Slovakia – Sunrise from Velky Krivan

Day D has come. For the first time I am going to hike during the night. First we have planned to reach summit of Velky Rozsutec. However it is not easy summit, and we did not practice enough rock climbing. I have been on Velky Rozsutec couple times, therefore I knew that could be risky during the dark. All of us wanted to avoid unnecessary risk. Mainly for this we have decided to watch sunrise from Velky Krivan. I have planned to reach this summit during the winter, but we could not manage it because of weather condition. During the day we thought a lot if we need to go sleep or not. We slept for couple of hours. Shortly after midnight we were ready to go.

We have to travel from Kysuce to Vratna valley and be quick enough to see early sunrise in the middle of the summer. Me, two my friends and dog Mia could fit into the car easily. I was really happy that Mia is coming with us. She can hear and smell much better than human being, which can help us if we need to be aware of any wild animals. We have parked our car in Vratna valley, close to the cable car shortly before 2 am. It was totally dark. Mia immediately get out of the car and starts exploring everything around us. Light from our head lamps illuminated part of the woods when we need to go. I got scared and excited at the same time. Dozens of eyes were watching us. Immediately I start looking for jingle bell in my back pack. I have attached it to Mia`s collar. When she will run around us, it will make sound. Hopefully it will scare some wild animals. We are ready to go.

I did only two steps and was down on the road. Guys were scared and wondering what I am doing. We were still on the nice road and my knee start bleeding. One of my shoelace gets stuck in other shoe and gravitation did the rest. I didn’t notice that in the dark.

Mia was bit in front of us. Me and guys where close to each other. We have entered the woods. Strange sounds were coming from everywhere. In the woods we could barely see and was not sure if any bear will surprise us. As we get further from the hut we feel lonelier. We didn’t want to make any noise, but we have to talk to each other loudly. At least we let know all the animals, especially bears, we are here. If Mia is calm, we can be calm as well. All the way we were making fun of each other who will be breakfast for a bear. At the beginning ascent was nice, we ascent thru forest road. Soon we get out of the forest to open space. It is a small relief for me. I feel much better out of the forest. There are no clouds on sky so we can enjoy billions of stars. I tis time to have short break. We are hungry.  Since 8 pm we haven’t eat anything and it is around 3 am. It is a great time for breakfast. Exactly at that time we could also watch falling perseids. Every little while one of the guys mentioned that he saw one. I was bit upset because I didn’t see one of them. With the headlamp on my head it was not easy. Something else make me smile. Friend of mine is vegetarian. He pulls out from back pack ceramic bowl. He put inside oatmeal, fill the bowl with coconut milk, add few nuts and start eating with spoon. This is real hiking equipment :D.

We keep walking under cable car, close to the woods until we reach the path covered by burdocks. It haven’t rain in Slovakia for couple of weeks, but here is path pretty wet. I haven’t seen so many burdocks at this altitude. This part of hike was the steepest one and hardest one. Temperature was around 21 degrees of Celsius / 70 degrees of Fahrenheit. We didn’t want to wear anything warm. Light breeze was even warmer. It felt like when you are in hot kitchen and open oven, where you are baking something. We were almost in Snilovske sedlo, when I finally saw falling star. Couple of minutes I have noticed small slice of the moon on the sky. Unfortunately I didn’t took picture of it, because I have forgot to take tripod. Everyone has to enjoy moments like this. I am staying there watching the sky. It is dawning and stars starts disappearing. Air is fresh, not warm not cold. This is the moment when I realize it was good idea not to sleep tonight. Not just dream, but live the dream.

We are in Snilovske sedlo. We should be able to watch sunrise from Velky Krivan, however dark is already gone. We start to be worried if we are able to make to the summit before sunrise. We were glad to make it. Now it is time to take some pictures, write our names into summit book and wait for Oskar (guys named sun Oskar). We waited for more than 30 minutes and Oskar is not coming. Based on the forecast sunrise should already start. Sunrise start 17 minutes later. But you have to always wait for the good, haven’t you? We were happy only for a while, with the sun also lots of mosquitos we could not spend more time on Velky Krivan and start descending bit lower, where we have sit down for a while. Somewhere down in scrub we saw something brown and big. „I don’t know what it is, and I don’t want to know“. Said one of my friends. „I have told you that, we can meet bear here, not in the forest“. Added second friend. It is not a surprise, there is a plenty of blueberries. If I was a bear I would choose the same. Next hour we spend running around the hill and searching for on geocache. We didn’t found it. Cable car was already running, so we hopped we could get morning coffee in this beautiful place. Unfortunately not. At 8 am you will not get coffee in Snilovske Sedlo. It’s time to descent. When we saw what we have climbed during the night we were bit surprised. If I had to walk to steep hill during the day, I would give it up and would wait for cable car. In the dark you do not see how steep and long is the ascent. It is about our mind set. Limits are set by our heads. Descent was even more difficult. We haven’t met anyone till the forest, which is close to the parking place. It was already around 9:30 am when we have met couple. It is going to be hot day, I would not climb up in this kind of weather. We are glad that we are almost done and in most amazing part of the day – sunrise. Mia is exhausted as we are. She is not bringing any sticks from the woods for retrieving. She loves it more than having food.

All of us are happy when we get into the car. We hoped we could get a coffee in my town, but everything was closed. Simply too early. It turns out it was good idea to sleep for a while before going up. Friend of mine, who did not sleep at all was totally exhausted. At the time when alarm clock goes on, it seems stupid idea, cause we were more tired comparing to time when we went to bed. However at the end it turns out it was good idea.

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