In the town of Trai Mat near Da Lat, Vietnam.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Da Lat, Vietnam.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Not sure yet!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Our first hike in Tatra National Park

It's a little difficult to plan a route because there are so many marked hiking trails in this park. We decided on a 16.8 km (10.5 mile) hike with an elevation gain of about 700 metres (2,300 feet).

This is a route that took us to three small lakes high up in the mountains, to a place called Rohacske Plesa.

You can see how many different trails are available!

But first, we had to take the local bus about 9 kms (5.5 miles) from the town of Zuberec to a little village called Zverovka. We left our place at about 9:00am, and paid €0.80 ($1.00) each for the one way bus ride.

The first part of the trail (the red line) was on a road that had been closed to traffic. It's probably only open during the ski season.

We are headed up there!

When we turned onto the blue part of the trail, it became much steeper. This trail was very rocky. It opened up onto a small picnic area, where we came across a strange site!

This woman is wearing a different hiking outfit! And she was hiking...up the same trail we were. Never checked to see if she had hiking boots on!

Some pretty wildflowers along the way.

Kevin, on a steep part of the trail.

Tried another video...this one is 39 seconds long... Youtube video of our hike.

These funny looking goats were way high up in the distance.

This is about the half way point. There are three small lakes up here. There is another trail that leads along the top ridge of the mountain in the background. We'd like to do that one before we leave here!

Ruth, taking a break.

We are headed for this part of our route!


You can see the trail we came down through the valley.

More pretty wildflowers.

Back at the top of another ridge. We were headed in the opposite direction, but this is a trail we would like to do another day.

This was actually a lot steeper slope than it looks. The right side was a long way down!

Back where we came from.

And then there was a gradual paved yellow trail that led us back to the bus stop. We did 16.8 kms (10.5 miles) in six hours. Didn't stop very often, so it was a good workout.

We got back to the flat, and the landlady came and knocked on our door. Keep in mind that she speaks no English, and we don't speak enough Slovak to be of any use either! Turns out she needed our passports for the invoicing. No problem, she disappeared for a while and then came back with a bottle of something. She grabs a couple of glasses off the shelf and talking away in Slovak, prepares us each a drink.

One thing we noticed on our hike today is that there are a lot of wild blueberries. I tried some and found them not sweet enough for my liking, but Ruth thought they were okay. Well it turns out that they are used to make a popular homemade type of blueberry liqueur, and that's what this lady poured us. And there were still blueberries in it. Enough that you had to eat them with a spoon! And these blueberries tasted like they were full of rocket fuel! Heavy duty stuff! Obviously some kind of Slovak specialty.

Kevin, eating some really wild blueberries!

And so we had another great day. Not sure what's on the agenda for today, but it's tough to do two long hikes back to back, so I think we'll just linger around the village today.

On another note, I see we have surpassed the 200 mark for the number of people who "like" us on facebook. Well, we like you too! We do occasionally post other items and pictures that you may not see here, so consider "liking" us yourself!


  1. Up early and can't wait to read your blog to see what's happening - great header photo again - love, love, love the scenery on your hikes - ya gotta watch those loaded fruit drinks!

    1. You make us laugh Connie, when you say that you can't wait to read our blog! It's people like you that make us want to write and show you our pictures, it gives us so much pleasure to know that people are that interested in what we do. Thank you so much for your interest.

  2. Got a chuckle about the blueberry wine. Your video is very very good. Not to mention the model you had on the trail with you!

    Maybe I missed them, but I haven't seen any pics of the public trans you guys are taking on this trip. Have fun!

  3. Hi
    I subscribed to the email. All that will do is send me an email when you've posted a new entry....
    How did "Connie, Barry" (see above) subscribe so his name shows up when he posts comments??? grrrrr friggin puters,,,

  4. Hi Mark. I think you need to have a google (gmail) account. Or, you could just click the drop down box and hit Name/URL and insert your name. Just leave the URL part blank.

  5. Yes, we have a Google (G-mail) account. I signed up several years ago when I started reading blogs and wanted to leave comments. We don't have a blog but I enjoy reading about other's travels.

  6. Hello, love your travel journal! Those funny looking goats are called chamois, very skillful jumpers! Have fun in the area!

    1. Thank you for letting us know what type of mountain goats these were. We were quite happy to be able to see them on our hike.

  7. The woman in the different "Hiking outfit" is a nun. She might belong to an order which takes care of children.

    1. Thank you for your comment Renate. We were aware that she was a nun, our comment about the "hiking outfit" was just our funny sense of humor. We were just very surprised to have seen her on a hike like that. It's not a sight you would normally see in Canada or the USA. I was very impressed to see that she was out hiking and she did have some girls hiking with her. Kudos to her!

  8. What incredible views on your hike. Looked fairly gruelling on some sections. I would be a little nervous in the rocks, (how I ended up breaking an ankle a few years back), I guess seasoned hikers like yourselves wouldn't mind.
    I'm curious as to how far in advance you are planning all your stops, at which towns you want to travel to, what attractions you want to take in. Are you just winging it for the most part, checking things out a few days prior or did you know pretty much before you left Canada what you wanted to do? I always find that part exhausting. I would imagine you aren't packing any "Lonely Planet" guides or the sort being you are packing light so I guess it's all computer research. I think I took at least 10lbs. of books to France with us.

    1. There were some incredible view for sure. I am more nervous going down than Kevin and I do tend to take my time. Sometimes those loose stones get under your shoe and make you slide, so I am quite cautious and just take my time going down.

      Once we know our arrival destination, Kevin will start work on our route and the time needed to make our way to our end destination. We only use this as a guide. This trip we had planned to go into Poland but as we traveling through the Czech Republic we knew that we wanted more time there so decided to cancel on the Poland part as we didn't want to just sail through it. We will plan on going there some other time when we can plan more time and see it properly. Once we get going he tries to plan ahead for our next one or two destinations, but sometimes we just wing it as we come across too many wonderful places and then decide to spend an extra day or two there. As for sites along the way we pretty much use the information from the internet as well as ideas from our couchsurfers as they live in the area and have knowledge of what is out there that is interesting and worthwhile. Hope that helps answer your question.


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