Stage 34 & 35 : Sarajevo-Trescavica-Kalinovik

20 July 2016

After buying a new trekking pole and eating lots of calories in busy and warm Sarajevo it’s time to leave for the cool Bjelasnica mountains.Not after drinking coffee with Kenan, coordinator of the trail, who wants to know all about my experiences on trail. Asking difficult questions like, what part do you like best?

Uhhmm

Bjelasnica

Because of the coffee I have a late start. I planned on hiking out of town, but it’s way too warm for that now. A taxi brings me to the hotel area at Bjelasnica. There’s quite some preparation going on for the upcoming winter season, but after a few hundred meters I’m back in the silent, white mountains.
Bjelasnica trail to Umoljani

Back on track

A fast hike over a 4×4 track brings me back to Umoljani and after a few km’s next to the road-walk and a few more km’s through farmland (many springs at the side of these roads). I’m at the foot of Visočica mountain. Here I also meet some local people who left the Sarajevo warmth for a cool and relaxing village home in summer.
Trail to Visocica
It’s five in the afternoon: too late to hike up Visočica, too early to stop hiking. Via a walk around the mountain over quiet village roads I reach hut Vrelak. The keeper speaks a little English and there’s cola for sale, the hut is well taken care of and there’s a shower. Yeah!

And then, a small group of hikers arrive. They just climbed the mountain and we chat a little. People being people and being concerned they somehow mistake me for tourist who doesn’t now what she’s up to.

The upcoming hike over the road through Trescavica is, I agree, not the most scenic hike in Bosnia and Herzegovina. ‘No one from here would ever walk that!’ True, thru-hiking is not the same as a day out climbing a peak and riding home afterwards. Sometimes there’s not so spectacular parts to hike, also because there’s mine danger on Trescavica.

When things get clairified they invite me for dinner and as fast as they arrived at Vrelak, they leave (guys I did not even get the chance to ask your names?!).

Up and over Trescavica

Overnight there has been a change of weather; now there’s thick and dark clouds instead of clear blue skies. The first few kilomters are a hike over the road. The drivers of the few cars driving by, stop and ask me about my plans and telling there’s mines at Trescavica, offering me a ride. ‘Yes, I know, thank you for sharing, no thanks’ – in multiple languages.

In the afternoon it’s party time: it rains showers, just as I hike up the boring forest road up Trescavica. Now I wouldn’t mind a ride. Too bad there’s no traffic out here.


Arriving at the top of the road the showers stop and there’s a spring. Upon taking my full Gore-tex suit off, I discover a soaking wet and probably drowned phone in one of my pockets. The phone I bought just over a week ago to replace the one I lost in the dwarf pine bushes at Prenj. How do I manage to do this? Shame, shame, shame, shame, shame on me!

Grumpy Claire hikes on, but it only takes a few rays of sun and nice views to cheer me up, and: a phone is just a thing, if it’s broken I’ll replace it.
Via Dinarica TrescavicaThen there’s a crossing: here the trail goes through the mountains to the town of Kalinovik (longer, more scenic) or it’s the pretty OK and faster road walk to Kalinovik. There’s also pretty impressive clouds being blown in the direction I’m going. I take a break and watch the clouds for a bit and decide to take hike the fast route.

After buying a bag of rice for my phone at one of the convenience stores I check in at the hotel in Kalinovik. A little while later a 24 hour rain-, thunder- and lightning show starts.

Stage 34 and 35 Via Dinarica

Check this link for GPS-tracks and more info about this stage.
Horse in Kalinovik
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This blog has been written on trail and on a mobile phone.

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