Tuesday, July 29

More about our Hike

On Sunday the primary aim was to climb Mt. Giewont (pronounced Gyeh-vont). It has the nickname "The Sleeping Knight" because, if you look at the video in a post below or pictures in this post you will see, the range looks like a person lying down. Giewont lies in the area of the Polish Tatra National Park (TatrzaƄski Park Narodowy). In Polish folklore it is associated with a legend about sleeping knights, who will awake when Poland is in danger. The profile of the mountains is similar to a lying knight, wherein the Long Giewont is the knight's torso, and the Great Giewont is the knight's face as viewed from the side (the three 'peaks' being the chin, the nose, and the eyebrow). The cross where we hiked is on the "nose" of the knights "head". The image of Giewont as viewed from the south makes the profile easy to discern. The first portion of the hike consisted of climbing to the top of Mt. Kasprowy Wierch (6,519 feet) where we took a little break and had some hot chocolate and snacks in the little ski resort restaurant at the top. The next portion of the hike was along the peaks of a few small mountains, circling our way towards Mt. Giewont--heading towards the cross. We ascended on our third mountain peak to our highest elevation of 6829 feet (I'm not positive, but I think it was Kopa Kondracka). We then had to climb most of the way down to the valley and then reascend Mt. Giewont (Mr. Pruett and I were dubious of our ability/desire to climb another mountain, but the cross beckoned me and I beckoned Mr. Pruett so we both climbed to the top). Mt. Giewont was, without doubt, the most difficult portion of the climb, but my favorite because there were chains and you had to pull yourself up, giving my legs a much needed break. The guys have taken to calling me "Old Man Reedy" and I earned that moniker this weekend. I've got the knees of an 80 year old! Here is a pic of Old Man Reedy with my trusty walking staff that weighed probably 50 pounds. (I carried it only for the picture)

The trip down was, as always, the hardest part. Our legs were tired and our energy spent so the trip down was brutal. People often make the mistake of thinking this part is easy because you are using gravity to your advantage. Not so.

We separated into two groups during the hike, according to pace. I was in the slower group and finished the hike officially last...even though I was the most experienced of all the American hikers :(

We then hiked back to Zakopane and our house where food and showers awaited.

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