Tucked up in the north of Slovakia are the lesser known Zapadne Tatry, the western Tatras, where people still live in quaint wooden houses. The western Tatras are less commercial then their taller neighbours, the Vysoky Tatry, which means less people on the trail.
We have some guests visiting from Canada and to show them a sample of Slovakia, we headed up north to hike Rohac (Rohach). The mountain is named similarly to the rohac beetle, a large beetle with two large pincers, as the mountain has two peaks.
The peak on the left is Ostry Rohac, with it’s two peaks. The peak on the right is Placliva, the crying one.
We started out together, first following a paved road up to a ‘chata’, a mountain hut that served warm meals and drinks. The path then easily climbs around the valley until it splits, one path continuing onto some lakes, the other path heading up to a saddle, over the peaks, along a ridge, and back down the the chata. The twins and I managed until the trail split, about 1500m (4920 ft), and the men went onto climb up to the peaks and along the ridge. I had originally thought the twins and I and one of our guests could continue onto the lakes, but my expectations were rather too high for two year olds.
Instead we ate blueberries and then headed slooooowly back down to the chata to throw rocks in the lake there. Usually when we go for walks the boy wants up right away while the girl runs ahead, but this time they switched. They started off both jumping off of every rock, gong back to jump one they missed, picking more berries, and making sure we stopped on the side of the trail to let other hikers by a good 5m before we needed to. About half way down, my girl decided she had had enough of this hiking gag and cried until she ended up falling and bonking her head on a rock, at which point I gave in and started carrying her. Thank goodness for babycarriers!
Even though my big boy walked most of the way, when I did carry him I felt like a Christmas tree with one child on my shoulders, one child in front, a backpack, and a camera. I certainly garnered quite a few stares!
It felt so so good to get out in the mountains, get above treeline, and breath the amazingly fresh air.
I found some pictures of when I hiked the top trail about seven years ago. The trail is sometimes a little sketchy for people who get nervous around heights, like me. There are parts where chains are attached to the rock and I remember thinking that if my hands slipped it was a long long long way down. To my climber husband it’s a highway, and while I can do it, I would not at all be comfortable with a child on my back. I don’t have any pictures of the chains because I was rather concentrating on using them.
This is from the saddle, and the trail goes all the way around, past the edge of the photo.
A part of the ridge shares the Polish border, as far into Poland as I’ve gotten. If you’re ever in Slovakia, I highly recommend hiking Rohac!