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Zakopane

I left Poprad on schedule; I was actually too excited about the hike to sleep well. Poprad, incidentally, is as far east as I’ll ever get; it’s all homeward bound from here on out. Rysy, where I crossed the border, is so steep that the last 500 m took 45 minutes, much of it spent climbing on all fours (with no safety equipment, of course). The view from the top, though… for a few minutes I knew what it was to be a god. Aesthetic properties aside, it was so damned tough it almost killed me.

Anyway, I arrived at Morskie Oko, the Polish trailhead, at 7:30, exactly 12 hours after I started. A Polish guy I met up top, and who buddied up with me on the descent for safety, was nice enough to pay my share of the (horse-drawn) cab, and I got to Zakopane at about 10:30. Due to a misleading map on the hostel’s website, however, it took three hours and all of my remaining cell phone credit to actually get a to a shower, and bed.

After a good night’s sleep, my bad left knee (old news) and right ankle (a recent development) have stiffened to the point that walking is both painful and funny-looking. Good thing I’m out of money, or I’d be pissed about not being able to do anything. Oh, and my favorite hat blew off my head and landed in either Slovakia or Poland, so all in all not a high point on the emotional roller-coaster that is backpacking.

I'm headed for the one on the right. With the snowcap.

I'm headed for the one on the right. With the snowcap.

 
The Aussie who gave me that stick probably doesn't know he saved my life.

The Aussie who gave me that stick probably doesn't know he saved my life.

 
This seems like a nice vacation spot, but it was deserted.

This seems like a nice vacation spot, but it was deserted.

 
About here I figured out my trail map wasn't to scale.

About here I figured out my trail map wasn't to scale.

 
Pretty neat trail overall

Pretty neat trail overall

 
I think some of these people were using it as an illegal immigration route.

I think some of these people were using it as an illegal immigration route.

 
First view of the true summit

First view of the true summit

 
I really loved that hat.

I really loved that hat.

 
Not something you see every day

Not something you see every day

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