Have you ever dreamt of climbing mountains in the dead of the winter? With snowy peaks everywhere you look and peril at any moment? To experience the climb and the wild beauty of the mountains that you see in exotic places like Everest or Patagonia? I and my girlfriend did! We wanted to see the difference of exploring the mountains outside the safety of the summer weather! Thus I have convinced 2 of my friends to join us on this crazy adventure with little experience of hiking in the white silk covered mountains in Eastern Europe.
Were The Legends Start
We have arrived in Zakopane an Emerald Of Europe on Sunday evening on Christmas Day. Almost the whole ride of 700km had no snow and we were already losing hope of seeing it at all… But to our surprise in the last 50 km, there was an ever-increasing amount of snow. And in the distance flour-white peaks brooded over the land.
After sleeping the first night in a mountain hut we set off to Morskie Oko. Hoping to cross the pass to a large waterfall that we missed in summer.
However, the day was not kind to us for the hike to the waterfall. Once we arrived at the trail the storm was in full swing.
It had snarled and mewled with its deadly voice, sounding like a wailing specter. Its scavenging skies had compressed down upon the land, surveying it with a deadly malice. By reaching Morskie Oko we found out the trail became impassable and I looked like a snowman!
We were not sad that we couldn’t reach the waterfalls. Because the view that met us near the lakes was just like out of the movies. Were people walk out into the wilderness to a great adventure and come back with stories that become myths! All around me, the snow flashed and glittered like angel-fire. As our walk reached the first stop, I marveled at the might of nature. Its awe-inspiring majesty made my soul rejoice.
On the way back we have decided to go a little bit of trail. Going the same way is boring and uninteresting especially when my sleds exploded on the rocks when I tried to slide down the mountain.
The offroad we took was magnificent. Tall trees, snow up the knees, small huts in the middle of the forest resembling just like a story from Grim Brothers.
The next stop was the opened space hot springs in Bukowina Tatrzańska! It was glorious to stay in a hot open-air bath while snow is melting before reaching your face and definitely worth a visit after a long cold hike in the mountains.
The Coiling Dragon At The Peak Of The Mountain
On the second day, we have decided to storm a peak – Kasprowy Wierch 1 987 m. The weather got clearer and warmer thus in the middle of the hike we all stopped dressed down to our underwear in the middle of the winter, change to lighter clothes and continued to hike. The mountains upfront were vampire-white, sky-stabbing at the top. The legs of the mountains were very wide. The peaks of the mountains were like harpoon tips. They were shrouded in ghost-grey mist.
The hike was hard and demanding especially the higher we went the colder it got. The colder it got the slippery it was. The slippery it was the more dangerous the trip turned to be. Especially the last few hundred meters. It got narrower and extremely slippery we almost gave up the hike up.
However, with a little push, we finally reached the top. The only issue it was covered in such a large fog that it reminded me of the Dragon Smog from the Hobbit movies! It felt like there is a dragon coiled around the mountain breathing deeply and preventing passers to see the beauty of the valley!
The hike down was spent mostly sliding down the same way we came up. Beautiful and relaxed.
Nonetheless, there are plenty of trails left unexplored and some are accessible only in summer. But winter hiking and exploring is one thing that I am looking forward too!!
P.s. Pictures are all originals. If you would like to copy or use them you have to get a permission from the authors.
Did you encounter any coal emission/bad air pollution while you were in Zakopane? We’ve been reading about poor air quality there in the winter.
Interesting question. Truth be told when we were in Zakopane (we stayed away from the city) it was clear and beautiful air. Tho yes Poland has a problem with city Air Pollution. But none that I could see in the areas around Zakopane.
My friends are going there for New Year Hike. If interested I could ask them how is the situation right now.
When are you planning to visit there?