Time for some ultimate awesomeness! MOUNTAINS!
Here follows what I like to call a puke-load of pictures from our hike up a mountain called Lomnický štít, which is part of the mountain range lining the border of Slovakia and Poland called the High Tatras.
I’ve previously been hiking at the Low Tatras and a region called Orava (which was hilarious because ‘orava’ means ‘squirrel’ in Finnish). Those hikes were a tad more challenging; you can read the stories in my old blog here and here. This time, wizened by the previous hikes, I decided to prepare myself by exercising… I ended up going running altogether 2 times during October.
But it turns out that those 2 times were enough! I didn’t have problems breathing (like I did on the previous Tatra trips) and I actually RAN up the hill every now and then. Never happened before. I blame this on the happiness factor, because I was incredibly elated, happy, and just full of pure energy for being back where I love life the most.
These pictures are basically in a chronological order starting from the bottom til the top.
And seriously, imagine waking up to that view in the first picture (the view from our bedroom): you’d always know it’s going to be an awesome day.
The first leg of the hike was just a couple of kilometers up a gravel road. Not bad. And all the way we could see the white-capped final destination looming in the distance ahead. I tried not to look at it too much because it seemed to be so far away, and I didn’t want to think about how many kilometers we needed to walk upwards instead of this easy first ascend.
I have to say, we picked the perfect time for this hike: Autumn had only started in Slovakia, so everywhere around us we saw amazing displays of colour. The weather is always a risk in these altitudes, and we were worried when it snowed on the mountains couple days before our hike.
Rain or too much snow would’ve meant that the hike would’ve been too dangerous, and we would’ve had to think of some alternative things to do. Which is not such a big problem in this particular area, because close by there is a ‘Sky Walk‘, which is a panorama walkway built on the level of tree tops snaking its way through the forest by the foot of the mountains. But thankfully we could go ahead with our Plan A.
After a brief stop, where everyone could take a selfie with the magnificent view of the surrounding valleys, we continued first down to the very foot of the mountain and a small river running there.
There were a lot of fallen and stripped trees in the valley that looked quite miserable. Turns out these used to be healthy, normal-looking trees up til a monstrous storm happened ripping a lot of the trees from their roots and tearing most of the branches off the ones that were left standing. But such is the power of nature that the trees still keep growing after such an attack.
Power of nature is something that you can’t ignore when in the vicinity of mountains. All I can say is, if you do not respect nature, and the amount of power that Mother Nature holds in her hands, I suggest you go see some mountains on close range. You will very quickly realize just how insignificant you actually are :D
From the river onwards the road went up. We stopped to admire the gorgeous waterfall cascading from within the rock wall before bracing ourselves for the climb up a hill that consisted of large rocks. The rest of the way was quite challenging because you had to hop from one rock to the next.
Keeping your balance became more and more difficult the higher we got because there was snow, and more of it the further we went. Most of us aren’t constant mountaineers, so our sneakers were ill-fitted to the slippery, snowy slopes.
Thankfully our travel companions had predicted this and they had couple of those spike things that you can strap on your shoe soles so that you have better grip when traipsing through the ice and snow. Unfortunately the boys were left without spikes under their shoes, so they had to work a bit harder to stay vertical.
Finally we made it to the end point, which was a hut by the mountain side, where we could stop for some lunch and well-deserved beers. We climbed about halfway up the mountain (1.700 meters above sea level), but from then on it was a no-go. The rest of the way was a steep rock wall that would require proper mountaineer equipment and experience. You’re not allowed there unless you’ve passed a special course.
But that was fine for us, for my knee was screaming the most volatile swear words instead of a hallelujah, and while we were enjoying our lunch it started raining, which would’ve made hiking even more challenging and straight-forward dangerous.
On our way down something incredibly adorable happened. Those who were following our hike on Instagram might have seen how we bumped into Mr. Fox:
We were just strolling (or in guys’ view, slipping) down the slope when all of a sudden an orange head with big, fluffy ears popped up from behind a rock. There it stayed staring at us and we stood there staring at him. (Sorry about the picture quality, my camera was in the backpack so my phone camera had to suffice.)
I was taken over by an enormous fit of adoration and thoughts of “IT’S SO FLUFFY I’M GONNA DIE!” that I completely ignored the fact that this is a wild animal, and thus can be dangerous, and just walked on towards him.
He didn’t give a damn that a group of human beings surrounded his rock. He was just standing there, quite relaxed. I’d say even enjoying the attention he was getting. He even came down right by the path to say ‘hi’. It’s quite clear this dude was used to humans and I guess people have been feeding him because he clearly looked at us waiting to be given something.
I cannot describe how much I hoped I would’ve had something for him! But his fur was so perfect and he looked well-fed, so I guess I’m off the hook.
The Furry Friend was the best ending to our hike to conquer another one of the peaks of the Tatras. Although, of course we didn’t conquer it, it was already taken by the precious Mr. Fox ♥
To quote myself from my very first Tatra trip post:
After these trips the traditional beach holidays are completely losing their charm for me. Why stare at the horizon where sea meets sky, when you can have scenery like the ones in Slovakia just outside the capital city even. After lying on the beach, or shopping in some big capital and stuffing your face in restaurants every day, you tend to feel a little guilty afterwards. After trips like these you just have this amazing feeling of accomplishment and you will be in awe about the things you’ve seen and done for many days to come.