The ridge of Stráž rises above Rokytnice. Its western end descends towards the wild waters of the Jizera river and continues east along the Sachr and Vlčí ridges to the mythical Kotel mountain. Stráž, or Strážník as it is also known, was once a place where fires were lit to signal that enemy troops were crossing the border. The smoke signal was duplicated by patrols in Kozákov and deeper into Bohemia. Today, fortunately the fires no longer burn and Rokytnice nad Jizerou has new protectors – the town is overseen on the rocks of Strážník by four patrons from the coat of arms symbolising the four villages that in ancient times merged into the town of Rokytnice – the fox, the bear, the sheep and the miner – The Guard Patrol.
The fox settled on the first rock with his long body on the rock and his tail poking into the valley. He watches over the entire Rokytnice and surrounding hills. He watches with a keen eye the last snow on the slopes of Lysá hora melting away and the first primroses being warmed by the spring sunshine. The summer sun bleaches his back and the autumn rain darkens his wooden fur. So come on in – the fox of Františkov will take you on his back!
There is a pleasant view of the fox from a small footbridge close to the rest area that is aperfect stopping point for an afternoon snack. There are more stops along the way, so if it is busy at the fox, don't worry, you will soon find somewhere else to rest.
The bear hides in the woods just outside the fox. He stands on stone among the blueberries and looks into the treetops. He seems well fed and is a good size. "Get on my back!" the bearsays, inviting you to a lookout that offers a splendid view even when fog is rolling over the mountains. If fortunate, you will see woodpeckers in action while you also might by lucky enough to run into a roe deer family wandering in the woods at the top of Stráž. The bear was originally from Dolní Rokytnice but he seems to like it up here. He is calm and likes people, so have no fear and listen to him. Get on his back.
The sheep wandered to Stráž from the meadows of Horní Rokytnice. He guards the road to the miner, the last stop on the route between the guards on Stráž. Curled up in a forest among blueberry bushes, he lends his hump without fear. Climb the ladder to stroke his back and he will be happy.
You reach the miner via the footbridge. It stands on a high rock known by local climbers as Ká Pětka. Its shape is a reference to Rokytnice’s mining past. As a symbol of Rokytno, it is the last of the four-strong patrol and a huge figure looking down into the Jizera valley. A steep staircase takes you to a lookout with an exceptional view. If you listen, you can hear thesparkling waters of the river as it makes its way through the untamed valley from the mountains on the border with Poland. Sit on the steps and savour the panorama of the slopesabove the river. It is truly breathtaking here.
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