of the earth. The most frequently mentioned is the radiation coming from the upper ground water streams. This is caused by water streams that are found in the upper soil — loose layers or clay.
The Buck’s neck — the gateway to the Sacred Grove and the site of ancient rites. Stop and look around. In the place of the Buck’s left eye, there is a 200-year-old grove of lime trees with many trunks: one of the lime trees has 14 trunks and another — even 18 trunks growing from one root. There is no other such naturally occurring circles of lime trees with multiple trunks in Latvia.
In nature, doubling or multiple repetitions occur only because a place has sufficient energy causing fertility. All of the heritage trees of Latvia grow in very strong places energetically, and this is one of such places.
This place features a unique acoustics. You can speak very quietly here, without any effort, and the others will still hear everything. This would be an ideal venue for a Song Festival stage. Try out your voice! Go ahead! Can you hear it?!
If you carry on along the trail, you will reach the Buck’s nose — the furthest energetic crossroads of the hill.
People's Trail of the Buck's Hill
People’s Trail leads to the Sacred Grove on the Buck’s Hill. An ancient legend has it that in the olden days, when a road stretched across the back of the Buck Hill, a landlord in a spring was coming home from the market of Tukums with a full cart, around here started feeling tired, stopped the horse, took a mouthful of birch sap from a bucket by a roadside birch and fell asleep for a short while. In a dream, he saw that he gave away all his property to the Devil if he gets to see the future. He woke up and was at loss. The sky was still fine like a silk fabric, birds singing wedding songs, but the area seemed completely strange! The hill overgrown with trees, the road turned into a path that cannot be driven with a cart, and a horse no more — just an empty cart with hazel-trees growing through it. An old lady is coming along the trail holding buckets of birch sap. The man greets her, says the name of the house and asks for the way towards it. The lady seems surprised: “Since I was a little girl, I remember only ruins of the old house of the grandfather of my great-grandfather. He left for the market but never came back. But how did you manage to get the cart here? When I came here in the morning, it wasn’t here!” The man realised that he had stopped at a place of unusual power, where nothing is impossible, he had woken at least a century later and was now talking to his own great-great-granddaughter. “Well, heavens above!” – he exclaimed, took the old lady’s buckets, both of them turned around and went down the wide path that once was only an animal path.
Go travelling and enjoy nature!
Before Going to the Forest
- Before you go to the forest, notify your family members and tell them your destination, where you are going, as accurately as possible, and the time you plan to return.
- If possible, avoid going to the forest alone. Even in a familiar area, an accident might occur, for example, you can trip over and twist an ankle.
- Take along a torch, which will not only help you avoid panicking, but also make it easier for rescuers to find you. A whistle will also help.
- Make sure to dress to protect yourself against ticks, but also to ensure that rescuers can see you as easily as possible. It is useful to wear bright coloured clothing — a jacket, a hat or shoes.
- Make sure you have on you an identification document or at least a little note with your name and address.
- Before you go into the forest, make sure to fully charge your phone battery. Modern technologies allow finding the signal also where there is no phone network coverage.
- Take along a water bottle and chocolate, which will help you regain energy in case you get lost. If you need to take medicines daily, make sure you have them with you.
- When you walk in a forest, look around and take note: a railroad, roads or peculiar-looking trees can serve as good landmarks in case you get lost. When you walk into a forest, always remember on which side is the sun. You will have to return going the opposite way.
How to Behave in a Forest
- If you bring something along, make sure to take it back with you!
- Be careful with fire in the forest!
- Beware of ticks!
- Relax responsibly and safely in the forest!
- Be sparing with inventory at recreational areas and clean up after yourself!
- Drive only on roads, when you are in a forest.
- Supervise your pets to make sure they do not destroy nature or bother other people.
- Only make fire in designated areas. Before you leave, make sure that the fire has been extinguished.
- Do not drop burning or smouldering matchsticks, cigarette butts or other objects on the ground.
- In case of fire or accidents, call the rescue service at 112 without delay.
You can read about the stories of werewolves in Kurzeme in the book "Werewolf Tales of Kurzeme" by the theologian Ralph Kokin, but the stories recorded here - in the Raudas Forest, can be read here.
Do not destroy and do not litter in the forest — the home of animals, birds, reptiles, insects and mythical creatures.