If you're off for a hike in Vysoke Tatry always pack warm and waterproof clothes even in summer. The weather in the mountains can change from sunshine to heavy rain or snow within minutes. I also recommend good hiking shoes, trainers are definetly not good enough.
It may sound like a funny tip, never mind. I myself don't know whether the danger was real or imaginary, but what happened to us then was certainly alarming, to say the least.
That year we went to visit the High Tatras soon after a strong gale, which had uprooted or broken lots of Canadian spruce trees, which are not indigenous to the area and too weak to withstand the hard conditions. Anyway there were masses of them lying around on the mountain slopes and obviously the TANAP ( Tatransky National Park) authorities wanted to make use of them. First, they had to transport them down the slopes and then off to the sawmills. As there were so many of the logs they were carried by helicopters. One of them was just standing in Pol'ana pod Muran'om when we arrived. My husband, like all true men, examined the helicopter from all sides and then we sat down on some benches in the distance. We could see some workmen fastening a loadful of logs to the underside of the helicopter, but thought it didn't concern us in any way as we were so far. We had seen more helicopters flying in the opposite direction, away from us and thought this one would too. Then all of a sudden the machine took off with a roar and went straight for us with the loadful of logs dangling from it, one of them having definitely been not fastened properly and sticking out. The helicopter was still flying low and we thought the logs might hit us. We started running away but it was pointless. The helicopter came very close to us and then turned round and went off in the same direction as the other machines before it. As far as I know a helicopter doesn't need a runway and the pilot could have taken the right course straight away. So what was it, a joke to scare off the nosey Poles? They had heard us talk in Polish before.
The trails in the Tatras are all marked and signposts tell you the approximate time you need to reach your goal. But time may be relative to where you are. On the Polish side of the Tatras the signposts give you plenty of time on any trail so that you reach your destination pleased with yourself for having covered the distance within less than the prescribed time. In Slovakia, on the other hand, you should add an hour or two to what the sign says, unless you can walk really fast, without any stopovers on the way. This is particularly important if you still have a long distance to go and night is approaching. You'd better not take the risk of walking at night unless you have a good torch. A group of friends of mine had miscalculated the time and came home at 2 am, after having lost the way in the dark. From what they said they must have been pleased to return at all. Without a torch, they had been walking holding on to one another just a few metres from the right trail, with a precipice on their right. We had already informed the rescue services - there were no mobile phones then so we didn't know what had happened. But they only told us to wait a little more.
When hiking in the Tatra Mountains you should never be tempted to take a 'shorter' way. Too many people have paid for that with their lives. You may easily get lost and be unable to get back to any marked trail, or find the way you have taken ends in a precipice.
It is also dangerous because of wild animals, particularly bears, which usually don't approach the trails.
The signs 'NESKRACUJTE CHODNIKY' have not been put there to spite you but for your safety only.
The mountains are large and the space between them is vast so take extra precaution not to get lost. Every 100 feet or so there is a trail mark that guids you. Make sure not to wander off, there are bears and other wild animals in the woods!
Remember, it's a national park and there are some rules you *have* to respect. For an example you are not allowed to hike some more dangerous footpaths without a rented Slovakian guide. But if you have visited other national parks you alredy know how to behave...
Weather here is always changing so you need all possible equipment in your bag ;) Be careful when going elsewhere there are often many bad news on TV that someone felt down ...