The Tatra Mountains

    Well, too bad I have just erased the whole file by accident!

    I have to do it again then...

    Well, Veronika and me have just returned (the Sunday of July) from a trip to Slovakia to the Tatra mountains. I have never been to a really high alpine type mountains before and it was an amazing experience (at times there were dizzying moments too!). I present here a couple of pictures to you which I hope you’ll like.

    Let us proceed orderly. The photographs follow us as we moved on on several of our trips during our two weeks stay. We started in the Western Tatras range where things are – supposedly – not so rough. There is a forest level, dwarf pine level, alpine level (mountain meadows) and the level of nothing any more… Through all this runs a lot of water which means one needs to ford and wade at times. (My good old American Nike hiking boots are long gone and forgotten and the new non-Nike pair perished during this holiday.) Besides, the weather was rather nasty during the first week with heavy rains and thunderstorms every day. But still, we liked it. When you get to the tops of the range the weather changes on the scale of minutes and thus if you are patient enough (and have time to stay for a while and still make it down home) you may expect some sunshine within say half an hour even though it looks like the Judgment Day at the moment. However for some reason it does not look that bad on our pictures (probably because one would not take pictures when there is no sun, huh?). We used to go up through a narrow valley all the way to the ridge and then along the ridge to the top. On the way down we usually followed another ridge. These valleys have been formed by glaciers and one can see a lot of telltale signs of their past presence. One of the valleys in its upper parts is partly visible on this picture  although it is almost screened off by Veronika (that is not so much of a drawback I suppose). This one has been taken already in the place where the valley widens to the so called corrie where the core of the glacier once lay.
    Then, after about four trips here and climbing the three highest mountains of the range, we made our highest ascent to the top of the Krivan mountain (2499 or 2496 depending on the source) in the High Tatras. On the top the weather did not permit to take any pictures so we made up on the way down (I am taking some rest on this one with high ridges beyond  and here you see the top itself ). That day we somehow did not manage our water reserves right and therefore have been very thirsty and since the Sun shone on the way down I got a pretty sun-stroke. The next day we took a day off just visiting the surrounding villages and sun basking (not me!) and swimming in a river dam nearby.
Then we attacked the Low Tatras (the name itself is a joke I suppose, they are over 2000 as well). Of course we needed to conquer the two highest peaks here and so we did. On the way down we had to run the last couple of kilometers as we really did not want to miss the last bus out. Anyways, except for the last parts of our trek we enjoyed it a lot. There is a view of one of the ridges here on picture . Next day we moved to our ultimate goal – the High Tatras. Krivan is only the westernmost peak of this range and we wanted to hike within the core of these mountains. There character is very different from that of the Western Tatras. These peaks are quite void of vegetation in the higher parts and very stony and steep. In the beginning I did not feel very comfortable here as I perceived the mountains as being very strict and grim. But after a while I got used to it. Today I miss it already. On this picture there is a waterfall called Leap . One of the favorite spots of the tourist crowds here (yes there have been a lot of people). Here we move to another peak  called Koprovsky which we liked the most since there was a lot of sunshine waiting for us on the summit. We basked in the sun for almost two hours with breathtaking views of the Tatras. This is on our last hike in the High Tatras on the way to Polske sedlo (Polish pass) . Behind Veronika is one of the nicest mountain lakes (tarns). The water here is crystal clear and cold as hell (or ice). This  and this  are on our last elevated top of Vychodna Vysoka (Eastern High). The weather was quite nice and so we stayed for over an hour here. Then we moved on through some snow  and crumbling stones  to the last pass here called Prielom (Rupture). The track is quite steep sometimes and close to the top are some rather smooth and slippery rock faces. For the sake of safety they installed some fixed chains along to help one’s balance. I was quite thankful.
The last two pictures are taken along the westernmost range of the Western Tatras where we concluded our Tatras hiking. The rocks here are of different composition – mainly limestone. They are not so formidable but on the other hand when it rains () paths can get very slippery. We did enjoy the rain of course ().
    Well, we made it safely down.
    On each of our ten days of hiking (two days of resting) we ascended over one kilometer from the start to the highest point of our trip. Altogether we made it safely over Mount Everest (my private assessment puts it at around 12000). So much about our little trip.