If you like mountains, you will indeed like running into their cute residents once in a while. Especially when your steps are observed by this cutie:
This fellow is a Tatra chamois (Kamzík vrchovský tatranský). The critically endangered species calls Tatra mountains in Slovakia and Poland it’s home. Since 1960 the population declined rapidly, in 2000 only 160 individuals were counted. An environmental program was implemented in 2001 to save Tatra chamois.
And what a success it was!
By the end of 2016 the census showed 1.376 individuals, the highest number of the last 10 years. Thanks to that, hikes in the High Tatras not only offer magnificent views, but you can literally be followed by a little chamois companion on your walk…
There are many beautiful hikes in the High Tatras, where you can spot them, but here is our favorite one. It leads to Jahňací Štít – literally translated as Lamb Peak (2.229 m a.s.l.) – in the north-eastern part of High Tatras. The starting point is the bus stop/parking Biela Voda between Tatranské Matliare and Kežmarské Žľaby. You start the hike following the path to Zelené Pleso (Green Lake), where you can get some refreshments at the mountain hut Chata pri Zelenom plese (The Hut by the Green Lake).
After passing the hut, a challenging ascent awaits. But the path is very well marked by yellow hiking sign.
All in all get ready for about 20 km of hiking with about 1.300 m of ascent/descent. It usually takes about 8 hours. But you can also spend the night at the Chata pri Zelenom plese (prior booking required), split the hike in two and enjoy a magnificent mountain sunrise.
The hike is definitely worth the trouble. Views towards Slovakia on one side and Poland on the other are spectacular. Especially since little chamois companions follow your path while leaking salt of the stones after a long winter.