After a snowy day I woke up to bright blue skies, the sun piercing through my window on the top floor of the old mansion was staying at. I walked down the big wooden staircase again, past the animal heads and antlers on the walls. On my way out the hotel owner asked where I was going. I hoped to hike to two lakes: Biele and Zelene Pleso. He wished me a good day and got back into the reception area.
First I walked through the park towards the incredibly good-looking Grand Hotel Praha. Behind it the trail goes past the Sorea hotel and then slowly up the mountain. At the bottom the autumn colors were still mixed in with some bright green. I crossed a little bridge covered in yellow and orange leaves. It was the most idyllic and serene place. As soon as I walked uphill it changed into a wide track, suitable for cars. The quite boring road went all the way up to the chalet at Zelene Pleso, but I didn’t follow it that far. At a crossroads I decided to continue to Vel’ké Biele Pleso first.
For a while I followed the river and at times I got incredible views, when there was a clearing in the pine trees that provided glimpses of the mountains I was heading into. But unfortunately the clouds were coming back, grey and dreary, blocking my views. The higher I got, the more snow I saw. It started with a slippery stone path through the trees. In between the rocks the snow made patterns like cement, as if it was holding the stones together. An old man came towards me, hiking poles tick-tacking in a calming rhythm. He was one of the very few people I saw on this trail.
The trail got narrower and the snow deeper as I gained elevation. In some places I was creating the first footsteps in the snow. I crossed small wooden bridges and had to walk over rocky paths, trying not to slip. I was starting to think if it was really a good idea to follow this path, especially since nobody else seemed to be out there. But I kept going as long as the path was clear. Eventually the trees became bushes and underneath the thick layer of clouds I saw the mountains again. I was getting close to the first lake!
As I came out of my lonely trail, a couple came out of a different trail and we both stood at the direction marker at Biele Pleso. They asked if they should try my trail, but since they also didn’t have poles I advised them not to. Sliding while going up is one thing, but I wouldn’t have enjoyed going down there. I stayed at the lake for a while, dumped my bag on the picnic bench and strolled while taking photos and eating a sandwich. The marker pointed to many directions. You could continue to walk into the Northern parts of the Tatras, but I went south again, towards the hut at the other lake. The small path was quite slippery here, because more people had compacted the snow. The only harder part was the small water crossing, where I needed to hop over the snow covered rocks.
At the chalet I decided to walk around the lake first, taking some photos of the photogenic building. It was in the perfect spot, on a little hill at the side of the lake, surrounded by high mountains. A beautiful orange fox was hanging around the hut. It stood out against the white of the snow. Inside the hut I was lucky to find a free table. It was busy! Many people hiked up the wide road to have lunch at the hut before they went back down. I ordered half a liter of tea and it was the best tea of the trip. It’s made from herbs that grow in the Tatra mountains and it was exactly what I needed to warm up. Accompanied by a poppy seed strudel I felt like I was totally doing the local thing.
After my break in the hut only the way down was waiting for me. I wasn’t really looking forward to following the wide road all the way down, also because it was hard to descend quickly as long as there was snow. So at some point I took a right turn and went up and up on the side of the mountain. I was on a smaller trail again and nobody was there. At first it was a nice walk through the forest, but I was walking around to the front side of the mountain and when I arrived I noticed I had quite far to go. In front of me a long straight road appeared. It offered quite a nice view over the forest below, but that was about it. I saw the same view for the rest of the walk, without any other interesting sights. It wasn’t particularly exciting!
Since there was no more snow I picked up the pace and walked towards one of the cable car stations. In the high season you can pick up a mountain cart and race down the asphalt from here. Unfortunately they were only operating on weekends now. Man, I would have loved to fly down the hill in a cart! Instead I tried to focus on the fact I was nearly there, as I zigzagged down the mountain roads.
The visit to the hut is totally worth it, but the very start and finish of the walk were pretty uninteresting. Yet when I was back in Tatranská Lomnica I felt content. The mountains did me well and now I could enjoy a well deserved break.
Distance: 23,3 km
Highest Point: 1,660 m
Lowest Point: 870 m