Rain. Two full days of rain after leaving Fužine. Including thunder and lightning. Oh and hail too.
A hiker I met in one of the doms’ told me this area is known for the bad weather. Seven days of rain is supposed to be quite common. Because of the rain (and the lack of people out here) I saw a lot of bear signs; paw prints, scratching on trees and scat.
I stayed at the Sklonište Bitorajska (a shelter with a wood stove and water collected from the roof into a watertank). It’s a little off trail but it kept me warm and dry, which I needed after even getting my underwear soaking wet. I didn’t get a lot of sleep; there’s a pack of dormice (Puh) living in this shelter. Meeting the Puh was definitely not love at first sight.
I hiked the Dinara-route to Bitorajska, but it might also be possible to hike from the town of Vrata, close to Fužine, up to Bitorajka. This saves a lot of kilometers.
The trail seems at certain parts not to be used a lot. Again a lot of plants growing, fallen trees on the trail and again bushwhacking (old markings were sometimes visible). Not very well maintained, but doable, although I did a lot of sliding because of the very wet conditions. I choose to road walk the last part to the town of Tuk. I did not meet a single person on a weekend’s day. Bitorajska does get a lot of visitors, according to the trail register.
After another very rainy day I stayed at planinarski dom Bijele Stijene in Tuk. There was a hiker meeting, so a lot people and free bean soup. They left that afternoon and I had the hut to myself (if I promised to close the door after leaving the next morning). The shower and warmth were welcome after two very rainy days.
Stage 7 starts quite easy. First, road walking, then a forest road and then the trail. There’s this very nice shelter, Ratkovo sklonište, a little off trail which is built against/in a cave and a must see. Especially since there’s water (again being collected from the roof).
Then the trail gets slowly demanding; climbing over and under trees, scrambling, rock climbing, chains and stairs. As a reward there’s stunning views on the white Karst rocks!
Luckily for me today was a day without rain, which made hiking it (on trail runners and carrying a 40 liter backpack) way easier. Hiking this stage took a lot of time and energy. I decided to stay the night at Sklonište Miroslav Hirtz (also inhabited by Puh), with a well close by.
Stage 6 & 7 Via Dinarica
This blog been written on trail and on a mobile phone.