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Published: April 29th 2006
Today we walked a path in a wild, but beautiful park in Slovakia. The path through the Narodony Park winds its way upward through a pass in the limestone mountains. A wildly rushing stream has eroded the mountain resulting in a canyon. The cliff walls rise steeply on either side and are not without their danger, especially if you are climbing them, or walking along the crest. Martin, a young Slovak we met, walked with us today and told us how one of his friends decided to call his girlfriend using a cell phone. He could not find a signal and began climbing from rock to rock, lost his balance and fell to his death. The others in the hiking group of friends had walked on to give him his privacy and couldn't understand why he didn't catch up with them. Only after they had climbed down did they learn of his fall. This was only two years ago. Though Martin loves to hike here he said, "It always makes me a bit sad when I come here.” Today we had no intentions of climbing to the top of the rocks.
Though the day was cold the early spring flowers
were blooming and we enjoyed seeing and photographing them. In fact, I was surprised at the number and variety of wild flowers and plants that were already up and growing looking forward to the summer season. Slovakia is pretty far north and its summers are short. To add to this the canyon with its steep sides has sun at the bottom for rather short periods of time each day so I suppose all plants in such an environment spring to life quickly with the first hints of warmth.
The walk is not difficult. The trail is a long incline leading to the top of the pass. I am not sure how far a person has to walk to find a road on the other side. We walked several miles stopping for lunch at a picnic table beside a building. Thank goodness we had packed sandwiches! At this point there are camping facilities and several cabins that can be rented. One quite large cabin is owned by the local university in Kosice.
The day was chilly. Nancy and I had on just about every piece of clothing we had brought along on the trip. For me that was
a quick-dry knit short, a cotton shirt, a chamois shirt and a hooded polartech jacket. Under the hood my ears were covered with a polartech ski hat. With four layers of clothing I was reasonably comfortable. Nancy had as many layers as I, maybe one or two more, I am not sure. Hey I'm no wimp. I had on about the same as far as layers were concerned. I have found I greatly prefer hiking when I am cool or almost cold instead of when I am hot. Warm is fine but hot is OUT so I enjoyed the day very much. I walked most of the way with Taylor, the son of the couple we were visiting, and that made the trip nicer for me than for anyone else. Taylor was so enchanted with the stream, the waterfalls, the caves, the flowers, with all the lovely things we were seeing! It was so much fun to be with a bright, excited 12 year old boy! We had a wonderful time together talking about what we were experiencing. He used his dad's camera over and over to take pictures each time exclaiming, "That will be a wonderful picture." He
Walking the Trail
Nancy, Taylor and Shane on the trail.
seemed to have a good eye for what would be photographically good to carry the experience back to his mom and sister who were working with a group of German students making a women's shelter beautiful by covering the walls with a mural. I hope his pictures are a reminder to him of his day with us. I won't forget Taylor and I hope he will remember me.
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