Following the trail uphill I’m suddenly standing in the middle of a farm. With the sheep still in the fold, a dog comes barking at me.
And another one.
And another one. Within a few seconds I’m surrounded by five, fierce and loud barking dogs. They’re pretty, pretty close. Close like in almost touching me. I try not to act impressed, or -even worse- scared (where’s the herder?!).
I got my hiking poles, but no way I’m using those. Me against five dogs, protecting their property and sheep. No, I don’t think I’d have a chance.
Then the herder comes out and the dogs are gone within a second. I give the guy a high five. Yeah I’m not impressed at all (uhuh).
Up to Korab
I, now awake, resume my hike up to Korab. The trail is clear, there’s markers everywhere and there are a lot of springs along the way; this is like a walk in the park!
At the top I take a few photo’s and quickly resume my hike. There are some dark clouds in the sky and I’d rather not hike downhill in the rain.
The trail down is, I guess, a less often hiked route. Pretty soon after the top there’s a steep downhill-over-gravel-good-luck-finding-your-way-thing. Not my favorite. Not on trailrunners. Not with my backpack.
From here to Mali Korab (the small one) there are some markers and sometimes there’s a trail. After Mali Korab, all the way down to Ribnica, there’s (mostly) a trail and/or marking. The hike is a looooong way down, but the clouds have disappeared by now and the sun is out again.
At the trail I meet two hikers, who actually recognize me. They read about my hike on the Facebook-page of one of the local mountain clubs, pretty cool!
Getting close to Ribnica, following the tracks on my GPS, I end up in a nasty bushwhack/wrestling/mean plants-exercise. After hiking Korab and over 20 km’s I’m a bit tired and not in the mood for bushwhacking. The way these evil plants grow make backtracking uphill impossible. I manage to whack my way through, ending up with scratched and bleeding body parts and an, now, even more shabby looking t-shirt.
Why did I follow the GPS-track instead of a marked trail?
At Ribnica the trail makes a 270° turn, going back uphill. After Korab, the hike downhill and the bushwhack I’m kind of demotivated. A shower and a restaurant are what I am craving for.
So I set in marching tempo to the main road, from where I want to hitch to Mavrovo. At Mavrovo I’m back at the Transversale again. It’s getting late and hitching in the dark isn’t the wisest thing to do, but here in the canyon aren’t any spots for bivouac either.
Just before reaching the crossing with the main road I see a proper camping spot, but I also hear loud voices.
It’s a bunch of men having a BBQ. I greet them and they instantly set me down and feed me wine and the BBQ leftovers. They are all from this area, working abroad and here for holidays. One of them even works in Nova Goriza, the place where I started my hike. Those leftovers taste so good. Hmmm fresh vegetables, sausage and bread! All things I don’t carry in my backpack.
Asking about my plans they offer a ride to Mavrovo and before arranging me a stay at an apartment two of the guys take me to a café, feeding me a big hamburger and drinks – a ‘no thank you, because I really had enough eating your leftovers and my stomach isn’t used to large amounts of food anymore’ isn’t an option – so I sit and eat, trying to speak some kind of Italian/German and I feel like a very shabby and tired princess.
About the Via Dinarica
Check this blog for more info about hiking the Via Dinarica (including GPS-tracks and waypoints).
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This blog has been written on trail and on a mobile phone.