The trail of Orla Perc towers 7136 ft / 2175 m tall and is filled with deadly cliffs like Zamarla Turnia which loom under the rocky trail. Freezing cold lakes glisten under the towering peaks with brilliant blue water. Rock avalanches can be heard falling from careless climbers. Emergency helicopters buzz past to other peaks in search of fallen people. These are the Tatra Mountains, this is Orla Perc.
The trail starts out in the deep forest of the mountains. It winds through the mossy forests and dried-up rivers with now only long crevices of large boulders where rushing water used to flow. Dew drips from a spruce which grow everywhere along the trail. Wild mushrooms greet the rising sun and glisten from the moist air. A cold wind blows in my face but the sun soon comes up and warms me. This is the beginning, the beginning of a climb that is the hardest I have climbed, the most amazing. With no harnesses or helmets or any other equipment we set off in search of a challenge, Orla Perc.
The restaurant, where this is the summit for most of the hikers stands to the right of the trail. A people-filled place which is not the place for Orla climbers to be. We would rather rest in a more wild area, like on a boulder next to a crystal blue lake. Why be in a stuffy crowded building when you can be outside sitting on a boulder? We pass the restaurant where we do not wish to be and start to see the real mountains that we are about to climb with my family of four.
Lake Number Two
We approach the second lake from a small climb from the first. My mom has already been to Orla Perc when she was a teenager, but now after that small climb she decided to set her goals on something easier and tells us farewell. Now my dad, brother, and I are left. We started hiking up the Zawrat when my brother suddenly slips on the steep rocks. With no chain to hold onto yet and still a bit farther from the first chains he gets a little nervous. He looks down on his shoes and frowns. Finally he told us that he would be better off hiking an easier summit and turns back to join my mom. Only my dad and I are left now.
We climb up the Zawrat and I also get scared because why should a 11 year old girl climb this mountain when a 16 year old guy cannot? I did not tell my dad my fears, I never do. I climbed on and survived, I started to feel more confident. As the Zawrat comes to an end I feel restored and ready for the real test.
It is a long trail with many places where the mountains trick you into thinking the summit is right ahead of you, but really once your at the top of this "summit" you see there is another one that looks like this, so the trail is always bobbing up and down, trying to trick you. Whenever we were climbing up I was ahead of my dad and whenever we were climbing down I was behind my dad so if I fall he catches me. If he fell, well it would be very unlikely for me to catch him so that is why we set it up like so. With only a few troubles through out the trail like seeing an emergency helicopter fly by. I also saw some fresh blood on the rocks near the trail, my dad told me it was paint, but I knew he was just saying that in order not to frighten me.
The summit, a grand top with 360 degree views of the world. It was absolutely amazing, all the peaks of the Tatra's and other mountain ranges far and beyond. There were some people on the top reading books and napping, I thought this funny that they brought books to read on a one day hike to the summit. Anyway we stayed there for a little while because there were strong cold winds at the summit and we did not want to be traveling by dark. So I drank a little more Gatorade and ate a sandwich, then, we were off again.
The Way Down
Now, this part was quite different from what I had experience yet it was almost the same difficulty. With no more chains it was just a steep path down. This place was more so dangerous because the amount of sediment on the path. The whole path was littered with small gravel-like rocks and big stones as well. Because it was a steep trail these rocks were constantly moved by our feet and they tumbled down. Whoever was in front of us and lower then us better watch out, because what if a rock hit them? What if a person was above us and accidentally he slid a rock down on us? This was the dangerous part, the rocks were flying by just waiting to hit someone, there was no way to escape it, we had to descend.
To The Lodge
We finally got to the restaurant traveling next to the beautifully lighted lake and still viewing the grand mountain we had just climbed. It was a dark and lonely trek through the forest below the restaurant, since it was not a real hikers trail but more of a gravel road it was not that pleasant. Since it was also not that steep since it was made for cars at the bottom half we decided to run down so we might be able to catch up to our other family members. When we finally arrived at the lodge they were not there but in half an hour they were and we all relaxed on our last evening in the Tatra Mountains.