Carpathian Games

Miloslav Nevrlý first captivated readers with Carpathian Games in 1982. Since then, the book has been published in Czech eight times and once in Romanian. Benjamin Lovett translated the masterpiece to English in 2020.

Though not broadly known outside the Czech Republic, Carpathian Games has become a classic of travel writing in its own right. Our aim at is to bring the book to audiences beyond the borders of fatherland and mother tongue that they, too, may be touched by it.

There are many ways to enjoy Carpathian Games – in depth chapter by chapter, quickly leafed through in no particular order or downloaded for free and read amidst towering Carpathian peaks.

Read more about the author and the project – this English edition of the Carpathian Games was published thanks to the enthusiasm of more than 300 donors and few volunteers.

Want to support this effort? Please leave us your impressions about the book and help with promotion!



This book was not originally written for you. Nevertheless, it may well transform your perspective on hiking and the Carpathians. At least this is what it has done for many.  The Carpathian Games was intended for a circle of nature-loving fellows in the early 1980s in Czechoslovakia. It was published unofficially since its “truths were …


THE FOAL MOUNTAINS. How long it has been since I visited them. First wonder at Carpathian expanses. Carved farmstead gates in Draganu Valley; old women on doorsteps weaving, embroidering. First time a-roving. First time struggling up steep wooded hillsides toward visions of a path pointed out in fog by a shepherd’s hand. Ceaţa the shepherd …




Miloslav Nevrlý

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[1] 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.

Libor Hofman
member of the scout group led by Miloslav Nevrlý

[1] 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.


We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to all whose generous donations made the translation and promotion of this book possible. 

Milan Áda
Eva Allaby
Markéta Avakian
Jan Babák
Vít Baisa – Ďábel
Marek Baláš
Otto Balcar
Marie Balková
Svatopluk Bartík
Jaromír Bartoš
Aneta Bednaříková
Tafird a Krysa Bednaříkovi
Aleš Bělohradský
Jiří Berger
Jakub Bežilla
Kim Bingel
Vojtěch Brzek
Ivo Brzobohatý
Hynek Cihlář
Jan Činčera
Alin Ciocea
Nadejda Codreanu
Pavel Corradini
Noemi Cuza
Czech Scout Foundation
Tomáš Čakloš
Eliška Čapková Ebelová
Jiří Černohous
Petr Daněk
Pepa Daniel
Eva Dittingerová
Jan Dlab
Barbora Dofková
Petr Doležel
Kateřina Doleželová
Pavel Doubek s.r.o.
Jitka Doubková
Johana Drlíková
Lenka Ducháčová
Anna Dusek
Daniel Dvořák
Vilém Dvořák
Bára Dvořáková
Klára Dvořáková
Hana Dvořáková
Jeremy Fane
Václav Fanta
Eva Fedorková
Jitka Fialová
Jana Fischerová
Tomáš Foltýnek
Vladimír Forejt
Igor Forgáč
Tereza Galon
Monika Gliňská – Winky
Jiří Glonek
Jana Godarová
Jiří Gol
Žaneta Gregorová
Tomáš Grešl
Hana Grundová
Denisa Halašová
Jana Halúzová
Kateřina Hamplová
Martina Hanyková
Martin Hassman
Štěpán Hašek
Miroslav Havela
Michaela Havlíková
Lukas Havranek
Vendula Hejnová
Zuzana Hendrychová
Petr Herout
Ondřej Ondera Herzán
Jan Hladík
Zuzana Hlisnikovská
Ivana Hlobilova
Libor Hofman
Ludek Hochmuth
Jan Hokeš
Josef Holeček
Kevin Hew
Jan Holkup
Tadeáš Hollan
Petr Holoch
Jan Holoubek
Alois Holub
Barbora Honcu
Jarmila Horáková
Kryštof Horn
Katarína Horváthová
Miloš Houdek
Ivuška a Maho Hovorkovi
Renáta H.
Matěj Hrouda
Marek Hrubý
Ondřej Hrůza
Ester Hubená
Matěj Hudec
Blažena Hušková
Martina “Macík” Charvátová
Pavla Chyská
Petra Janásková
Boris Janča
Jakub Jareš
Miroslav Jarošík
Petra Jelínková
Vojtěch Jeník
Jana Jirasová
Kateřina Juřicová
Petr Kadlec
Petr Kalisz
Hana Kamp
Václav Kappel
Jan Karel
Jaroslav Karlík
Miloslav Kavka
Tereza Klinkerová
Helena Kmínková
František Kmječ
Ludmila Knappová
Alena Knotková
Tomáš Kočnar
Michal Kolafa
Dan Kolář
Richard Kolbe
Petr Kolenatý – Mamud
Lenka Kolesárová
Martin Kolovský
Eva Komínková
Jiří Konečný
Ivana Kopecká
Lenka Kopřivová
Rostislav Košťál
Štěpán Kotek
David Koura
Tom Kozel
Jan Král
Bohumír Krampera
Petr Krampl
Petr Kratochvíl
Hana Krauseová
Tomáš Křička
Stanislav Krupař
Martin Křivánek – Set
Markéta Kubánková
Iva Kučerová
Adam Kulich
Lea Kundrátová
Martin Kupka
David Kutalek
Jonáš Lačňák
Ivana Lačňáková
Kateřina Lišková
Ondřej Lošťák
Michael Luetchford
Jaroslav Luhan

