February 2015 Snow Walking


MARCH 2015 – SNOW WALKING – LOCATIONS INCLUDED: DOLINA KOSCIELISKA, SMRECZYNSKI STAW, MORSKIE OKO, KALATOWKI AND KONDRATOWA
I was joined on this trip by Oliver Prentice and Phil Russell. My first group that I lead that was not family or friends. I have to admit I was so busy with last minute planning that I was too busy to be nervous about meeting new people and taking them around the Tatra Mountains. Once I actually them in Krakow it was like meeting with friends, the atmosphere between the 3 of us was exciting, interesting ans expectant. We made our acquaintance on the bus to Krakow and by the time we arrived in Zakopane we were talking freely and comfortably.
Whilst out on the snow we discussed many things but something that came up regularly was the review of our chosen footwear and slip on snow grips. In the end their Yaxtrax won out over my Mountain warehouse slip on studs.
Our first day out in the snow was along the Koscieliska valley. This was the first test for our snow grips in which the 2 guys yaxtrax excelled. There were plenty of people about and the atmosphere was very positive. The cold did not do anything to damper peoples spirits. Being just the first day out in the snow, it soon had us huffing and puffing. Getting to the hostel for some hot food was very desirable. The evening saw us in Czikago cafe where the food portions were HUGE and very tasty!
The second day was Morskie oko, that was my single most favourite destination for snow walking. It did not disappoint. The intention was to circumnavigate the lake, to our delighted surprise the lake was frozen solid and we trekked across it. The views were magnificent, frozen waterfalls, snowy overhangs, the majestic snow shrouded Tatra Mountains all around us. For me it was the highlight of the trip. We considered walking up to the next level lake but as we started up a thick fog started rolling in, I asked my companions what they wanted to do, they opted to head back to the hostel. Once there the fog came in thick and fast, for a moment I considered their decision a wise one. After 20 minutes however the fog lifted and shafts of sunlight taunted me by shining on the mountains close to where we were headed.
Day 3 and we headed out along a simple forested trail to Kondratowa via Kalatowki. This days trek had more of an arctic expedition feel as the weather was blustery and at times visibility was close to none. Oliver and Phil seemed to enjoy it as it made a change from the previous 2 days weather. By some mysterious force, as we were feeling like we had had enough of this weather, it stopped and the sun broke through to warm our bones. Many photos were made by all and a few of them can be seen below.
I would like to thank you Oliver and Phil for coming along in what was a very interesting trip.