There’s something about travel … where when you go back to a place you’ve been before it every so slightly feels a bit like home.
We were scheduled to do just a little bit more trekking on our last day in the High Tatras on the Polish side. Even with a full day of rest the day before, my beat up knees weren’t going to have it. So as we walked out of the Morski Oko area I told our guide that I was going to have to catch a shuttle back to Zakopane, that I would just meet up with the rest of the group there. He was very resistant to let me go (he’s a younger by-the-book kind of guide) – but I knew my knees couldn’t take another step down off a craggily rock. He agreed to let me go only if someone would come with me. I didn’t want to cut Jeremy’s trek short but obviously he stepped up to escort me out of the mountains.
Together we took a bus back to Zakopane. We retrieved our larger backpacks from the hotel we left them at and grabbed a cup of glorious coffee. Together Jeremy and I made a list of everything that hurt.
Things That Hurt on Kathleen:
• heel blisters • side of left knee (consistent) • side of right knee (stabbing pain on descents only) • right shoulder (from bearing weight on walking sticks) • left heel bone • right big toe • left hip • chapped lips • bruised ego
Things That Hurt on Jeremy:
• upper back (from backpack) • knuckle • headache • chapped runny nose • eyes • elbow • right hip • swollen hands and fingers • calves • achy knees • shin splints • achilles tendon (both feet) • side ankle (left foot) • big toes • balls of feet • butt (that thing where you have a hard time “going” on vacation)
We also made a list of gear we need:
• Rain jacket for Kathleen • New boots for Kathleen • 50L backpack for Kathleen (my backpack is tiny) • Rain gear for backpacks • Walking sticks
Clearly we weren’t entirely prepared, mentally or physically, for how hard this trek would be. I underestimated the physicality of it when I saw that we would be staying at relatively low altitude. I also had no idea how cold it would be for the middle of the summer (the photos online showed people enjoying the sun and trekking in shorts) – we were caught in freezing rain and high winds many a time. It was then that I told Jeremy we need more oceans and beaches in our lives. As of right now we have three weeks of beachy goodness planned for the first part of our summer in 2013.
After about two hours of hanging out in a coffee shop the rest of our group caught up with us. We took another shuttle into Krakow and from there a train to our hotel located a couple miles outside of the city center. We showered, Jeremy had a traumatic poop, and we met up with the rest of our group for a guided tour of Krakow and a farewell dinner.
I was happy to be out of the mountains and back in a familiar city that I was growing increasingly fond of.
Jeremy and I decided to spend a few more days in Krakow before making our journey back home to the middle of the States.