Day 14: The Day Things Got Serious

December 5, 2012

In July, Jeremy and I traveled through Eastern Europe. This leg of our trip took us on a trek through the High Tatras in Slovakia and Poland. My last post of this adventure can be found here.

ThingsGotSerious

SeriousMountains

BuahuasLodge

ColdLake

DangerousRocks

After a breakfast of scrambled eggs and bread with jam we headed out. I woke up feeling a little busted but after warming up a bit on the trail I didn’t feel too terribly bad. We walked three hours on an easy trail to a 1960s Bauhaus lodge. I caught myself admiring the out-of-place architecture when our guide told us it was regarded as the ugliest building in Slovakia.

I’m beginning to think maybe Eastern Europe isn’t “my place”.

As we were having lunch the clouds began to roll in and it started to drizzle. We continued to make our way along the trail, past another gorgeous lake, when we came across a man on the trail incapacitated with a broken leg. A helicopter came in from the distance and dropped off a rescue paramedic. He helped the man with the broken leg into a body bag as the helicopter disappeared into the distance. Just as we were considering hitting the trail again we saw the helicopter make a return. And with that the paramedic and the injured man in a body bag were hooked onto the helicopter and carried off.

Helicoptor1

Helicoptor2

Helicoptor3

ThatWasSerious

Lodge

It was a pretty serious reminder to remain focused as we were hiking – it’s easy to get sloppy with your step as you start to get tired after a long day of hiking.

From there we hiked another few hours until we got to a valley. With each step my knee was starting to feel like an ice pick was being stabbed through the side of it. And just when I thought I couldn’t be in any more pain I experienced some of the coldest, sharpest wind of my life. You see… when we signed up for this trek all the images on the website included sun and shorts. I had no idea and was ill-prepared for all the cold rain we were going to experience in the middle of July at less than 7,000 ft. elevation.

Anyhow, at the top of that mountain we could see our final destination. It looked so close but with a steep valley full of switchbacks it took us about 2 hours to get to the bottom. And with each step I went deeper into meditation to send light and love to my busted knees.

The next day we were scheduled to hike to the top of Rysy (the tallest mountain in Poland) and cross over from Slovakia and desend into Poland. I was in deep, serious pain and didn’t think I would be able to make the trek. But I also didn’t really know of any other way out aside from my own two feet.

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