Jan Lukáš
Aleš Máchal
Pavel Malina
Jana Malinová
Barbora Malinovská
Pavla Malvotová
Lukáš Malý
Jan Maršálek
Pavel Matějka
Pavel Matouš – Ink
Kamil Medek
Michal Medek
Pavel Mejšner
Kristýna Menclová
Roman Menšík
Martin Menšík
Vendula Menšíková
Kristýna Menzelová
Michal Merta
Zdenek Mihalco
Honza “Mek” Michalička
Petr Mikulášek
Jitka Motylova
Jakub Mráček
Michala Mydlářová
Dalibor Naar
Tomáš “Katel” Navrátil
Leona Nechvílová
Lukáš Neklan
Lenka Němcová
Adam Němec
Jan Netrval
Jan Neugebauer
Veronika Niederlová
Helena Nováčková
Miroslav Novák
František Novák
Petr Novák
Zuzana Nováková
Jan Osolsobě
Jindřich Osolsobě
Zdeňka Ouřadová – Támhle
Eva Palatova
Zuzana Pánková
Josef Patočka
Lenka Ludérka Patočková
Petr Pavlok
Martin Pecka
Michal Pěgřím
Hana Pechoušková
Romana a Jakub Pejcalovi
Lada Peksova
Ladislav Pelcl
Dagmar Pelcová
Ondra Peřina
Luke Phillips
Edmund Pilarcik
Yvonna Piňosová
Zuzana Pirklová
Tomáš Plevan
Aleš “Alík” Podivínský
Milan Podpera
Jan Pohunek
Dagmar Pohunková
Marcela Pokorná
Petr Pokovba
Michal Polansky
Naďa Polenova
Markéta Pop
Horaţiu Popa
František Pospíšil
Jiří Pospíšil
Vojtěch Procházka
Josef Přikryl
Lucie Pytlová
Oldrich Rakovec
David Raus
Adéla Roháčková
Olga Rotreklová
bratr Dudlík
Jirka Řehák
Petr Řehoř
Hana Říhová
Daniel Sajdl
Klára Sedláková
Vladimír Schmid
Alfréd Schubert st.
Alfréd Schubert ml.
Tomáš Šídlo – Pascal
Zdenka Sigmundová
Petr Simecek
Tomáš Sivok
Daria Skálová
Marie Skálová
Matyas Skvor
Pavel Sláma
Aleš Slezák
Veronika Slováčková
Eva Smolová
Daniel Soutner
Soňa Srbová
Eva Staněk
Tomáš Staněk
Radu Stinghe
Jakub Straka – Vikki
Pavel Stránský
Michal Stratil
Jana Strnádková
Petr “Glum” Šabata
Roman Šantora
Martina Šedivá
Martin “Sherry” Šerák
Tomáš Šetina
Jan Šimbera
Petr Škara
Klára Škvorová
Martin Šlapák
Anna Pírko a Stanislav Kotlík Šlechtovi
Martin Špička
Petr Štaffa
Kryštof Štafl
Zuzana Štěpánová
Pavel Švancara
Jan Tauchman
Dalimil Toman
Jaroslav Tomiczek
Hana Trachtulcová
Šimon Trlifaj
Lucie Trnena
Jan Trpák
Petr Tulach
Robin Ujfaluši
Leopold Ullmann
Barbora Váchová
Iva van Leeuwen
Jan Vávra
Pavla Velinská
Jiří Velinský
Václav Vencovský
Jaroslav Vepřek – Promyšleno
Anna Veselá
Zdenka Veselá
Zuzana Veselá
Ondřej Veselý
Petr Vinš
Petr Jan Vinš
Ondřej Višňák
Tomáš Vítek
Jiří Vobiš
Jaroslav Vodáček
Robert Vystrčil
David Yilma
Jiří Zajíc
Tomáš Zaplatílek
Vladimír Zavřel
Kateřina Zavřelová
Michal Zedníček

And couple of others, who are not listed here.