I met Albert almost three years ago, when I put my first steps on the climbing wall. After each training for half a mile we walked together, then each of us was heading in his direction. It took a few weeks before we said to each other the first few words. With time, the conversation started to develop, and we were able to stand on the street in the middle of a cold winter for almost 2 hours (probably then I become resistant to low temperatures).
When my coach moved from Kalisz and I had to change the climbing wall, I came to the ‘Tower‘ in which Albert climbed a few years. Frequent workouts and trips strengthened our friendly relationship, so when I found out that he was not in the Tatra Mountains but is very eager to go there, I agreed to join me.
He arrived on August 13th along with the sunrise and was greeted with rain, which quickly turned into a downpour lasted almost all day. By the lack of perspectives we decided to go to Dolina Białego (the Valley of the White) and climb Sarnia Skała (Rock of Roe), which – as I mentioned before – was the target of treasure hunters. At the top we did not find any gold, however, experienced a truly amazing moments.
Right there for the first time in my life I experienced such a strong wind, I felt his true power. For Icelanders it would likely be a breeze, but for us made a huge impression. I am not able to determine its speed, but it was blowing so hard that we were not able to do even one step. I thought that if I jumped at that moment, the wind would raise me high so I could fly free as a bird (of course, in fact, my flight would end up in the best case with open fractures and calling to TOPR).
Knowing the climbing possibilities of Albert, and being aware that the time of our stay is only a week, I decided to climb up the Zawrat, and if all goes well, try to climb also all Orla Perć. Unfortunately mountains again proved to be capricious. Through half the distance Albert had to take my word that before us is a breathtaking range of High Tatras because dense fog separated us from it. In fact, this situation was a little bit stressful to me because I wanted to present Albert the beauty of my beloved mountains, but I could not because they were constantly hidden…
Probably in moments of doubt he thought that these mountains are only a figment of my sick imagination, because – unlike me – he is an admirer of empirical scientific method, and he believes only in what he is able to see, touch and explore. He is a typical example of positivist and seems to me that he will never change, because any attempt to ‘reclaim’ him ended up my failure.
Finally came the long-awaited moment and Tatras revealed to us its beauty. No doubt it was worth the wait for such a view. Though my eyes absorb the it many times, every time I experience it more intensely.
A few hours later, we looked at Dolina Pięciu Stawów (the Valley of Five Ponds), which is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Unfortunately we could not enjoy the view too long, because the weather breakdown came. The walls of rain separated us from ambitious goal, namely Orla Perć and forced to descend which because of slippery stones become quite arduous.
Finally we arrived to the shelter in Dolina Pięciu Stawów (the Valley of Five Ponds), which were hidden under a crowd of tourists fighting for even a piece of a roof over his head. Horrified by that view, without hesitation, chose the company of rain and started to descend toward civilization through Dolina Roztoki (the Valley of Brook). After a few hours we were at home. Wet, tired and happy.
The next day I decided to come down into the ground, going along with Arek and Marcin into the two caves in Dolina Kościeliska – Mylna and Raptawicka, to experience one of the greatest adventures of life.
My two companions were decidedly uncommon human beings, filled with great passions and positive thinking. People who each day want to discover the world anew, to experience the fullness of life. Being with them was for me a great pleasure and an excellent lesson.
As you probably guessed, it’s hard to walk with such people by the usual routes. So I trusted their knowledge of underground corridors and stepped into an unusual, almost unreal world. The beauty of it was breathtaking. The walls of the corridors looked like they died in the course of a beautiful dance creating unusual shapes, which no human chisel would not have been able to carve.
We walked, or rather crawled into this perfection, which opened before us ever newer and grander spaces. I have to commend that one of them I was able to discover by myself! The road to it led through a very narrow corridor that several times changed its course and was completed by a wonderful window of rock localized over the treetops.
Undoubtedly, human leg stood there before, but this time I felt like an explorer. I wanted to explore the trail, which was unknown to my companions, but for me seemed to lead into a place worth look into. I followed the voice of my heart and found one of the best views of my life.
With a huge regret I approached to the exit of the cave. Entering the main trail full of tourists was for me like stepping into another world. Anyway, we looked like strangers from another planet – wet from the puddles in which we crawled, dirty from mud, with headlamps on the neck. We were the object of interest by a few kilometers of the trail, all the more that not every tourist was aware of the presence of caves in Dolina Kościeliska.
It did not bother me though. I wanted to be part of this underground world much more than this full of people who in the mountains are escaping from the puddles and screaming terribly when their new shoes (probably worth half of the payout) touches mud.
I regret that this adventure came to an end, but I try to focus on appreciating the fact that took place and has been a source of great experiences.
Here I conclude my post today, although we still have a few days of great climbing. But I think it is much better to leave you with a hunger, than surfeit.