Popova Shapka-Tetov vrh-Polana Podeba
Buying resupplies at a small ski-town is risky, and when I enter the mini-markt I instantly see that this resupply is going to ehm adventurous.
I leave the shop with chocolate in any way, shape or form. And, yeah, chocolate makes an interesting combination with the Macedonian summer heath. Luckily I’ve got some proper food in my foodbag left, so it’s not all chocolate and candy I’m bringing.
From Popova Shapka there’s first a not so interesting climb up the ski area.
But after this climb the trail follows a ridge, hitting a few peak along the way. With Titov Vrh. being the highest (2747 m.) and most outstanding; there’s a tower built upon it.
I believe the tower is being renovated, but it’s a mess inside, with people leaving their garbage. It has a nice surprise though; there’s water being collected in it and the water is a welcome treat on this warm day (thank you guys!).
After Tetov it’s a pretty steep hike downhill over gravel and grass according to my GPS-track. There is another marked trail, but it is not on my maps and I cannot read where it is going, so it is the GPS-tracks I’ll follow. After the steep hike downhill I hike another few kilometers and close to the springs of Pena I camp that night.
Another epic day!
The next morning I see two horses and a rider somewhere down a valley. When they pass me by, the rider absolutely wants to take me on one of his horses. I try to explain that I’m fine hiking and that I’m not good with either horses or heights. But ‘no, thank you’ is not an option, I give in and with a little assistance climb up the horse. Riding pretty steep uphill I try to smile and to look happy with the ride, while meanwhile I really don’t enjoy this scary ride at all. Oh, how happy I am when we reach a saddle where he has to wait for someone (or some delivery?) and we part ways.
After this ride there’s more exposed hiking along ridges. Uphill, downhill, uphill, downhill. And repeat this a few times… Along the trail (that isn’t really a trail) there are some clean and some less clean springs and ponds
I end up making my bivouac in a not-so ideal place; somewhere in a very wet and grassy valley. Result: waking up in the middle of the night with a soaking wet sleeping bag and a layer of ice on my bivy…
Leaving the Transversale for mount Korab
Since I am close to mount Korab, the highest peak of both Macedonia and Albania, I leave the Transversale to climb it. It is already two in the afternoon and there are dark clouds appearing in the sky as a reach to foot of the mountain. Now is not a good time to hike up. I find myself a bivy-spot and take the afternoon off relaxing and talking to the few people that come hiking down Korab.
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About the Via Dinarica
Check this blog for more info about hiking the Via Dinarica (including GPS-tracks and waypoints).
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