The High Tatras were definitely the highlight of my week, not even because the mountains were absolutely stunning (they were) or because running down the snowy mountains was incredibly fun (it was) but again because of the people I was with. We’d been concerned about the weather, but though it was really cold, it was sunny and gorgeous with only a few clouds. The wind, however, was dangerous and I felt as though I might be blown away.

The chairlift we were planning to take to the top of the mountain was unfortunately closed, but the view was still gorgeous.

When I think of hiking in snow, I think of Yellowstone in May when one ends up hiking through soft powder with progressively wetter feet and cold limbs. Surprisingly, when I wasn’t slipping everywhere and falling flat over ice, I really enjoyed the snow. It made going downhill a lot faster because I could run without worrying about tripping over rocks and sticks as I’m prone to do.

We got back relatively late, and hit the road again. After almost another five hours of driving, the end of which on a series of small windy roads–“Does your friend live on Angel’s Landing?” my friend joked–we arrived in Olomučany and I had the strangest mix of emotions. My friend in Olomučany, who’d seen me bawling while leaving Yellowstone for two consecutive summers, probably wasn’t surprised to find my eyes watering as I entered their home. While it was another tough goodbye, I’m so incredibly grateful to my three friends for taking me to the Tatras.