At the end of the month I’d like to look back on where I’ve been, what I did and how I felt. I’ll use my Instagram photos to do so. Here’s August’s photo story, a real real sunny August in the Macedonian mountains. And a little bit of Prizren.
The way up
Wow wow wow, I’m impressed! Ljuboten, Sharr, Macedonia. The trail, a never-ending ridge walk on the border. I like. I love. Wow wow wow.
I was excited, been looking forward to come here and yes, I of course had high expectations. Often those expectations are the actual fun-killers. Instagram doesn’t help neither. Elina @wayfarover wrote about Plitvice that she has seen so many photos on Instagram that she didn’t have this wow-effect when came to visit the National Park. Don’t remember her exact words, but I totally understand.
On Sharr it’s not only about what you see, it’s what you feel. The experience. This mountain is so incredibly overwhelming. Or well, let’s not put that as a fact, because it isn’t. I felt so incredibly overwhelmed. I féél overwhelmed. Overwhelmed, amazed and impressed – all in a good way.
Oh and Ljuboten! Think I fell in love with this one here. My oh my. So, I’m sorry if I am helping you raise high expectations, but I can’t imagine that you’ll be disappointed. Unless you hate nature and mountains. And views. And hiking 😉 .
From Štrpce I hiked up to Ljuboten, climbed the steep path up to the top and descended to the hut. This is where the Macedonian Traverse starts, a mountain pathway from Ljuboten to Ohrid. Some call it Via Dinarica, but technically these are not the Dinaric Alps. Šar or Sharr mountain is a phenomenon on it’s own. Nevertheless I include this trail in my Via Dinarica journey more like an extension. And so far it’s been amazing. Prepare yourself for a whole lot of Šar-spam!
“Stop thinking such dark thoughts, I told myself. As if trying to avoid a huge wave, I clung to a rock at the bottom of the sea and held my breath. The wave would surely pass. You’re just tired, I told myself, and overwrought. Grab on to what’s real. It doesn’t matter what – just grab something real.” ~ Haruki Murakami, Man-eating cats
To Titov Vrv
Got a visitor from NL to join me! On our way to Titov vrh, not particularly an easy hike to start with, but we’re still smiling 😃
To the Traverse…
“Eva, what do you think of that cloud?” “Nothing, just a cloud.” I was wrong. Still find it incredibly difficult to read the weather. I think I generally make the right decision, but I’m never 100% sure. How can I be? Who am I to know it all? Perhaps it’s me, perhaps it’s the mountains. I did grow big respect for mountain guides though. Hiking is one thing, people call me brave, but feeling confident enough to take responsibility for others as well, that’s a totally different story. Respect!
Because of the unstable weather we decided to go down on the Kosovo side of Sharr mountain. We hitchhiked to Prizren where we waited out the bad weather for one day. The next day we went back to the mountains. Clouds were still a bit unpredictable, but who said we HAVE to hike?
After one week with Rosa I’m back on my own again. Feels weird. Luckily the mountains are still there. From Popova Shapka I made my way to Bogovinjsko Ezero where I planned to camp. Despite a fairly late start I arrived way before camp-time, so I went on. Happy I did, the view from the other side is way better and more important, no dogs.
Back on the Traverse
Here I saw a bear. He’s not in the frame because unlike dogs, bears run away. Haven’t got any dog photo neither, because that’s when I’m running away 😉
I have been super lucky with finding so much water this year. I’ve been told that Sharr is very dry in August, but I didn’t have to worry at all. Happy that all the rain in June in the end has turned out to be a good thing (for me).
More Macedonian mountains
When I arrived in a little village named Gari I was not the only one there. Apparently I was just in time for one of the most popular holidays in Macedonia. Not sure what it’s called in English, but I assume it’s Holy Mary’s assumption which is celebrated on the 28th of August. I stayed three days and whenever the music was a bit too much for me I went for a walk up to the cross. Silently looking out over the village.