American in the Low Tatras – Slovakia Day 36

Are you ready for an adventure that I could hardly believe happened myself? Well then you are in luck because today I am going to tell you the fantastic tale of how I found my way to one of the highest peaks in Slovakia, without even knowing about it an hour before.

You can check out my previous post here, this post explains where I was. I woke up at an awful hour, to the sound of people packing their things. I had known that we would be hiking before hand, but I had no idea the lengths we would be going to. I was under the impression that we might be going through a nice forest for an hour or so and having a nice picnic at the end. No, not even close.

When we got to the parking lot where we were starting, I was wearing a total of 3 layers: A windbreaker, a sweatshirt, and a t-shirt underneath. Just standing outside was freezing me to bits, with the weather being just over 3 degrees Celsius. Once everyone had arrived at the meeting point, we took som pictures and head off to the trail. The first thing I noticed, was the incline. We were not going accross some nice little path, but rather we were going up a 35% grade incline with the trail being full of rocks a boulders. About half an hour in, I started to really sweat. There goes 1 layer, two more to go.

During our first break, I started to learn the extent of our trip today. It was an estimated 5 hours just to our final destination, and that doesn’t even count the time going back down the mountain. That’s right, you heard me: mountain. Our hike would be covering the Low Tatras, which is a mountain range in central Slovakia. This mountain range is in viewing distance of the famous Hight Tatras, which is only separated by the Vah River.

Once we had finished our first break, it was time to push on to our somewhat mid point goal. This was probably the hardest part of our journey, although it certainly was not the longest. On the way up to our next stop, there was a small pile of logs, with a small sign next to it reading: “If you carry a log to the outpost you will get a free beer”. I don’t think that there is a better way to describe Slovakia.

On the way up the mountain, I began to sweat even more. Off came my sweatshirt and I was down to just a t-shirt in nearly freezing weather. I was told this probably was not a good idea, but I was dying so I needed it.

Once we had gotten to the outpost, I really had time to take in the view. It was absolutely stunning, being able to see for miles. Me and my found friend Martin had arrived about 20 minutes before anyone else in our group, so we had some time to just sit down and talk about the most random things.

The outpost, or Chata Milana Rastislava Štefánika, was originally laid in 1924, absolutely amazed me. The outpost is set at 1740m, which is an astonishing distance. There had been some obvious modernization of the building since 1924, but I cannot understand how they would get the materials up the mountain. It is too steep and slippery for a horse, a mule maybe?Either way, it was a nice reprieve from the blisteringly cold weather outside.

Cabbage soup and herbal tea

Once we had gotten inside, the rest of our group slowly started to find their way in. Martina and I must be speed demons because it was quite a while before the entirety of our group made it up the mountain. Once everyone had made it inside, we ordered food and drinks. I ordered some herbal tea (no idea what kind, it literally said herbal tea), and some cabbage soup. Our order was out in a surprisingly quick amount of time, and good thing too because once I had that it warmed me up very nicely.

(R->L) Myself, Ashley, & Nicole

Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on who you asked, it was time to depart again for our next destination. The trail was much longer than the first section, however the incline was much more subtle so I went back to some warmer clothing. After we left the outpost, I must admit I was fairly confused on where we could be going. As far as I was concerned, we were on our way back to our cars. Fortunately, that was not the case and I was able to see something absolutely spectacular.

I though this picture would be much cooler when I asked Ashley to take it, but you can barely see me up there on the mountain top
Shout out to Chata Milana Rastislava Štefánika because I got an awesome new hat

Once we had gotten to the peak, I knew instantly that this view triumphed the last tenfold. From the peak, we were able to see the High Tatras, which was amazing in and of itself. We were able to see what I was told was the very border of Poland, which was really interesting.

We were at the highest peak in the Low Tatras, known as Ďumbier, which reigned in at a heft 2042m. From here, it was only downhill. Well, until it was uphill again.

Our next, and final destination, was the ski lifts. Unfortunately, it isn’t quite the time of year for skiing, so we just had to ride the cable cars down. I felt like I was cheating a little bit, not walking the rest of the way down, but in all honesty, I was tired after the amount of distance we covered.

That was my fantastic trip to the Low Tatras, I hope you enjoyed it because I know I sure did. In total, we did somewhere between 17-25km, although I am not sure the exact number as no one knew. Every measurement on every sign was in hours. I am going to have to guess the altitude gain, but it was somewhere in the ballpark of 800-1500m. Of course, I started today thinking I would be frolicking through meadows and be home by noon, but in reality we started our hike at 8:30 and did not finish until after 4PM. Anyway, I am fairly tired, so here is today’s word of the day:

trampové – hike

Pronounced as trampoveh in English

All of these pictures were taken on a Sony A6000, and they are all stock photos, not edited in any way. If you are looking for a great lightweight camera that takes fantastic pictures, I would definitively recommend this setup here. It works great for travel, and fits into just about any bag. Check it out:
Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 16-50mm Power Zoom Lens





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