22 members from Peaks Mountaineering Club Clonmel decided to explore the Tatra this summer, so they set off for Zakopane, and on August 2 arrived at the bottom of the rocky mountains.
The name Tatra comes from the old Slavic world “Tritri”, which means “rocky”. They are the highest mountain in Carpats, lying on the Polish-Slovak border.
The region is known for crystal clear air, waters and salt-works and in the nineteenth century become a popular spa and therapy centre.
The South Tipp group went there for six days with the priority to spend as much time in mountains as possible. They walked for four days but covered only a fraction of the area.
The first two days were long and exhausting, with seven hours of walking, but it was worth it for the stunning beauty of valleys and lakes formed in sharp rocky slopes, spruce and stone pine forest, streams and waterfalls, sun and gentle breeze.
On the first day the group visited Dolina Pieciu Stawow (The Valley of Five Lakes). There are about 200 lakes in the Tatras. The trail led along the Great Waterfall, the largest in Tatra, through wet rocks to the Maly Staw (Small Pond). Here it joins the blue trail coming from Zawrat and heads to a hostel by Przedni Staw (Frontal Pond) and then to Morskie Oko.
They continued on the trail past Wielki Staw (Great Pond) then took a trail which leads between Czarny Staw (Black Pond) and Wielki Staw (Great Pond). Szpiglasowa Perc leads towards a long gully. After tackling it, with help of chains, we reach the Szpiglasowa Przelecz (Szpiglasowa Pass), just below Szpiglasowy Wierch. The yellow track brought us back to Morskie Oko.
The second day started at Morskie Oko, the largest and most popular lake in the Tatras. The translated name of this lake would be The Eye of the Sea. According to legend, Morskie Oko is connected with the Baltic sea by a secret underground stream. In the National Park traffic is banned, there are two alternatives for visitors: a two and a half hour walk on the road or horse drawn cart. We went for cart to save ourselves time and energy for climbing.
Rysy is the highest summit in Poland. The red route to Rysy starts near Morskie Oko and follows along a path around lake and up to Czarny Staw (Black Pond).
Some members of the party truly put themselves on the line and decided to test their character by climbing Rysy – the Queen of Polish Mountains. Almost everyone in the group managed to conquer the highest summit in Poland. Wasn’t easy and it was a really long walk, but how satisfied they were. For some of them it was the greatest achievement so far.
The next two days were easier. The group visited Giewont, the iconic mountain of Zakopane and Koscielisko valley the next day, both ended in the afternoon, giving everybody a chance to explore a town.
Giewont 1894m, in folklore it is associated with a legend about an oversleeping knight, who will awake when Poland is in danger.
The last walk was short and relaxing, no major climbing. Dolina Koscieliska (Koscieliska Valley) lies In the Western Part of the Tatra. The main entrance is through Kiry village. There have been about 800 caves discovered in this area, only a few of them are open to tourists. After making a loop they returned to the Pisana glade and continue on green trail to the hostel in Hala Ornak.