Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Pilgrimage time

Giewont from Kresanica

The exertions of the two previous days meant that I was looking for something relatively easy to do. Which is a bit hard in the Tatry - bit like saying 'I want a gentle walk on the Cuillins'.
So, Giewont (1895m/P170) became my objective - and, as it turned out, the objective of rather a lot of other people. I will say this for the people in central Europe they do like their hills. Looks like everyone is willing to have a go.
Again I started from the campsite to Kusnice and then up a blue marked path where I paid the entry fee to the Tatranske park , past the Hotel Gorski and on to the Schronisto na Kondratowej Hali  refuge for a cup of tea. From there the path turned from being an amble to a steepish hillwalk to reach a saddle at Kondracka Przelecz. The sign said it was 30 minutes to the top of Giewont so I expected to be up there and back within 40 minutes - until I saw the queue. Despite a one way system, progress was very slow on a series of chains to the summit and cross.

The chain gang
Standing room only
This is where being an 'obsessive hillbagger' becomes a burden. Any normal person would look at the queue and say 'you know, I can't be bothered to wait' but a hillbagger has to touch the summit - there is no choice, freewill or commonsense does not enter into the equation. So I joined the queue and quite literally on the top there was standing room only - indeed most of the people stood there were just the queue for the down route.

Thankfully,going down,  there were sections where I could bypass the chains and avoid waiting for someone to agonisingly slowly lower themselves down half metre steps one minute at a time. More than an hour and a half later I was back down near the saddle. From there I took the red path that dropped steeply down the Grzybowiec that wasn't greasy but slippery at times because the rocks were worn smooth. Then it was back into the forest in the Strazyska Dolina and then I met the Droga pod Reglami near to where my brake caliper had snapped two days previously. Back to the campsite - and not feeling that it was quite an easy day as I had hoped for. But hey, I managed to visit the cross on top of Giewont that is a pilgrimage for so many- and explains why there are so many monks and nuns in Zakopane.
Zakopane from the summit of Giewont

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