We like to go to Tatra mountains at least twice per year. It doesn't matter if it's Polish or Slovakian part – all Tatra peaks are equally alluring to us! This year we decided to visit Tatras in October and we found ourselves in truly winter scenery.
We went to Zakopane – the most popular tourist resort in Polish mountains. As in the previous year, we stayed at Willa Bartek in Cyrhla neighbourhood. We very rarely stay in the same place twice but Willa Bartek's worth it The place's situated in quiet area close to hiking trails. Besides, it offers really good value for money – the rooms are nice and cozy, kitchen's well equipped and there's quick Wi-Fi, billiard, table football and sauna.
We did a really good hiking that weekend. On the first day we hiked to Zmarzły Staw (Frozen Lake) situated on 1766 metres. Actually, we wanted to get to Zawrat (2158 metres) but we did not have proper equipment with us – crampons were indispensable in that kind of weather and we only had ‘magic spikes’ which were definitely not enough to handle frozen rocky trail.
We started hiking from Toporowa Cyrhla (992 metres) along red trail leading to Psia Trawka (Dog’s Grass) on 1188 metres. It took us about 40 minutes and there was no snow yet.
Then, we walked along black trail to Murowaniec mountain hut (1500 metres). After a quick snack we headed towards Czarny Staw Gąsienicowy (Black Caterpillar Lake) following blue trail. The weather was not very favourable – the clouds were hanging low, there was lots of snow and wind was merciless.
At that point we were sure we would not make it to Zawrat. We decided to go as high as possible without risking our lives and just retreat if it got really dangerous.
When we got to Frozen Lake we decided it was time to get back. It is a pity that the visibility was so low because (I bet!) there are amazing views on 1766 metres in Tatra mountains... To comfort ourselves on our way back we had delicious tomato soup in Murowaniec
On the second day the weather was much more friendly to us – the sun was shining and there was actually not a single cloud on the sky!
At first we decided to hike to Kasprowy Wierch (1987 metres). But, while walking from Kuźnice, Bartosz came up with an excellent idea – let’s use cable car to get to the top and then have a brilliant walk on the ridge.
We actually never use chair lifts or cable cars when hiking but this time I was really happy we decided to do this – thanks to this cable car we were hiking among the peaks whole day! Amazing experience.
After pleasant ride to the top we set off along red trail towards Świnica (2301 metres). After about one hour of hike among the most beautiful views one can imagine we got to Świnicka Pass (2051 metres). Oh well, I knew Tatra mountains are popular tourist destination but what I saw there was bizarre – there was actually traffic jam on the trail!
It looked like those people would not make it to the top until Christmas so we decided to go back to Kasprowy Wierch and head towards Czerwone Wierchy. Czerwone Wierchy is 4-mountain massif with the highest peak Krzesanica reaching 2122 metres.
We had a hot chocolate in Kasprowy Wierch restaurant (prices there are as high as the mountain) and set off. We knew that we probably would not even be able to get to the first of Czerwone Wierchy mountain – Kondradzka Kopa (2005 metres). There was a lot of snow and the trail was quite demanding with many ascents. We got to Pass Under Kopa Kondracka (1863 metres) and began climbing down along green trail to Kondracka Alp hut (1333 metres).
It was too crowded to get in so we had a quick snack on the outside bench and hiked along blue trail to Kuźnice.
What is worth mentioning about Kasprowy Wierch is that it gets really crowded. If you plan to use the cable car and do not fancy standing in a loooong queue I would strongly recommend to come to the lower station as early as possible (timetable available here) or buy tickets online (which you can do here).
And you, have you ever hiked in winter? Did you like it?