On July 14th the language program students at Jagiellonian University (this is the four week language program the UF Study Abroad kiddo’s are attending) went to Zakopane, a town in southern Poland, and hiked through the Tatra Mountains.

First off, the mountains were absolutely beautiful. We lucked out with perfect weather: sunny with a chilly wind and puffy white clouds dotting the bright blue sky. One of those Kodak iPhone moments, you know?

At first we started off hiking through the mountains, not really up or down them. And just when we started to get bored, our guides took us on a little detour.

First we climbed up piles of loose rocks. No big deal, right? Just try not to twist your ankle.

Once we get through the rocky mountain pass we see a steep ladder. A very steep ladder.

We climb up the ladder one by one until we reach what looks like an impassable cliff face. There are chains mounted into the rock, and link by link we hang onto the chain for dear life while we literally scale the side of this mountain.

Once we get to the top we enter into a cave, where we only have light from our guide’s headlamp. The moment he’s out of sight, you can’t see your hand in front of your face. Not that you really try, because you’re still clinging to your chain so you don’t slide down the cave and knock over your friends like bowling pins.

After about ten to fifteen meters of slight panic mixed with exhilaration and adventure, you pop yourself out of the cave like a meerkat.

And behold, the sight before you is beautiful. You’re high up in the mountains, looking down over the valley you were walking through, and now you get to practically roll down a hill back to your bus and Kraków.

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Mountain Climbing 101

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