In October 2019, my boyfriend and I went on a little trip through the Saxon Switzerland National Park. After exploring this part of Germany and Czech Republic, we kept driving towards Poland and its part of the Tatras Mountains. a mountain range that forms a natural border between Slovakia and Poland.
It’s now an area protected by the UNESCO in Poland and Slovakia as the Tatras National Park. These mountains are quite similar to the Alps but way smaller.
Rysy – 2,503 m
Our first adventure started in Štrbské Pleso, a lake on the Slovakian side from which we started our hike towards Rysy, a mountain in the crest of the High Tatras, eastern part of the Tatra Mountains, lying on the border between Poland and Slovakia.
This was my first hiking experience ever. And I chose the highest summit of the Tatras Mountains! But it was one of the most insane trip in my life. The landscame kept changing, from rocky grounded forests till rivers or from woods till rocky hills… We were mesmerized by this wild nature.
What I appreciated was how well indicated the path was and therefore how secured it felt. The hike didn’t feel hard, but it was certainly longer than expected. Once we arrived at Žabie plesá, a small lake at the bottom of the last climb the view was something I’ve never seen before.
I was standing above the cloud, speechless.
We kept the hike going until Chata pod Rysmi, a small refuge built in 1933. There was our comfortable reward, a warm wood fire, a hot chocolate and a mars bar. After gaining back some strengths we put our coats back on and went outside again. The sunset was wonderful.
But we realize that the night was coming soon and we had to start hiking down or it would be too dangerous and too late.
We started rushing down the path, which wasn’t the safest option, before turning on our flashlights and finishing it in the complete darkness. This was also part of the adventure I guess, especially knowing that I’m afraid of the dark. It was crazy but we made it safe and sound and exhausted to the car, still in shock of what we’ve just lived.
Giewont – 1,895 m
The next day, we left Zakopane downtown and parked the car at the entrance of the hike to Giewont, a mountain massif in the Tatra Mountains of Poland.
The hike started easily on a large path in the woods followed by a light ascension in between the snow covered pines.
Then we walked along the cliff in the fog, not really able to see far ahead, which gave me a spooky feeling. I think we were a bit more prepared this time than the first.
After a few plateaus and some breaks, we started to ascend the last meters using metal chains and courage before finally standing next to the cross at the very top.
It was the best feeling ever, a mix of pride, amazement and fear. Suddenly the clouds started to clear the sky and I could truly appreciate the view and how high I was standing.
The way back was easier than I thought, almost because I felt lighter to have succeeded. We had a lot of time in front of us before the night fall and we took it.
Also, thanks to the cleared sky, we enjoyed a nice surprise: The view of the hike down! We were not expecting that.