You have probably noticed that in Asia people wished each other “Happy New Year” this week. The reason was simple, the new year of the dog has just started. Do you know what is your animal in the Chinese Zodiac?
Dog is a loyal friend, but it needs a lot of attention. Mainly you should take it out often. No better way to do so, then to go for some nice hike. My tip for your spring hikes for you, my dear friends, is Poland. Polish High Tatras to be precise.
Morskie oko is the largest lake in the whole range of High Tatras. Its name in English would be "the eye of the sea". The name was chosen probably because of the beautiful blue colour. It is very popular due to its great accessibility. There are many ways how to get to the parking lot at the bottom of the hills. You can come by bus from Polish or Slovak towns or use your own car. Beware, the parking lot is very full unless you come very early in the morning. You will have more luck on the Slovak side of the border.
In the beginning of the trip you have two options. If the Oko is your main goal then you can walk from the parking lot upwards using asphalt roads and several forest paths. Be prepared to meet quite a few horse carts on the way during the several hours time. If your main goal lies above the Oko, then try go for the horse carts instead. They are not the cheapest ones, but you will get to the top in half the time and full of energy. It is a bit windy on the way, though, so take some warm clothes.
Once you get close to the lake, there are several places offering food. Do not expect much of understanding of English and internet is also not really accessible so download some useful Polish phrases in advance. Schnitzel and french fries are the safest option.
From Morskie Oko you have several options for a hike, but the one I suggest goes towards Rysy. Using this road you can cross the mountains and get to the Slovak side. If that is too challenging, Czarny Staw is your perfect final destination. You can get there using either right or left fork of the trail leading from the cottage at the beginning of Morskie Oko. I suggest to start there going the left fork and returning using the rights fork as that one contains an amazing waterfall which will add some more spice to the end of your trip.
There will be much less people here compared to what you have seen in the trip towards Morskie Oko and the further you go the less people will be on the road. I love the stark contrast of colours between the two lakes, which makes your photos more colourful as well. My advice to you, try to go at least halfway towards the peak of Rysy, because you will get some beautiful views of both lakes at the same time from there. You can see an example of this on the picture at the top.
Once you will be on your way back, don´t forget to stop by that waterfall I mentioned above, it is really powerful. One of the things I liked the most on the trip here were the stone paths along the way. They had very nice shapes which were still natural, but very pleasing to the eye and to the camera. On the way back you can go for the horse cart again. Good thing - it is cheaper than on the way up!
Enjoy the trip and let me know how you liked it!