Looking back on August: Macedonian mountains

Categories Looking Back

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.

Prizren

Prizren
View on Prizren, taking a few days off here
Prizren docufest
As we are, Prizren Docu Fest

The way up

Up to the Macedonian mountains
To Strbacko Jezero
Hiking trail Štrpce to Ljuboten
Yay an hiking trail!
Towards the Macedonian mountains
That lake

SHARR

Sharr, Macedonian mountains it is!
Sharr mountain 🙂

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.

Ljuboten

Ljuboten transale Macedonia
Ljuboten

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 😉 .

Ljuboten peak, Macedonian mountains
Weird way to mark a peak, Ljuboten
Ljuboten - Sharr - Macedonian mountains
Next day it’s Ljuboten again

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!

Macedonian Traverse

Connecting the dots, Macedonian mountains
Connecting the dots…
Spot the dot, Macedonian mountains
Spot the dot
Dark thoughts, Macedonian mountains
Just before dark

“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

Tentview day 2 Macedonian mountains
Tentview day 2 Macedonian mountains 💚

To Titov Vrv

With Rosa in the Macedonian mountains
Rosa is here!

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 😃

Hiking Titov Vrv
Rosa in actie
Waterfilter
Eva in actie

To the Traverse…

Macedonian Transversale
After Titov

“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!

Camping cooking
Cooking between storms

Kosovo detour

Kosovo on the Macedonian Transversale
A little bit of Kosovo on the Macedonian Traverse
Prizren selfie
Back in Prizren

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?

Zitadelle
An afternoon well spend, watching clouds & staring at mountains at “mountain hut” Zitadelle

Exploring Sharr

Leshnica to Popova Shapka
Last but not least: the scenic route from Leshnica to Popova Shapka.
Bogovinjsko Ezero
Bogovinjsko Ezero

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

Macedonian mountains, Hiking beyond borders
Hiking beyond borders
More Sharr
More Sharr 💚
Sweet sweet Sharr
Sweet sweet Sharr
Where I saw a bear
Our Wild

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 😉

Trekbarefoot
Barefoot Trek

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).

Lera peak, Macedonian mountains
Never-ending hills, almost there: Lera peak

Mavrovo

Mavrovo Ezero
First view on Mavrovo Ezero
Old sunken church, Mavrovo
Old sunken church

More Macedonian mountains

Gari, macedonian mountains
Gari

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.

Babin Srt
Babin Srt, last peak on the Transversale

Ohrid

Ohrid
Ohrid
Trpejca
Trpejca
Sleeping on the beach
Dobro jutro!

Support & Coffee

Patreon | Eva Smeele is creating stories about her hiking adventures
And yes, I accept your support. Feel free to drop a donation and enable me to keep this blog going! Take a second to find out more on my Patreon page.

Become a Patron

Or

Schrijft verhalen || Wandelt op de Balkan

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.