"Hiking in Tatrzañski Park Narodowy" Tatrzanski Park Narodowy by betako3
Tatrzanski Park Narodowy Travel Guide: 86 reviews and 201 photos
The Tatras, being the highest mountain range in Poland, is the Mecca for Polish hikers. The range is not very high on the world's scale, with its highest peak, Rysy, reaching 2499m. It is not even the highest peak in the Tatras, which stretch out into Slovakia, to the ultimate height of 2663 - Gerlach. Nevertheless climbing Rysy, or any other of the 2000 plus peaks of the Polish Tatras is a feat for any amateur mountain hiker and city dweller like myself and my friend Iwona. And we did climb some 2000 plus peaks this time: Œwinica (2301), Zawrat (2159), Ma³y Kozi Wierch (2228) and Szpiglasowa Prze³êcz (2110). Rysy must wait until the next summer.
Once in the park, keep your eyes open, for it is not uncommon to come into face to face contact with the wild inhabitants of the mountains, including the black bear and chamois. I have never personally seen a bear there but I have heard some stories from and about people that have. I have seen a chamois twice, though. The first encounter I had with it was some years ago, on the popular trail Czerwone Wierchy, quite close to Kasprowy Wierch. I just happened to raise my eyes from the path and a string of hikers ahead of me and there, just a few meters above my head, perched peacefully on a rock was a big wild goat looking full at me. I remember wondering how many people ahead of me had passed it without noticing. This year I have been even luckier, for I had a camera with me to capture the second chamois I saw in my life. And here it is.
Most of the people who write or talk in earnest about the Tatras compain about and sneer at crowds of Sunday tourists, mostly ill-equipped to hike, clogging the paths, talking too loudly, using their mobiles and flashing their cameras at every single tree, rock and stream. There is something to it. And due to the sheer numbers of people treadning the Tatras every summer it is almost impossible now to keep up the good old custom of greeting every fellow hiker you meet on your path with a 'hello'. But while I sometimes get irritated by another silly question 'How far is it?' a few hundred metres from KuŸnice (the beginning of many of the trails) I keep saying to myself that I'm not much different. I go there too, to have my share of beauty, to have the thrill of adventure, to escape my otherwise monotonous city life. And even in that crowd you are bound to meet someone interesting and make some friends. Some of the best memories I have from that last trip are such BECAUSE of the people I met. Take those three guys from Œl¹sk (Silesia) we met on the first day of our trip, in 'schronisko' (a hikers' mountain shelter) in the Valley of Five Lakes. We spent every evening together, sipping beer and 'Wiœniówka' (sweet cherry-flavoured vodka), laughing our heads off. Had it not been for Jacek, one of the guys, we - two girls with not much serious climbing experience- wouldn't have climbed Œwinica, and most definitely we wouldn't have ventured on Ma³y Kozi Wierch, which is the beginning of the notorious trail called Orla Peræ (something like Eagle's Perch in English). It was Jacek who taught us to use the chains and quided us through the most difficult parts of the trail. Thank you Jacek, if you chance to see this page :) And there are quite a few others, like that Polish guy living in London, who kept entering my pictures. I quess I appeared in a lot of his because at some point we started chatting and finally we exchanged emails to swap out photos later on. So, to keep up the custom: Hello to all the people who happened to be in the Valley of Five Lakes between 27th and 29th June 2007!
- Pros:Great views and a chance to prove yourself and meet interesting people.
- Cons:Dangerous in bad weather.
- In a nutshell:The place I dream about when I'm not there.
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