Vangaži – Carnikava
The 27 km long stage from Vangaži to Carnikava starts in the central square of Vangaži. The road is easy to walk, the first part leads along various country and pedestrian roads, but the second part – along the Gauja river dam, therefore the possibility to stray from the road is quite small.
Although the Pierīga region is relatively densely populated and the road leads through several residential areas, this does not mean an constantly urban environment. On the contrary even – the road bypasses all the temples of modern civilization, so it is necessary to prepare food and drinking water before hitting the road.
It should also be noted that the Ādaži military training ground is located on the opposite bank of the Gauja river. Therefore the occasional sound does not always indicate the approach of a storm and the helicopters in the sky are not rushing to rescue accident victims.
We start the stage in the central square of Vangaži and leave of the city along the Gaujas Street. However, we should not give in to the temptation of a smooth, paved footpath, because after 200 meters we will have to turn right onto Priežu Street. Next to the intersection, we see the Vangaži Christian parish house built in a modern style and decorated with a large cross on the facade. The asphalt road takes us into the forest and after a little more than a kilometer it takes us to a gardening and private home colony. We continue along the asphalted Priežu Street for 400 meters until the street branches off to the left. The road leads to the company “Vangažu avots”, but we choose to go left, continuing along Vangažu Street. After 300 meters at an intersection, the asphalted street will turn sharply to the left, but we must continue to go straight along the gravel road and after another 100 meters we see a road sign that shows we have left Vangaži.
We continue to go straight along the gravel road and after a little more than a kilometer and few curves it takes us into Ādaži region and into Āņi. We take the Stempju road, which makes a sharp turn left after more than half a kilometer, but a little further – a sharp turn to the right (after the turn there is a road sign that the road is closed for trucks). A slightly winding part of about 1300 meters take us to the end of the Stempju road. Here we turn right at the intersection, proceed along the gravel road and after 100 meters we re-enter Āņi. The gravel road is replaced by asphalt and along the pompous new neighbourhoud we enter Garkalne after 700 meters.
Unlike Āņi, the buildings here are spaced further apart, the asphalt road approaches the river Gauja and then leads us around a horseshoe-shaped lake. Then it leads along a horse farm, along another farm built in the style of a la historicism, until it finally takes us to the center of Garkalne village with a bus stop, notice board and a church.
We can rest on the hill of the church and afterwards continue along the asphalt road. This time though we don’t have to follow the asphalt, but we turn right after approximately 500 meters, after the bus stop. We turn to the Ošlauki road. The gravel country road leads us through the meadows, fields, and farmsteads. After two and a half kilometers we reach an asphalt road and turn right.
The asphalt road leads us to the Baltezers canal. Then it goes along the canal for a while until it turns right and crosses the canal over a bridge. We also cross the canal and enter Ādaži.
The Podnieku Street leads us further (sic! – There is a grocery store in the building with a giant chimney – the first, if not the only one on today’s road) into Ādaži, where it crosses Attekas Street and takes us along the Vējupe river to the outskirts of central Ādaži, where it intersects with Gaujas Street at a roundabout. Here you can turn left and go to the center of Ādaži, where there are shops and cafes. If you go right and along the bank of Vējupe river, you can reach the bar “Kontiki” on the bank of the reservoir.
But we continue our path. At the intersection with Gaujas Street, turn right, walk a bit along Gaujas Street and after 300 meters at the Ādaži City Council building, cross the street. There is a small square next to the building and we can already see the Gauja dam with a path leading up to it. We climb up to the dam and … for the next 6.5 kilometers we walk along the footpath on the dam. No intersections, no turns – we just walk along the dam. The last one and a half kilometers of the footpath on the dam is a wide, gravel road along the surface of the dam.
Shortly before the Via Baltica, a trail branches off to the right from the gravel road, leading into the forest at the riverbank. We walk along the path that takes us to the Gauja river along the highway and further underneath the bridge to the other side of the highway.
On the other side of the bridge, we enter the territory of an uninhabited guest house, but we do not stay there. We cross the yard and go to the bank of the Gauja, where a path leads along the river. If you do not want to cross the yard, you can walk around the guest house and climb the Gauja dam again.
The path along the Gauja river leads through a simple rest stop and soon takes us back to the Gauja dam, along which we continue our way. The trail goes along the private houses of Carnikava and after 3 kilometers reaches a railway bridge. We reach the other side of the bridge by going underneath it and immediately turn to the left. There is a parking lot at the railway embankment. We can also see a lawn with a small, gray house made out of wood. It is the Carnikava Boat House, where the local Evangelical Lutheran Church has arranged its home. We are going to the Boat House. The stage is happily finished.