Paradise Revisited

Last November I paid an unexpected visit to Slovak Paradise, or Slovenský Raj, if you will, with a pretty cool collection of people from The Ginger Monkey Hostel. The hike, which took us past one of the most spectacular lookout points in Slovakia, alongside and occasionally right over the edge of the Hornad River and up a waterfall-filled gorge, is definitely a contender for the top spot on my Slovak highlight list.

However, ever since I took that hike, I’d been a little bummed out that Chris, who I’ve been traveling with the majority of my time in Slovakia, hadn’t been there. As a fellow hiking enthusiast and one of the biggest waterfall lovers I know, I felt he completely missed out on one of the best experiences an outdoor lover can have in Slovakia. And so, when we were passing by Spišská Nová Ves, just a stone’s throw from the park, I was ecstatic to be able to give the loop another go with Chris and our friend Jack.

A cliff near Tomášovský výhľad in November.

A cliff near Tomášovský Výhľad in November.

Chris and Jack looking out near

Chris and Jack looking out from the same spot in May.

Slightly senior portrait-esque, but the setting redeems it.

Slightly senior portrait-esque, but the setting redeems it.

Close to the edge at  Tomášovský výhľad.

Close to the edge at Tomášovský Výhľad.

And from the same cliff in November.

And from the same cliff in November.

My maiden journey through Slovensky Raj had been guided by someone familiar with the park, so I was basically on autopilot, gaping at scenery the whole time. Since I would be the veteran this time, I took it upon myself to find the route we took before, worried that any other path might not live up to the hype I’d been creating.

Information about the trail wasn’t hard to find. Although we barely saw another soul during our mid-November hike, it is allegedly the most popular trail in the park and is packed beyond belief in the high season of July and August. (We were lucky enough to bypass the only other large group early on this time around.)

The Hornád River Valley.

A questionable passage through the Hornád River Gorge.

Careful steps over the rivers.

Careful steps over the rivers.

Unsure of the criteria for grate replacement, but it seems a little sketchy.

Unsure of the criteria for grate replacement, but it seems a little sketchy.

For anyone looking to try the hike for themselves (and if your ever in or near Slovakia, you should!), if you begin in Čingov you can follow the yellow path to a deservedly renowned view point at Tomášovský Výhľad. From there follow the yellow and turn left on the green at the first fork to Letanovský Mlyn and the Hornad River. From there you can enter what is perhaps the most impressive part of the whole loop. A technically aided section of Klastorska Gorge scales waterfalls with the help of ladders and chains until you reach Klastorisko Chata where you can opt into an overpriced mountain meal at the restaurant or snap some pictures of the entire Tatra range before catching the blue path along a ridge back to Čingov.

A waterfall in the Klastorska Gorge.

A waterfall in the Klastorska Gorge.

Yet another awesome ladder hike.

Awesome ladder hikes two weeks in a row.

IMG_6960

Close enough to get some refreshing mist.

A lot of times I am so overwhelmed by the sheer volume of places I want to see and experience that I am hesitant to do the same thing twice. In this case, with two different groups of great people and two uniquely beautiful seasons and days, each visit had its own distinct character I would have regretted missing out on.

Yet another lookout point on the loop back.

Yet another lookout point on the loop back.

Walking under the  Tomášovský výhľad lookout a few hours later.

Walking under the Tomášovský Výhľad lookout a few hours later.

It's always nice when you can fit all of the Tatras into one frame.

The High Tatras. It’s always nice when you can fit a whole mountain range into one frame.

This weekend I’m hoping to check out the substantially flatter, yet substantially rockier Český Ráj. I’m eager to see if it lives up to it’s counterparts high standards.

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Categories: environment, fitness, hiking, nature, science, TEFL | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Paradise Revisited

  1. I get such a kick out of the iron ladders and waffle-grid stepping plates!

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