Thursday, 12 November 2009

Wow! This is hardcore.


Wow, what a walk! We headed off on the road which tracks the southern and western sides of Durmitor NP and parked up near to the bottom of the peak of Stozica as there was snow on the road ahead.

We walked down into the silent, vast U-shaped valley with steep, pine-covered sides giving way to breathtakingly steep cliffs which jutted out, above the clouds. The path ran beside a deep green, menacing glacial lake which shuddered and turned black with the gusts of icy wind that blasted down from the snowy mountain tops.

We walked separately, over rough, tussocky ground, enjoying the emptiness.

The hike along the valley soon turned from a gradual incline to a fair old climb, and with the altitude came increasingly thick snow underfoot. The skies had been darkening since we had begun and as we reached around 1800 metres, we could see swirling snow-clouds heading our way. The sleet gave way to full-on snow and everything around us started to disappear into the murk. Usually, in the depths of the Montenegrin wilderness, you would be getting a bit worried at this point. But it was impossible to get lost as the landscape was open, the valley ran in a straight line and we had compasses. Barring injury (like a sprained ankle!), we were fine. So we just gritted teeth and trudged onwards and upwards towards the col (Sedlo) where it joined up with the road at 1908 metres.

And we made it. And it was incredible – the views from either side of the col were incredible. Thunder rumbled distantly and we sat on our gloves, on a snow-covered bench and hastily ate our sarnies and my homemade cake.

Then being total chickens (or sensible sailors), we walked the snow-bound, winding road all the way back down. Just in case.

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