Today we get to summit a series of mountains. There’s an initial steep uphill but once I’m on top it’s another game of connect the dots as I follow the spine of the mountain range. Once again there’s no official trail, just the dots to guide you, but it’s really easy to see where I need to go. There are 360 degree views from up there and the clouds are swirling around the peaks and it’s pretty cold and windy. The first summit is Mali Vran (“little Vran”), then Vran, then Veliki Vran (“big Vran”). And another peak thrown in there too, Bijela glava.
Despite staying up on the spine of the mountains it still ends up being a ton of climbing and by the last peak my legs are spent. We bypass the official trail, avoiding a downhill described as “mean on the knees” and take a less steep alternate we see on the map. We’re not sure what happens but our maps are off and after a while we realize we’re heading in the complete wrong direction. We backtrack up the mountain a bit, get super frustrated, and end up bushwhacking straight down the mountain. We can see where we need to go, the highway way down below. It’s exhausting and annoying and we’re fighting all sorts of bushes and pine trees. We’d have been better off just taking the steep route down. We thought today would be a short easy day, but Bosnia is proving to be more challenging than we’d expected.
Finally reaching the highway, our reward for the miserable afternoon is a late lunch at a famous old school Bosnian hotel/restaurant called Hajdučke Vrleti. It’s really fancy but they don’t seem to mind that we’re dirty, sweaty, and disheveled with pine needles in our hair. The food is absolutely delicious! We both order the trout—a whole grilled trout with potatoes, creamed spinach and rice, fresh herbed olive oil, and homemade bread. I also get the biggest beer I can, a .5L German beer called Schneider Weiss. I hope I can find it again! We stay for a few hours, enjoying the air conditioning and ice water and sopping up every last bit of olive oil with the bread.
We leave with full bellies and walk just a few miles to a mountain hut in a village called Masna Luka to camp for the night.