Slovakia: The Breath-Taking Lakes in High Tatras
January 1, 1970
Who Doesn’t Like Surprises?
I’ve decided to share this experience with you as soon as possible, till I feel the pleasure pain in my legs.
So what you should know about me in advance; I’m not a typical mountain girl but I truly love my fiancé, who is a big lover of hiking, trekking, everything which goes more vertical then horizontal. I wanted to surprise him with a trip on his birthday and I found this High Tatra hiking experience, going, and backing on the same day. The Tatras are the highest mountain range within the Carpathians with peaks all around, over 2500 meter above sea level. They are making a natural border between Slovakia & Poland.
Benefits Of An Organized Trip
I paid for an organized tour, this way you don’t need to drive and even can rest on the Bus after the exhausting day in Slovakia, as it takes 5 hours to get back to Budapest, where we are living currently. (Here I should mention that I’m Hungarian and my fiancé is Brazilian and both of us love travelling around the word) Don’t be worried about the length of the travel, you can just seat back, relax and enjoy the stories shared by your guides around history and geography. Our group was very diverse in nationality and age what made the trip more fun.
The Climate of the Tatras
My first advise: In case you are going with an organized group, take seriously the instructions about the equipment & clothing. As we were going up +850 meters (starting on 1200m), the temperature dropped and the weather is tricky in the high mountains -> means if the forecast says you have probability of rain, you don’t need to waste time hoping that it won’t happen. Yes, it’s going to happen and the road will be transformed to a river, but I won’t run so much ahead in the story now. So, use hiking boots/shoes, cloths what dries easily and bring extra socks and shoes for backing. And the most important, take a raincoat with you. Thankfully I had all of those yesterday, but some of our group members weren’t prepared enough and came with jeans and snookers, even using leather backpack.
Food Options Around
The second most important part is to take enough water and food with you as there is no bar / restaurant over the Poprad Lake. You will be hungry, I can promise. Regarding the trip, my suggestion is to leave the car (in case you go by yourself) in the parking close to Csorba-lake (Štrbské pleso). Here you can find multiple restaurants and toilet options (toilets are payable in cash, ~0.50 EUR). In Slovakia the official currency is Euro, bring some with you as the terminals are not always working and there is no ATM around.We didn’t sop to check around here, the aim was to go up to have our sandwich lunch close to the picks and rest at the lakes coming down. From this point you start your walk heading to the direction of the second Lake, The Poprad Lake (Popradské pleso).
Choose Your Walking Path
Due to mass tourism in Slovakian Tatras, there is now a built road between the 2 lakes, but taking this you will lose the fantastic panorama. In case you would like to take beautiful pictures, look for the harder way and take the red path. We had a solid rhythm, our group leaders were almost running up to the mountain to be able to make the turn as it was written in the schedule. I can tell you that the first 200 meters pushed my pulls up as I was on a tabata style warm-up workout, but after I got the rhythm it became comfortable walking for 1,5 hours, till the Poprad Lake. During this time, we made around 150-200m high what meant the massive part is still ahead of us. As our group leader asked: “Are you ready to climb a 10-floor high building 25 times?” Well, 5 people from the team weren’t and they decided to stay and look around the Poprad Lake.
The Amazing “Frog-Lakes”
From here we followed the blue sign, the road was rocky and the roots of the pines made a nice pattern on the ground. Is not easy to admire the beauty and the forest and not to fell over your face. We were crossing a spring several times and our instructor was entertaining us with the legends of the surrounding mountains. Did you know that back in time people went to the Tatras to find the Gold of the Devil? Well bad news, I can ensure you that there is no gold anymore. After 20 minutes walking, we get to a cross where taking again the red road we kept walking up to the, Nižné Bielovodské Žabie plesos, translating from Hungarian -> to the Frog Lakes. At this point I was already higher than the trees, the nature started to change around us. About the feeling of climbing and rhythm, I felt like on a step aerobics training where someone is constantly changing the size of the stairs under my feet. After 2 hours of constant climbing finally we got to the level where were no more trees around us, only the greenish rocks and the amazingly clear lakes. Certainly, this is the perfect place to take your sandwiches and have a pleasant lunch being hypnotized by the panorama. In case you have time and courage, you can keep walking to reach the peak, but for us this was the top. Unfortunately, we had only 30 minutes there to get down in time and fit into the driver schedule, but it was just a perfect timing.
When The Clouds Are Coming
Do you remember when I mentioned the proper equipment? This was the point when we really needed it. As soon as we started to walk down, a big rain hit the mountain. In 30 seconds, we were in a cloud with limited visibility and massive rain shower. I was so happy to have my raincoat and I admit, I got a bit scared for some seconds as I have never experienced this heavy rain in high-mountains before. Everyone started to go down on the tiny road what just got transformed to a spring. After 2 minutes, I could only lough at the situation, we looked like people after having a shower fully dressed-up. The group got spread on the road and we saw each other again reaching the Poprad Lake. People wearing jeans weren’t so happy anymore, we all know how “quickly” it dries. Same happiness level applies for people without raincoat. And what was the strangest? Well I saw a guy having a random bath in a spring (doesn’t matter, he was already wet anyways) and there was another person who was coming down with an umbrella. I was just hoping that he can balance on the rocks without hurting himself or others.
Saying Good Bye
From the Poprad Lake we went back to the bus on the same road saying goodbye to these beauties, the forest, the lakes, and the peaks. During the last 500 meters, I started to feel the pain in my legs and getting tired but I was just smiling. It was an amazingly good feeling. As soon as we got into the bus a big cloud / fog came and there was no mountain anymore. In that moment, we started to descend on the way back to our Budapest. I hope to see these Tatras again what was back in time part of Hungary, part of my home.