The Ukta-Iznota route is 16 km long and you need 4 hours to complete it. It’s a river and lake section.
The Krutynia River will guide you trough this stage of the route. Once you leave Ukta behind, the river changes. The riverbed narrows slightly, and often gets even more narrow due to fallen trees. However, even novice kayakers don’t find it difficult as all obstacles can easily be avoided without having to get off the kayak. There are alders, aspens, rowans and birches growing on the banks. This is really important during a hot summer as the trees create a tunnel over your heads to protect you from the heat. The Masuria region offers alamedas not only on the roads. There definitely is a reason why Krutynia is called a river under a canopy.
Having passed Ukta, you go along the ruins of a railway bridge destroyed during World War II, and then on the right bank there’s PTTK Ukta. On the left one you’ll see the last lonely farm which means you enter the “Dolna Krutynia” reserve. The river meanders strongly there and is 30 meter wide and 2–7 metre deep. The Krutynia Dolna reserve protects this section of the river together with the surrounding forests and Lakes Gardyńskie, Malinówka and Dłużec. We recommend taking a walk and search for rare plants, such as orchids, insectivorous sundews, European fills, common eagles, martagon lilies or pasque-flowers. An interesting fact is the occurrence of Greek valerian - the glacial relic, i.e. a remnant from the glacial period. It is also called the Jacob's ladder due to the high inflorescences covered with blue bells of flowers.
Going down the river you’ll see that the trees grow further from the banks. They gave their way to dense water vegetation. Real green carpets. You can also see many rare species of birds: white-tailed eagle, osprey, common crane, eagle owl, kingfisher, corncrake. Though the river is deep, the water is clear so you can observe underwater fauna and flora.
The bends are numerous, though quite wide, and guide you to the village of Nowy Most. You pass along some buildings, PTTK Nowy Most on the right, and you’re back in the wild.
The riverbed spreads out, the trees grow densely along the banks and there are less reeds. You approach Lake Gardyńskie, where you need to take the right turn through the dense underwater vegetation. For just a moment, you enter Lake Malinówko, where you follow its left shore to go to Lake Jerzewko, which smoothly translates into the river again - Iznocka Struga (also called Czarna Woda). Different sections of Krutynia have their individual names such as Sobiepanka, Grabówka, Dąbrówka, Babięcka Struga or Spychowska Struga.
In its book Na tropach Smętka, Melchior Wańkowicz describes the kayaking trip down the Krutynia river: “In its lower section, the current is slower and the river flows through wide, wet meadows. Until the river mouth in Bełdany, over a distance of about 20 km, the land is empty. You can see green meadows with stacks erected with invisible hands, somewhere on their banks there are green copses. They grow on different elevations and you can feel that there must be human settlements somewhere, and you look for fumes over the tops of trees. You go meanders by meanders and only the increasing numbers of herons reluctantly fly, marking the low sky with characteristic silhouettes that resemble the silhouette of a bird clumsy clumped by a child from two boards. Huge, brown hawks fulfil their unceasing duty. Our boat is just a dot in this swampy and sleepy valley. Orchards are ripe, cereals are not here, flowers find it too wet here - there is a kingdom of raw greenness. The boat is a dot in this monotonous greenery and the burden of taming nature is no longer ours - a man is ready to fear it.”
The riverbed becomes very wide again, and the wooded banks are full of wide reeds and rushes. When approaching the village of Iznota, you pass several buildings and finish the trip on the right bank before the bridge.
Price 70 z/kayak, 100zł/ canoe
Note: everybody, who wants to take part in the kayak trip down the Krutynia river (sections Ukta–Nowy Most and Ukta–Iznota) are welcome to our base in Ukta (by the river, opposite the church; enter directly from the Mrągowo–Pisz route).