Another perfect morning. Deep blue sky and fresh air. It just doesn't get much better than this
First on the menu is descent from Kapetanovo jezero
to main road through Moraca
canyon. There are few steep sections with large loose rocks. Let's just say that it was good I wasn't going in the opposite direction, uphill :)
I'm riding very slowly, trying to soak in all this natural beauty. Stopping every few corners to take some photos. In Velje Duboko
village it's time for a short break. By this time air is getting very hot so the ice cold mountain stream comes as a gift. Two minutes after I finished refreshing my self a cow came to that same spot. It got into the stream, started drinking and than took a massive dump in water, which didn't interrupt drinking process. I was so glad she arrived few minutes after me and not the other way 'round
After that road became better and it was soon one lane tarmac.
I came down from those peaks in the background
Few more kilometers and I'm on a main road leading to Kolasin
town. When I said that I was taking it easy, it took me almost two hours for these first 25 km
This is actually old tarmac. It deteriorated so badly that it looks more like gravel now
It was a short and fun ride to Kolasin. It would be even better if there was less traffic.
From Kolasin I'm off the main road, moving toward Lipovo
I bet you newer saw one of these :)
Pavement ends and road begins to climb. With every meter of gained altitude nature becomes more and more attractive. And it's a long way up
As I was saying...
And then, as I got closer to the pass, nature started to change. Almost unnoticeably and yet so suddenly you get out of the forest and into this grass and rock covered landscape. All that in less than one kilometer. Once on a plateau you're in for a treat, 25 km of this, almost alien, beautiful landscape.
Dirt road covered with rocks doesn't allow for fast riding (at least for me). By this time I was tired and exhausted from all the heat. Lunch break, short nap in bikes shadow... Lying there, it the middle of nowhere, I was enjoying solitude, peace and serenity of this place. I have no words to express my feelings...
With my batteries recharged I move on. After some time I caught something with corner of my eye. A shrub... After several hours (what? I told you that I'm riding slowly
) of nothing but grass and occasional rock it was so strange to see anything else... After that first shrub many followed. Surrounding hills were once again covered with trees.
Suddenly road became much better, almost perfect gravel. Time to speed the things up. Perfect gravel gives way to a perfect paved road. Narrow, twisty but open... Time to speed thing up even more. Aggressive riding after slow day, just what the doctor ordered
Next stop is Durmitor
national park, town of Zabljak
. This is popular tourist destination so it's very crowded. Not my vision of a holiday in nature. I refuel and restock on food. Time to consider my options. By this time it was late afternoon and I wanted to ride Piva
canyon and do offroad circle around Durmitor. It would be dark by the time I was done and I don't fancy looking for camp spots in darkness. There are few camp sites in Zabljak and I decide to check them out. That way I could leave all my gear there and it wouldn't matter if I come back after dark. One campsite is located in empty parcel, surrounded by houses. Other one is in somebodies front and back yard. No way I'm paying for that...
Decision time: I'm sticking to original plan. I'll just shorten canyon ride and find some place to wild camp. Of course, sticking to my tradition, by that time I was feeling time pressure. That meant I won't be enjoying following ride as much as it deserves which is a real shame.
Road from Zabljak to Trsa
and then Pluzine
is a real gem. It's paved, nice and twisty with amazing scenery. I enjoy riding, despite being nervous. I hardly stop to take any pictures which says a lot (sun was low, scenery stunning, perfect time for photography).
Now it's time to push stress levels off the chart. On a pass I stop to take another picture. As I put my foot down it slips on a gravel at the edge off the road. Moment later bike is on it's side. I manage to pick it up on first attempt. Sort of... Bike is almost upright, I have to take just one more step. Needless to say, gravel is still slippery so there's no way I'm going to make it... After few more attempts bike is finally up. I'm completely exhausted. At least photos turned out OK
When natural forces are at play results are amazing. Every single time
Descent to Piva
canyon is unbelievable. Guy who engineered that road should receive a medal or something... Hairpins in tunnels, crossroad in tunnel. Just amazing.
After a short break it's time to head back to Durmitor. Road is paved all the way to Nedajno
village, at the edge of 'jjjjSusicki
From there it's only a short downhill ride to lake Susicko jezero
where I'll be spending a night. Being at bottom of the deep canyon means the Sun was long gone.
There is a restaurant/mountain hut by the lake (it's called Susicko
, meaning "Drying" because it only appears in spring time when the snow melts) but now it was closed. There was nobody around. A spring, table with benches, a fireplace... Almost perfect camping spot. It was easy decision to stay here for the night.
You now that feeling when after whole day of listening to engine and wind noise it all suddenly stops? And then you slowly start to notice sounds of nature
Any trace of pressure and nervousness was gone in a heartbeat.
By the time I pitched my tent it was starting to get dark. I heard voices coming from distance. I was looking forward to some company for the night because, quite frankly, I still don't feel comfortable camping in wilderness. After some 10-15 minutes father and his 10 year old son arrived. They had no backpacks which was little strange considering time of the day and location. It turns out that they went for a short walk, leaving their car on a pass where my bike tipped over. After they climbed a peak father decided to take a different track back (after listening to somebodies advice). Unfortunately for them that "different track" meant they are now 15-20km off tough terrain away from their car (some 40 km away on normal road). They had no food, no water, no warmer clothes. We unsuccessfully tried to break into mountain hut. Since it was so late they refused food, took just a short break and moved on. Bad thing for them is that there are only two ways out of that canyon and both are steep and uphill. Closest village is some 7 km away, uphill and in growing darkness... Boy was real trooper. He never complained and just did what had to be done. I bet he will remember that day for a long time.
Night was warm and I enjoyed a tea from freshly picked mint by the fire. What a day :)