September 10, 2008
(14.72 km; 6 hrs 48 min; 764m ascent; 780m descent)
What a night to try and sleep! The large man in the upper bunk snored constantly, sounding like a jet engine. It was almost impossible to block out the noise. Sleep or no, breakfast was scheduled for 7 am, so we hustled down in case we missed it. But it was already laid out for us: sliced meat and rye bread with two slices of tomato and cucumber. We also had some apricot jam, so all in all it was a very filling meal.
We were staying at Zelené pleso again tonight, so we only took day packs for our walk. We were in no hurry to hit the trail, so we slowly organized ourselves, then set out on the red trail to Skalnaté pleso (Rocky Lake). The trail went along the base of the mountain for a bit, under blue skies, although the sun was hidden by the mountain. But soon it started to climb steadily up the side of the valley, affording spectacular views of Zelené pleso and the surrounding peaks. This would be our route tomorrow, if it seemed like a good trail for carrying large packs.
The trail followed the series of zigzags which we had seen across the valley yesterday. In general it was a good trail, but there was one small section of chains. They were hardly necessary today, but they would be more awkward when carrying a large pack. We thought we were almost at the saddle, but the trail kept going up and up. Finally after 90 minutes we reached the pass, Sedlo pod Svišťovkou.
From here we took the short side trip to the top of Veľká Svišťovka (Big Marmot Cub), over 600 metres above the valley floor. We stayed there for about 10 minutes enjoying the views. We also took a photograph of our mascot, because the peak was named for him.
Retracing our steps, we continued along the red trail, this time heading slightly downhill and then along a contour line for a while. The footing wasn’t the greatest, as the trail often consisted of large rocks and boulders so we were continually watching where we were stepping. After about an hour we started to meet people coming towards us, so we knew we were approaching the gondola station at Skalnaté pleso. Also here was an observatory which had been built in 1943 and was credited with numerous comet discoveries over the years.
The lake itself was not particularly pretty, as the water level was very low. The area was booming with tourists who had taken the cable car up from Tatranská Lomnica. We heard people speaking German, which was a first for us. We considered taking the cable car up to the top of Lomnický štit, but the mountain was in the clouds and we couldn’t justify paying 600 SK each for that. Instead we walked the two minutes down the trail to have lunch at Skalnatá Chata. Rosemary had the bean soup and Paul had cabbage soup.
On the way back we followed the low-level blue trail which angled down the contours to a saddle (Sedlo pod Malou Svišťovkou) and then continued down through the woods to the yellow trail. This took us back up the hill to Zelené pleso, where we arrived about 3 pm. Both of us agreed that we would probably use this route tomorrow, because it was not nearly as steep. We had showers and washed out some clothes, then went to sit in the restaurant. Dinner was at 6 pm again; tonight we had tomato soup with rice followed by rice and roast beef with gravy.