A cold, frosty morning. Snow crunching under foot. And a man wearing shorts and sneakers, carrying a small bag, walks uphill. His steps are fast and agile. He is singing.
His name is Wim Hof. A man who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in shorts. A man who stayed in a container while covered with ice cubes for more than 112 minutes. A man who ran a half marathon. Above the Arctic Circle. In his bare feet.
"There will be a half meter snow on top, are you sure you want to go there?" worriedly asks a forest ranger, watching us preparing to hike up Vápenná mountain, third highest peak of the Small Carpathians.
"Of course!" we answer, having Wim in front of our eyes.
Let's explore the Small Carpathians again.
Discover the mountains
The Small Carpathians, as white as a finest powder in winter, as colorful as a picturesque painting in spring, as refreshing as a Sicilian lemon sorbet in summer, as energizing as a Red Bull drink in fall. And as blue-white as Modra's ceramics, as dazzling as the best Rizling or Veltlin wines.
The Small Carpathians, the mountains with 1,160 km of marked hiking paths, 876 marked cycling routes, 11 P700 peaks, 11 castles.
Let's hike the most beautiful mountains of the Small Carpathians, Vysoká and Vápenná.
Vápenna rises above Sološnica and Plavecké Podhradie villages, Vysoká above Kuchyňa village. Only a short while from Bratislava.
While hiking to Vápenná we will greet the Small Vápenná mountain, the south edge of the rocky cliff. The ridge between Vysoká mountain and the Ostrý Kameň castle, the highest located castle of the Small Carpathians, reminiscent of the Malá or Veľká Fatra mountains with their beautiful rock walls, wide views, bizarre trees formed and twisted by wind, karst formations, caves, amazing flora such as irises,flying falcons, and chiropterans hidden in the caves.
Or let's try the hiking path passing the Plavecký hrad castle, perched on rocks whose ancient strength we will test while climbing, and from above while paragliding we will admire the ancient Celtic settlement Pohanska, the biggest Celtic settlement in Slovakia.
And while hiking to Vysoká mountain we will pass a herd of cattle, herds of does will cross our path, a rabbit’s ears will poke out the grass until we will reach the summit with the cross and primeval trees, where the view at the sunrise will steal our breath and stoke our soul.
Something to offer year-round
In spring we will admire a sea of white snowdrops and wild garlic, the sunbeams shining through the trees, showing us the road to the top, where we will find the gently rounded hills, green as an Emerald, soft as velvet.
In summer the forest will change into cooling shadow and on the top the sharp sun and the wind, always present, will show us the Vienna Alps hovering over the horizon.
The fall sun will shine with colors and slow motions.
Until winter covers everything with white snow, and in the forest will rule silence and darkness. With slow and discovering footsteps we will move uphill until the winter wonderland rises in front of us. And the snow will glitter and the trees will be covered by white plush. And when we raise our heads, the azure blue sky will steal our words.
And we will hike down to the Doľany village to taste the best wine of the Small Carpathians, to look into the new year. Because each new year is a new beginning.
And we will talk about goals, about the Iceman Wim Hof and his breaking the barriers while ruling above cold.
We will talk about the treasure to be discovered just outside our doors. And we will decide not to travel to the pyramids. But to put on our hiking boots or snowshoes again, to take hiking sticks and hike to Vysoká and Vápenná mountains, queens of the Small Carpathians, all year round.
But especially in winter discovering the mountains is magical. Because the limit is not the sky. The limit is the mind.
And where ever we go, whatever we look for, at the end we will find always ourselves. Or maybe Wim Hof's followers swimming underneath ice or climbing the snowy mountains without clothes.
One2We is an incoming company concentrating on active, adventure, bike and sport tours in Slovakia, in the unique, authentic and safe country, far away from mass tourism; offer undiscovered and amazing places, tailored-made solutions and very professional individual guiding. For more information please visit: www.one2we.eu.
6. Jan 2020 at 13:00 | Gabriela Psotková, Valéria Polovková