Nature Field Note

Tatra Mountains of Slovakia

Abstract: The Tatra Mountains are a beautiful place with many species of animals, glacial lakes, and trees as far as the eye can see. The plants and animals there live in harmony with the hikers who frequent the trails.

Introduction:  Hiking is an incredible way to experience the wondrous diversity of nature. Last weekend, I went hiking in the Tatra Mountains in Slovakia, a country bordering the Czech Republic.

What does this location look like?

Last weekend, I went on a wonderful trip to the Tatra Mountains in Slovakia. On this trip, I was able to experience the majestic beauty of the mountains and many aspects of nature along the hike. We saw two glacial lakes, which were formed from glaciers that eroded the land to create a hole and then melted (Trengove). The first one was located at the beginning of the hike, and the second was a great reward at the end of a long hike. When we got there, after a long walk, we were able to relax and enjoy the beauty and serenity of the lake. Along the path, we saw many different trees, mosses, and patches of snow.

How did I feel when I saw it?

At the beginning of the hike, I was a little tired and grumpy from a lack of sleep. Once I got going and started to see the beautiful mountain views and snowy peaks, I woke up quickly. I was blown away by the tranquil atmosphere of the mountains! All of my worries disappeared as I took in the scenery. Being from a culture where technology plays such a huge role in my day-to-day life, it was wonderful to be able to spend a day in nature without worrying about what time it was or who was texting me!

Being in this incredible natural landscape also made me think about the forces of nature that created this mountain range. How long did it take for these mountains to form? I wish I could have had more time to stop and enjoy the many amazing spots along the hike, but this was difficult since we were with a very large group.

Where is it located?

The High Tatras Mountains are in the north of Slovakia on the border with Poland. These mountains are separated into two different mountain ranges. There are the High Tatras in the north and Low Tatras in the south. As you could probably guess, the High Tatras are higher mountains. The area of the mountains that we hiked was called Štrbské Pleso in the High Tatras. This area is popular with hikers and tourists visiting for winter sports. I learned that these mountains formed about 250 to 300 million years ago with the oldest parts even being over 400 million years old (Trengove).

What thrives here?

The Tatra Mountains and the creatures that live in the mountains exist together in harmony. Some common predatory animals in the High Tatras are bears, Eurasian lynxes, foxes and wolves. The mountains also contain a variety of other animals. There are over 1,000 species of plants growing in these mountains. Forty of these plants are endemic to the area which means that they are not found elsewhere. Many of these plants are considered endangered species (Vysoke Tatry).

What can harm this creature? Are we worried about it?

The Tatra Mountains, like many other mountain ranges in the world, are endangered by human interference with nature. These dangers include pollution, tourism, and cutting down large amounts of trees. Humans have also contributed to soil erosion and other damage to the mountains.

Cut down trees

Towards the end of the hike, we walked down a long path with cleared trees all around us. There were tree stumps as far as the eye can see. What probably used to be a beautiful landscape looked lonely and barren. It looked like humans had cut down the trees from this beautiful forest to use the wood. Although wood is important for industry, seeing this empty landscape made me wonder how long it would take for humans to clear an entire mountain or an entire mountain range. This reminded me of the importance of living in harmony with nature. If we continue to expand with the idea that the earth is ours for the taking, what will be left for our childrens’ children? I am hopeful for a new generation of students like you who will fight for preservation of natural resources and sustainable alternatives that would help save our beautiful planet.

 

Trengove, Mark. “Introduction to the High Tatras.” Peaklist. 2005. Web. 8 May 2013. <http://www.peaklist.org/WWlists/euro600/tatra/tatraintro.html&gt;.

Vysoke Tatry. Web. 8 May 2013. <http://www.vysoketatry.org/&gt;.

 

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