Winter crossing of Slovakia – Cesta SNP trail
Cesta Hrdinov Slovenského národného povstania (eng. Trail of Slovak National Uprising’s Heroes), in short: Cesta Hrdinov SNP, is the longest marked trail in Slovakia and probably the longest in the whole Carpathian Mountains. It commemorates the fight of Slovak insurgents during the occupation of the Third Reich and the liberation of Slovakia, 1939-1945.
It begins on Przełęcz Dukielska (Pass of Dukla), on the Polish border and finish at the Devin, near Bratislava. But red marks of the trail start even earlier, in the Bukovskie Vrchy mountain range, near the border with Ukraine, the easternmost place in Slovakia. From there it’s about 841 km to capital, Bratislava. Although regularly done during summer season, mostly by Slovak tourists, no winters thru-hike has been recorded so far. The purpose of my trip was the winter thru-hike of the Cesta SNP trail in January and February 2014.
Winter has changed a lot on that trail, which is technically simple during summer. Many sections were covered with deep snow and blocked by fallen trees. Temperatures have dropped well below -15 °C. Overall conditions slowed not only my march, but all bivouac activities. Weeks of difficult walking were great lesson of winter hiking. After 37 days I finished it, reaching the end of the trail, on the coast of the Danube River, below the rock of Devin.