Walking up to Morksie Oro, the famous crystal blue lake in the Polish Tatras had been something that we had looked forward to throughout our time in the country. Upon arrival, however, we learned that dogs are not allowed into the national park which contains it, and unwilling to leave the hound alone in the van for a day while we trekked without him, we decided to give it a miss and push over the border, in the hope that the Slovakian side of the mountain range would be more relaxed.

Luckily this was true and the next morning, we set out on a 25km trek, through the beautiful and eerily desolate Slovakian Tatras Mountains. The photos below tell the story of this incredible journey:

Tatras Mountains Hiking

The start of the ascent

Tatras Mountains hike

Narrow paths through the dwarf pines

Trek in the tatras

Slightly overgrown in places

Tatras mountains in autumn

Opening out into the ski pistes

Tatras Mountain trekking

The view back from the first part of the ascent

Tatras Mountains hiking signpost

The start of the second, much longer section

dead trees tatras mountains

The view over the piles of fallen pines

Tatras Mountains bear wolf

The remains of something, recently killed by something else..

Tatras Mountain dog walk

Ross and the hound in the barren landscape

Tatras Mountains bridge

Down precarious wooden stairs

Tatras Mountains hiking

Into more forested areas

Tatras Mountains hiking trail

The trail is well marked out

Tatras Mountains walking bridge

falling trees make the bridges even more worrying.

Tatras Mountains trees

signs warned to beware of falling trees.

Tatras Mountains fallen tree

but this is ridiculous

Tatras Mountain walking trail

at least some are still standing

Tatras Mountains landscape

View over the valley getting more spectacular as we continue to rise

Tatras Mountains view

the van is somewhere back there.

Tatras weather

the banks of cloud start coming in over the mountain

Tatras Mountains landscape

Surreal landscape exaggerated by surreal light

Tatras Mountains clouds

Made eery by our rise into the cloud line.

Tatras Mountains fog

This would be what the world would look like after nuclear fallout.

Tatras Mountain foggy

cant even see the bottom of the valley anymore.

Tatras Mountains bad weather

into the unknown

Tatras Mountains forest

At least the path is well defined through the forest.

Tatras Mountains forest fog

And the greenery returns as we start our descent

Tatras Mountains Insect problem

I think the “insect calamity” explains the fallen trees.

Tatras Mountain stream

Mountain stream.

Tatras Mountains stream

Slower shutter speed

Exhausted, we managed to complete the descent as the last of the light dropped away. Exhilarated, and in awe of the surreal, serene beauty, we couldnt wait to explore more. Read on, for our next trek up to the stunning Slovakian Mountain Lakes.