Once upon a time among the hills of a once famous kingdom lived a king named Miloslav. From early boyhood he loved Nature and wished to learn of its depths and secrets. Soon he realized that there was more to Nature than its myriad shapes and forms. It was a unity of principles. A system. A creation of God. As he grew, so did his passion which lead him to study at Charles University.
Step by step, stem by stem, feather by feather, he studied first grasses and birds, then other species, becoming a king of nature with a gift of speaking and writing about it. If it had not been for the confining borders of socialist Czechoslovakia, he might have become a world-famous nature narrator like Aldo Leopold or David Attenborough, but instead he was forced to travel within the walls of a small country. What his explorations lacked in breadth, however, they more than made up in depth. There are few who know as much about the nature and wildlife of the former Czechoslovakia as our beloved king, Miloslav.
Most of all, he loved the Carpathians, the mountain arc stretching across the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, and Ukraine all the way to Romania. In communist times, visiting the USSR or the mountains of west Ukraine was out of the question, but crossing the Hungarian plains by steam engine and disembarking anywhere in Romania was easy enough. And when you did, you were greeted by pristine wilderness, range upon range of wild mountains and freedom to move and camp as you wished – a dreamland for the naturalist, a promised land for the hiker.
Miloslav Nevrlý heard the call and did not keep the Shangri-la to himself. After the communists banned scouting in 1970, Miloslav, himself a scout, and his friend Miloš Zapletal started up a group for girls and boys, who longed to continue the scouting tradition. Disguised as a tourist sport club, they explored the natural beauty of Romania with all their senses. I myself was privileged enough to be part of this group and as a result, ten glorious summers remain etched forever in my memory.
From the seeds of Miloslav’s diaries and rich memories, the book of Carpathian Games grew into a blossoming flower. It describes a promised land for hikers and naturalists as they encountered it 50 years ago. Though many places look different today, shepherds still drive their herds through mountain meadows while bears and wolves wander Carpathian forests in even greater numbers than when Miloslav and his band of rovers roamed wild Romanian peaks.
I wish you such joyful moments as the ones I will always cherish in my memory.
member of the scout group led by Miloslav Nevrlý
 A wordplay in Czech: hry=games, hory=mountains
Carpathian Games has influenced tens of thousands of readers on the small “language island” that is Czech. Over 300 donors and volunteers whose lives have been touched by the book decided to support the English translation. The author agreed with the translation without royalties on condition that the book would be available for free in digital format.
Delighted with Miloslav’s decision, we began searching for a translator. This, however, proved to be a more difficult task than we had anticipated – many turned us down after realizing the difficulty of this marvellous text.
We had almost lost hope that this dream would ever become reality when we met Benjamin Lovett. A Texan living in central Bohemia, he needed no familiarization with Carpathian Games, his Czech wife-to-be had read the book to him as they hiked through the Romanian mountains together many years earlier. As Ben acknowledges, the task was not an easy one, and the translation took special time and effort. We should also mention he gave up part of his fee for the sheer love of the project.
We wholeheartedly hope this book raises awareness for the beauty of the Carpathians and helps protect the natural wonders currently threatened by new roads, hotels, ski slopes and bike trails.
We wish you a wonderful time playing the Carpathian games wherever you may be, but we would also like to remind you that the book and website are strictly non-commercial. Indeed, it would go against their very fiber if they were used in commercialized hiking and wilderness experiences. Thus, it is strictly prohibited to use any portion of this book in any form of marketing (e.g. tourism or outdoor products, etc). You will soon see for yourself that money plays no role in the Carpathian games.
LIST OF DONORS
We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to all whose generous donations made the translation and promotion of this book possible.
Vít Baisa – Ďábel
Tafird a Krysa Bednaříkovi
Czech Scout Foundation
Eliška Čapková Ebelová
Pavel Doubek s.r.o.
Monika Gliňská – Winky
Ondřej Ondera Herzán
Ivuška a Maho Hovorkovi
Martina “Macík” Charvátová
Petr Kolenatý – Mamud
Martin Křivánek – Set
Pavel Matouš – Ink
Honza “Mek” Michalička
Tomáš “Katel” Navrátil
Zdeňka Ouřadová – Támhle
Lenka Ludérka Patočková
Romana a Jakub Pejcalovi
Aleš “Alík” Podivínský
Alfréd Schubert st.
Alfréd Schubert ml.
Tomáš Šídlo – Pascal
Jakub Straka – Vikki
Petr “Glum” Šabata
Martin “Sherry” Šerák
Anna Pírko a Stanislav Kotlík Šlechtovi
Iva van Leeuwen
Jaroslav Vepřek – Promyšleno
Petr Jan Vinš
And couple of others, who are not listed here.