Sunday, 18 March 2012

Finally a bit of climbing... The Three Crowns, Sokolica and "leftovers" of a castle ;)

Today, we’re going back to the “life-threatening” climbing experience ;) Yeah, I know that they probably couldn’t have been safer. But, hey, I’ve lived all my life by the sea so what are you expecting? I know that my hometown isn’t totally flat, it’s got its hill all around us, but still. They ain’t mountains! I have never been skiing, I’ve never seen mountains covered in snow (how many of you have seen beaches covered in snow, huh? I have, many times ;)), so all I have left and all I’m letting myself do is climbing in the summer time.

The last (and only) part of climbing to “the cross” on Zugspitze did raise my adrenaline level. That was sooo cool. This time it’s not going to be that scary but much more tiring. So, here we go!

I’ve already described that, when in Pieniny Mountains, we rafted onDunajec and we visited the two castles. During the raft we did see some of the peaks that we knew we wanted to climb to. And we did that :) Well, Pieniny Mountains aren’t high, all below 1,000 metres above sea level. However, they are quite steep for that height.

As our first goal we chose the Three Crowns (Trzy Korony). One of the routes to the peak started quite close to the place where we stayed. At first it was quite flat but looong. And then it started getting steeper and steeper. On the way we could observe sheep in the fields, shepherds’ houses where oscypki were being produced and some other little towns somewhere down there, below us. In order to get to the sore peak called Okrąglica (the highest of the peaks of the Three Crowns mountain), you have to pay a fee that allows you to enter the Pieniny National Park. That one is valid for a day, so you can get to Sokolica the same day and just show the same ticket. You wouldn’t have to pay the second time. But on a different day, of course, you’d have to pay again. When you’ve already received your ticket, prepare for climbing many stairs and waiting in a line (if you’re there in the high season). Up there on Okrąglica there is a special platform on which a limited group of people can stay for a while and look at the marvellous views. Forests, Red Monastery, villages, fields and Dunajec.

On our way back to Czorsztyn we’ve decided to visit one more place. Zamkowa Góra (the Castle Mountain). As I’ve already mentioned, I’m neither a climber nor an alpinist. So we left Sokolica for another time. But we managed to get to the Castle Mountain. I’m glad we were there, but I’m not going to write anything more about that. That’s simply enough. There are some ruins of a castle there, hence the name. But that was it for me. Was I too tired? Maybe. Don’t judge ;)

The third peak In Pieniny Mountains that we climbed to was Sokolica. That was a strange kind of adventure. It was raining that day so you can imagine that the weather was no fun. And when it’s raining in Pieniny Mountains, everything changes into pure mud! Horrible. Clouds were hanging really low, visibility was close to nothing. And people say that views from Sokolica are gorgeous.

Still we had two options. Either to miss on that one and resign from climbing altogether or to go on climbing no matter what. We chose the latter option. The guy from the National Park that e were paying the entrance fee to warned us that the clouds were so low that we wouldn’t be able to see anything from the peak. We weren’t discouraged anymore. He didn’t say anything knew to us, anything that we weren’t prepared for. And you know what? I’m so glad we kept going! At first, as we anticipated, everything was surely covered in clouds and mist (or whatever that was). But after a really short while our eyes got a chance to get a glimpse of Dunajec somewhere deep below us. And suddenly most of the clouds started disappearing! We got the whole picture! I was so happy!

There is that one characteristic picture of Pieniny Mountains which is actually taken at Sokolica. That’s a tiny, twisted, lonely pine tree with all other trees and Dunajec deep below it. Kind of like one of my pictures. The pine trees up there are up to 500 years old! Real relicts, aren’t they? So lonely, standing as if on the verge of the world…

And when we were on our way back down, sun was getting to us from between the trees! So I was truly happy for the decisions we made on that particular day! Never ever lose hope for a sun to shine. And I mean it literally this time ;)

On the way to the Three Crowns

 Views from Okrąglica

 The Castle Mountain (Zamkowa Góra)

 Refilling our water supplies



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