6 TIPS FOR THE RIGHT T-O-U-R-I-S-T
If we ask you, why would you like to go to The High Tatras for holiday, with certainty we know, that your answer would probably be: Hiking. We agree, the mountains itself belong to the biggest attractions of our destination. The hiking is amazing activity with lots of benefits such as discovering new places, getting away from it all, doing sport and seeing the world from different perspective. Good sleep and excitement are not the only guarantee of a safe and good holiday in the mountains. That is why we prepared for you 6 useful tips for each tourist.
The basis of each hiking, moreover the one in the high mountains or time demanding one, is good preparation. Do not neglect to search for information about the total time, altitude and terrain. Do not rely on your memory. Nowadays in the digital era, hiking apps are becoming more popular. Bear in mind, you will not have a sufficient mobile signal everywhere, so your mobile apps might become useless. With regard to such a case, rely yourself on pen and paper. Print out the map of the hiking trail and do not forget to show it to your relatives. Describe them the approximate time of the trip and your planned stops. The awareness is the key factor not only for you but also for those who would be searching for the missing ones if the worst happens. If you are planning a tour over mountain ridges that includes sleepover in a mountain cottage, do take the trouble to write down your hiking trip in details to the mountain log book.
The route planning is not the only thing of the preparation for the hiking trip. Weather plays a big role as well. Watch for weather forecast a few days in advance of your planned hiking trip. Find yourself a quality and reliable source of information. The mountains are nice but tricky. At the higher altitudes, the weather can change very suddenly. Many hiking trails do not lead to any mountain cottage, that is why it is hard to hide while raining or even snowing. Yes, snowing. As said, "one swallow does not make a spring". Even in the summer at high altitudes, some storms can lead to snowing. When you approach a place covered with snow, be careful. You do not know, how strong and safe is the snow cover beneath, neither you know what is below. The foggy days are also dangerous. The fog does not only decrease visibility but also the orientation in the terrain. When you think that the right weather for hiking is a sunny and cloudless day, you are wrong! For no reason, it says that mountain sun is strong. Do not enter a tree-less terrain without a sufficient headcover. At the end of this tip, we emphasize on one more important fact. While you occur in the middle of the storm in the mountains and you are far away from any mountain cottage, do not hide below the tree. The chance of being struck by the lightning increases which might be deadly.
In general, a superficial phrase is paradoxically true when talking about the mountains. If you are just going for a walk around Štrbské Pleso you can wear anything comfortable, of course. But in case you are planning to "go around" a little higher, invest in better quality hiking clothing and especially shoes. If a friend tells you that he came out on Zelené Pleso in ordinary trainers, take it with a pinch of salt. Mountain trails are mostly sidewalks going through the forest or "sidewalks" made completely from rocks, not asphalt. Buy yourself a pair of good hiking boots in a shop aiming at this sortiment. Shoes should sit you well. Take attention especially on the sole and overall height of your shoes. And in case you have a new pair of shoes, do not go with them immediately to the highest Tatra peaks! Just like any shoe, even the hiking boots need to be little “worn out” first. Otherwise, you risk a painful trip with bruises. As for clothing, be like an 'onion'. No, you don't have to catch others up to tears with your odor. "To be like an onion" means that you will put the clothes on yourself in "layers". The fact that the thermometer in front of the holiday cottage shows +30°C does not mean that the temperature on Kôprovský peak or favorite Rysy peak will not decrease to +10°C. The temperature decreases as the altitude rises! You should also consider adding extra clothing to the backpack so the weather do not catch you unprepared. Choose "aired" materials that can absorb sweat well but do not prevent you from moving at the same time. Speaking of mountain outfits, let's look at accessories. Make sure to complete the "outfit" with a quality backpack. It should definitely include a multipurpose knife, a torch, an insect repellent/cream. You'll also look stylish with anti-skid gaiters at higher altitudes, since even in the summer snow can appear in the mountains. If you plan to "climb up" the mountains, do not forget the appropriate equipment.
Well yes. Especially in today's busy times of fast food, we are what we eat. But we have to think differently in the mountains.To have a slice of bread with schnitzel is so Slovak and yes, the traditions should definitely be revived, but when you are for example at the Hincovo Pleso (far from any mountain cottage) and all of the sudden you become unwell, we assure you that you will not have the best "hiking memories". Pack yourself with easily digestible food that can "refuel" you. Do not worry about gaining weight because of eating energy bars or drinks. The Tatras are high enough to burn calories quickly. When speaking about burning calories, during exertion and sweating, our muscles lose minerals that should be supplemented, for example, with salty foods. After finishing all of your snacks, put those parts of the napkin that did not stick to your buttered bread back in your backpack. It would take years for the nature to "consume" the rest of your snacks. Last but not least, we appeal to the amount of fluids you decide to bring to the Tatra peaks with yourself. Dehydration is not a myth. Dizziness at heights while standing on rocky terrain is also not easy to handle. In addition, there are mountain trails that do not lead through the forest, where you are protected from the sun by trees. Temperature rises every day and it is really not enough to take just one bottle of a mineral water when hiking for example to the Téry cottage.
Has anyone ever told you: "Two is better than one"? This is doubly true in the mountains! At least a two of you should put heads together when planning hiking. If several people participate in your "hiking group" do take attention to the physical condition of all members while choose you hiking goal. We recommend that you specify a “leader” who knows the terrain or has at least a good sense of orientation. According to some experts, we should take breaks when hiking every two hours. In groups, however, it often happens that the group is little by little divided into smaller groups, each walking at its own rate. It is therefore appropriate to set up a way of communication. Communication is also important for preventing meeting animals. Game in Slovak mountains is timid. If they can hear you from several meters, you won't get in their way. However, if you have decided to take the risk and go to the mountains in a one-man group, clap preventively from time to time to let the animals know where you are. Or, whistle, maybe you will also make yourself cheerful. Keep in mind that you are not alone in the mountains. If you walk on rocky terrain, you can easily loosen a stone from under your feet and injure tourists behind you. Watch every step!
No pain no gain is perhaps a motto in regards to stock exchange issues or new haircut. One should not risk while in the mountains! Under no circumstances. Whether we are talking about fatigue, exhaustion or route. It is not worth walking by "shortcuts" outside the marked hiking trail. You can get lost pretty easily. If you seem to have come off your planned route, do not riski going to "nowhere", return to the last hiking trail point you can remember. Not all roads lead "to Rome" in the Tatras. Do remember - it is not a shame to use a service of mountain guides when going to a new place. During the whole tour, walk at a "smart pace" so your energy is distributed evenly throughout the whole trip. You need energy not only to "climb up" the peaks, but also to "climb them down" safely. If you are going to the mountains with children, you should also reserve some of your energy to helping your kidos if necessary. As far as safety is concerned, we recommend taking out mountain insurance. Rescue actions are not the cheapest. If the worst happens and you or people around you need a rescue helicopter, make sure you are clearly distinguishable from everything around you. In such situations you will also be a help to the helicopter pilots if your hands indicate the "V" shape. Smaller injuries can also be treated with a help of portable first-aid kit, which should be fully equipped in your backpack.
Lastly, we wish you all successful "climbing ups" and "climbing downs". We do hope you all will have a wonderful trip full of breathtaking panoramas and no rescue actions. We wish you would have taken at least some of our advice. If not, remember this last one: PRIDE COMES BEFORE A FALL! Don't make yourself a hero. Mountains are dangerous even for the most experienced ones.