Along the Trail of the Slovak National Uprising Heroes – Part 2: Chopok - Poľana - Skalka and herds of chamois

A young photographer Eliška decided to follow the traces of the Slovak National Uprising (SNP) heroes. She decided to choose a less known trail, from Mt Chopk towards west, leading to the top of Skalka. Come and see what she experienced, how she felt about the tour, and look through her photos.

Preparation for the tour

Eliška has already made several dozen tours and the mountains are definitely not unknown to her. She often sets out to mountain peaks to relax, look for inspiration, and take photos of the beautiful Slovak nature. As she says, the most important thing for having a good tour is preparation. She always plans the route carefully, looks at the weather and prepares things accordingly.

The nature is beautiful as well as betrayal and therefore following things are essential part of Eliška´s pack:

  • Spare clothes
  • Waterproof jacket
  • High-quality mountain footwear
  • At least one warm layer of clothing
  • Food (if there are no facilities around)
  • Sufficient water
  • Comfortable rucksack
  • Sunscreen (mountain sun is strong enough)  
  • Sun glasses

How to get the most out of a day

It´s not so easy to find the right place to take a nice photo. That's what Eliška knows, so she wants to get the most out of a day. She decided to save time and buy a return ticket to Mt Chopok. From there she´ll take a trail along the ridge, so it saves a great deal of effort and at least 2-3 hours to rather use them for taking pictures and relaxing in nature.

Fortunately, Eliška is already a member of the GOPASS programme and therefore she can buy a ticket when she´s at home and even €2 cheaper. It's just a pity she decided to take the tour today and not a little bit sooner. If she had bought a ticket at least 3 days in advance, she would have saved €2 more. She would have saved up to €4.

The resort welcomes her with an ideal weather

Eliška would like to set out to her adventurous shooting as soon as possible. So she is visiting the Jasná resort´s website to find out opening times of cable cars in summer. She is learning that cable cars operate from 8:30 to 18:00 in 30 minute intervals and the following day she is waiting impatiently in front of the orange four-seater cable car at Záhradky holding her GOPASS card.   

The Trail of the Slovak National Uprising Heroes (Cesta hrdinov SNP), stone midgets and trail colours

It is not difficult for her to find the Trail of the Slovak National Uprising Heroes leading from Mt Chopok towards west. She´s walking to the southern side beneath the Restaurant Rotunda where a well-recognizable red marked rocky trail can be seen. In the background she can admire the peak of Dereše and a beautiful view of the basin of Liptovská Kotlina. 

She´s walking along the well-maintained rocky trail and recalls the story of her acquaintance about the times when they used to help develop the trails. As a soldier, he carried out the hardest work under the direction of the mountain rescue service. Students made a bit easier work. All trails were made manually, without the use of dynamite, only by means of pulleys and supports. Sometimes, it took several days to remove big and hard rocks. But it was a good paid job, and he remembered with a smile that the food was also very good. Eliška wasn´t surprised at all, it looks like a physically demanding work that many people do not even know about.

The red mark is leading Eliška behind the main peak of Dereše towards the saddleback of Poľana. On her way she´s passing by interesting rocky structures, so called stone midgets. Nowadays, in most countries, they are only photogenic relics, but sometimes such structures were used to mark mountain roads. In Slovakia, these signs have long been replaced by modern colourful tourist signs well-known by everybody.

Did you know that there are more than 15.000 kilometres of marked trails in Slovakia? Eliška haven´t known. She found the information at home while googling. On the other hand she knew which colour indicated the specific kind of trail.  Do you know it too?

Red – This colour identifies the most important, longest and physically most demanding trails, such as ridges and other trails of extraordinary importance. The same is also the Trail of the Slovak National Uprising Heroes which she´s is just walking along and which is the longest mountain trail in Slovakia.

Blue – This colour identifies medium-long trails, often in valleys and side ridges.

Green – Local and shorter trails.

Yellow – This colour identifies connections, shortcuts and short sections. 

Saddleback Poľana and a nice surprise at Poľana

The trail is slowly becoming rockier and Eliška is passing through the saddleback Poľana to Poľana, where she takes a short break.

She is very surprised about the herd of chamois grazing several metres away. They are endemic subspecies of chamois - rupicapra rupicapra tatrica – which occur only on the territory of the Low and High Tatras. They do not really care about people, so Eliška has a great opportunity to take some photos of these protected animals. She does not know yet that the chamois will accompany her along the ridge from Poľana to Kotliská.

There are big green woodlands of the valley of Vajskovská Dolina spreading behind the chamois. The trail reminds Eliška the scenes as if they were from a fairy tale and she noticed that most people have finished their tour at Poľana. Therefore, it is also suitable for children and less physically fit people. They can go just as long as they want to and come back at any time.

These are the moments Eliška enjoys the most in nature. She likes to be alone in arms of nature to enjoy the calmness and peace.

Kotliská and the last valley beneath Skalka

Now, she is conquering the last but one climb to Kotliská where the red marked trail ends and she is turning to the yellow marked trail leading to Skalka. This trail is open only from 1.7. to 30.9, and if you want to see these wonderful places, you have only a few months to do so.

Eliška meets anybody on the trail. She is completely alone on the ridge and realizes how small she is in the majestic nature. When she sees the huge rocks under Skalka, she is even smaller. Such a small dot with the camera, but that's what these trips are about. To enjoy the magical size and the majesty of the mountains around.

Skalka – The peak

Skalka is not a typical Tatra peak. There is no highest point clearly determined on the top and its peak is more like a platform.

Important is that there is a beautiful view of almost the whole Low Tatras, and Eliška can check out another humbled peak. It is a trip that you´ll remember for a long time and with joy. And what about you? Do you know where to go next time?


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