Mount Poľana is a volcanic mountain in the heart of Slovakia and we can definitely call it a wilderness. Its crater is home to various species of animals, with the biggest bear population in Slovakia. It seems like a perfect place to escape the Coronavirus madness and spend a few days in the forest.
We packed my campervan with bikes and supplies and set on the road. When we started to come close to the mountain, we started to notice small white fields and that was not the best sign. It was the spring at its best in the rest of the country, but not here. An old abandoned hotel from the Soviet era is standing near the outer circle of the old volcano, not really far from the top of the mountain. Lucky for us the road was melted from the snow so we could drive up to the hotel and park my mobile home there.
The hotel is a part of a larger skiing resort complex, but it all looks like a ghost town now. No skiers here even if there is still plenty of snow, and that snow is a problem for us, we really did not expect that. We decided to grab our bikes and check out the top of the mountain if we can find some places to ride and to shoot.
Lucky for us, we approached the mountain from the southern side so the sun melted most of the alpine meadows, but there was still some packed snow in the shadow of the tress. We followed an old hiking path that, I used to know from childhood trips with my parents. Some tourists went up before us, so the track in the snow was pretty wide and solid. I tried to ride a few meters down, and It was pretty good and funny, so we started with shooting some pics.
After 2 hours of pushing the bike through the snow, we finally reached the summit. Had some snacks and a little rest, and talked about what we are going to do. We heard about a famous rock cliff, from which you could see High Tatras, the jewel of our country and the highest mountain range. It should be a 15 minutes walk from the top to the north. Well, not in the snow. We found ourselves struggling for an hour, in knee-deep snow.
We finally reached the rock, and we were blown away by the beauty. You could see endless forests, and no sign of human settlement, just wilderness. You can really get lost there. That is what we wanted to do, but it will have to wait for a month or two until all the snow is gone. We both argued that the riding in the snow is more a struggle than an enjoyment so we packed our bags grabbed our bikes and started our journey back to the car. Sometimes it is better to know when you should turn around and this was the time, nature did not want us here yet.
Words and riding: Viktor Novak
Pictures: Jakub Majerciak - redpoint.sk