September 11, 2008
(18.61 km; 8 hrs 19 min; 957m ascent; 1036m descent)
We were up at the usual time for our 7 am breakfast this morning. We had adopted the technique of folding a pillow in half and holding it against the ear to muffle the sound of snoring, and that worked fairly well. Breakfast this morning was bread and cheese instead of bread and meat, which didn’t go over well with Rosemary. We had a lot of leftover cheese.
We packed up and went outside. One of Paul’s walking poles, which had been half working yesterday, was not working at all today. Neither of the two extending pieces would lock into place. So he took it inside and put it in a garbage bin.
Yesterday we had decided to take the low route over Mala Svišťovka instead of the high route over Veľka Svišťovka. So we headed down the yellow trail, following it downhill for about an hour. Then we turned uphill onto the green trail which joined the blue trail which would take us back to Skalnaté pleso. The grade of these trails was really good, and we made good time, arriving at Skalnaté pleso in less than three hours. Today it was cloudier than yesterday, the top of Lomnický štít was in thick cloud, and the cable car appeared to be not operating.
Tonight we were booked into Zbojnicka Chata. But when we had planned our stops, we hadn’t read the trail descriptions very well and hadn’t realized that our plan for tomorrow, continuing on from Zbojnicka Chata, would pass some chained sections and exposed areas which were not recommended in that direction. The alternative would require backtracking for over two hours, making tomorrow’s walk too long. So Rosemary suggested we should stop at Zamkovského Chata instead. It was just off the red trail, so that would make tomorrow much easier.
That was only about an hour farther on. When we got there they did have two beds available, and they called Zbojnicka Chata for us and cancelled our reservations. This worked out perfectly, because it meant we could walk up to Téryho Chata as an afternoon trip. So we paid the bill, and that didn’t leave us with much Slovakian money because we had seriously underestimated the cost for two nights plus food at Zelené pleso.
But we did have some cash, so we had lunch there. Rosemary had lentil soup and Paul had garlic soup. Both were really good. There was a rain shower, but it didn’t last long, so we put on our day packs and headed up the trail. It followed the river up by a stony path, which was well graded and not very steep. The valley was quite narrow, with tall mountains on either side. Then we crossed a moraine into a flat stony area, where the creek ran underground. Near the head of the valley we started climbing, but still the going was good. We passed below a braided waterfall which was coming down from the hanging valley above.
We met what appeared to be a school group, of several dozen young people, coming down the trail, so we waited until they all went by. Finally we arrived at Téryho, which sat at the edge of the cliff looking down the valley. We went upstairs to the restaurant and ordered tea. Not the “Tatranská” kind, which had 52% alcohol content, but the regular kind with lemon and sugar. While we were drinking it, the clouds came down and obliterated the view. Good thing we had taken pictures beforehand!
The trip back to Zamkovského went by quickly, and when we went up to our room, we found we had two roommates, a British couple. We said hello, then they went outside while we had our showers. That felt really good, even though today had not been particularly difficult. Then we went down to the restaurant. The British couple was there too, so we sat with them for dinner. Their names were Chris and Clare; they had just arrived and were going to be hiking for two or three days. Dinner tonight was the garlic soup followed by goulash with sauerkraut.
After dinner we chatted a bit more. Chris and Clare went upstairs, and we stayed downstairs and wrote our journals. People were coming in with wet jackets, so clearly it was raining outside. We hoped tomorrow would be better.