The Perfect Hike

October 7, 2005

With an extended trip like this you can't visit each country at its optimal time, however we timed it perfectly for Slovakia. At least today was a perfect day for hiking in Slovakia. Not too hot, not too cold, just a warm sunny autumn day in the Mala Fatra Mountains. Our day began by walking an hour from Techova to Stefanova. Our walk was along the road cutting through the valley of two mountains. Stefonova itself is less than a one horse town. It contains a few hotels, a couple pensions and one restaurant. The trail for the hike began just outside of town. There was no easying into the trail as we began. Immediately we started a steep accent which continued for 2 1/2 hours. Here are a couple shots from the first leg of our hike.

We made it to the top of our first peak Medzihole were we took a short break to enjoy a tasty Snickers bar and drink some water. This was only a five minute break as we did not want the group of eight people behind us to catch up. Nothing like being out on a nice hike and walking along with a big group of people to ruin it. I did have enough to time to take a couple photos though on our break.

Our next destination was Velky Rozsutec which we found out later that Velky means big in Slovak. This began with a gradual accent to begin with, but turned out to be an outright steep climb that including some bouldering. The bouldering areas had chains bolted to the rocks for safety. Look closely and you can see the chains next to me.

We ran into a few people just before we summitted the peak, but once we got to the top there were at least 20 people at the top including at least 8 men and women in their sixties. We found out the Slovaks love the outdoors and their hiking. At the top we stopped for another break, I stripped off my sweaty shirt and put on a new dry one. On our break we also recharged ourselves with an apple and few pretzels. We also had to pose for a few summit photos.

At the top a couple asked us to take their photo for them and we ended up chatting with them for a while. The told us that Velky means big and our maly means small which made sense since our next destination was Maly Rozsutec below the peak we were standing on. Here is a photo of our decent off of Velky Rozsutec to the valley between Velky Rozsutec and Maly Rozsutec.

At the valley between the two peaks we decided not to summit Maly Rozsutec, but instead to take a longer trail down which is suppose to have ladders, bridges and several waterfalls. It most definitely had some ladders and bridges and they were used throughout the trail over the waterfalls. Most of the entire trail was following this stream down the mountain. It was a little nerve racking going down some of these ladders since they were wet from the stream, but overall really cool.

Another thing that made this hike so special was the fact that the trees were really starting to change colors. The colors were powerful and bold oranges and yellows. The photos don't do it justice, but trust me it was so sweet weaving down this trail in this forest of bold colors.

At the bottom of the trail we had a short 3 km walk back to town along a busy road. The entire hike took about 7 hours and is one of the highlights from our trip. We almost didn't come to Slovakia, but after reading about the great hiking here we decided we should give it a try. And, we are so glad we did.

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