North Macedonia, Via Dinarica

Mavrovo NP and Stogovo

25 augustus 2016

From Mavrovo I’ve got a few days hiking left to the Transversale terminal at Botún, close to Ohrid. Today, leaving town takes time. First there’s an expedition to a mini-market for snacks and lunch. Then there’s a a few possible trails and having a variety of options I find it hard making a decision.


I end up choosing the shortest and fastest way because rain might be coming. From the lake I hike up another ski area, after this I end up hiking cross country to avoud a hike next to the paved road. The rains comes and gets me soaking wet; my rain gear has been worn out after a few months of intensive use.

When I reach the road there’s a family having a BBQ next to it. Again, I get invited and I am fed delicious fresh vegetables, grilled meat and more. While eating I get to dry my gear next to their campfire. It’s only a few km’s left to the town of Galićnik. They plan to go there anyway and give me a ride and after treating me coffee, they leave me at the hotel. Danke, danke schön!

To Lazaropole

The next day, again leaving town takes time; first there’s a breakfast with *****views to enjoy and then there’s another expedition to a mini-market for snacks and lunch.

Oh and it’s blackberry season! The bushes along the trail are filled with delicious berries. I eat loads and loads of them and I’m not the only one feasting: there’s loads and loads of bear scat out here!

While hiking I have a change of mind; I’m getting a bit lazy and I decide to hike the shortest and the least demanding trail. It is a pleasant, marked trail through a shaded forest, which is nice because the sun is blazing hot. At Lazaropole there’s a mini-market and while enjoying a soda-pop, ice cream and bag of crisps a hotel catches my eye. Instantly I’m done hiking for today and check in.

Babin Srt.

Holiday mode has set in: again, leaving town takes time (breakfast, shower, expedition to mini-market…).

The day starts off with sunshine, however soon there are dark clouds appearing in the sky. When I reach the next village, Gari, it starts trickling. I don’t think the weather will get better today, so I hike on. Taking a lot of breaks, hanging out at a chapel and underneath a tree.

Getting closer to the peak Babin Srt. the trail and markers disappear and now a storm is setting in. Just under the peak I decide to set up my tarp, by now it’s raining cats and dogs and I fear thunder might be coming. Oh and my rain gear is of no use anymore I’m soaking wet and getting cold.

I find myself a sort-of-flat spot and after setting the tarp I set off. I’m out of water and I would really, really like to cook myself something warm. At this altitude there’s no springs, but thanks to the rain I do find a rain puddle from which I manage to scoop a bottle of water. I snug into my sleeping bag and bivy and while I’m preparing myself soup and noodles the thunder and lightning starts.

The storm eventually lies down, but now it’s too late to hike on. As the evening sun comes out, I’m joined by a large flock of sheep.


The next morning it’s a fast hike up to Babin and because I’m out of water and getting thirsty I quickly hike on.

After about an hour I see something looking like a stream running through the landscape and when I get closer I see something glittering; yup it’s a pond and I’m happy sharing it with the local fauna!

Out here the green and rocky mountains have changed to rolling, yellow and grassy hills.

After a few hours I reach an unpaved road. Again there’s loads and loads of blackberries (and bear scat) out here.

And after another few km’s at the village of Crevena Voda the unpaved road changes into a uninspiring paved road and because of my scruffiness I attract an extremely annoying swarm of flies. At a little stream I try to wash myself a bit, but it doesn’t make a difference.

To Ohrid

When I reach the somewhat windy highway to Ohrid the flies finally disappear, oemph. This road is too dangerous to hike, so at the nearby gas station and with a little help from a local I call myself a taxi.

About half an hour later I get dropped off at the hostel, where the owner calls out ‘You look tired, where have you been coming from?’ and ‘You look like the chocolate paste, you need to get to the beach and work on your tan’ – well thank you…

After taking a shower and putting on my scruffy clothes again I celebrate finishing my tru-hike with calories, sleep, calories, sleep, calories and sleep.


About the Via Dinarica

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This blog has been written on trail and on a mobile phone.

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