Photo: Stormy spring sky over the Polish Tatra mountains, near Kasprovy Wierch, Poland. May 2014
My first trip to the Polish Tatra mountains was in the late autumn of 2011 when I was making was way south from Estonia, through Latvia and Lithuania, before an epic, 18 hour bus ride to visit my friend Jack in Jaroslaw, located in the south east corner of Poland, more of less closer to Ukraine than anything else. After a few days in the nearby Bieszczady mountains, we headed west to the high peaks of the Tatra.
Being November, we weren’t sure what to expect, but 2011 happened to be an unusually warm autumn in Europe and so we had snow free travel up to the hut at the Five Lakes Valley (Dolinie Pięciu Stawów) for our first night in the mountains. The next day we continued on towards Morskie Oko hut, thinking about hiking Poland’s highest mountain, Rysy, before deciding conditions weren’t too good.
While somewhat small compared to the Alps, the Tatra left an impression on me as a wild and rugged set of peaks with some stunning views from the high summits.
Returning to Poland this May, I made plans to meet with Jack in the mountains again. Staying in Chorzow, near Katowice, it took half a day on Polish busses to arrive in Zakopane, where we would spend Friday night before heading further into the mountains.
The weather forecast was so-so, actually rather poor. Arriving on Friday afternoon in Zakopane, the skies overhead were heavy and dark. Being lazy, and with a few hours of daylight left, we took the cable car to the summit of Kasprovy Wierch to at least get a few mountain photos.
The trip was also to do a bit of scouting for the next day’s hike, as one of the possibilities was to cross from Kasprovy Wierch over into FIve Lakes Valley and stay in the hut for the night. But from up high, it was evident that without winter gear, there was still too much snow up high for the journey to be possible. So it was back down to Zakopane for a pizza and some beers (and a Kebab on the way back to the guesthouse).
We made plans to head to Five Lakes Valley in the morning.
Photo: Spring in the Tatra mountains, Poland. May 2014
Photo: Snow covered Swinica, Tatra mountains, Poland. May 2014
Photo: Dark sky over the Slovakian side of the Tatra mountains, near Kasprovy Wierch, Poland. May 2014