It’s another day starting with a climb up a mountain, I guess this will be the trend here in Bosnia. This climb is pretty mellow and when I get to the top I’m giddy to see a nice trail and beautiful green meadows surrounded by jagged peaks. It’s so nice to feel like we’re in the wilderness again. The trail continues with gentle ups and downs passing through stunning scenery, I’m loving it. If there were lakes or streams I would definitely want to take my time and camp up here. Unfortunately water in this whole region is hard to come by because of the karst rock. There’s actually a lot of water, but it’s all flowing deep underground and inaccessible.
We find a spring next to a mountain hut called Vilinac. The hut sits at 1960 meters with incredible views of the Čvrsnica mountain range. It was actually destroyed during the war but rebuilt just five years ago. The hut is locked, so we sit at the tables outside to have lunch and gawk at the views.
After lunch we’re on our way to Hajdučka Vrata, or Rebel’s Gate. It’s a circular rock formation and, judging from the well-marked trail leading to it, a popular destination for hikers. We snap photos and keep hiking.
The trail leads us along ridgetops that remind me of sections of Washington on the PCT and then drops into the trees with steep switchbacks down the mountain. Eventually the trail turns into a rocky Jeep track. I have such a hard time walking on the loose rocks while going downhill, constantly slipping on the rocks under my feet and stumbling. At one point I take a good fall and smash my knee on a rock. It hurts like crazy and I lay in the middle of the road and start tearing up. I shake it off, heave myself and my pack back upright, and reach into my hipbelt pocket for my stash of gummy bears. I always pop a couple when I’m irritated or frustrated and feel like crying. For some reason they make me feel better.
As we near the bottom of the road we pass by a giant landfill. It’s totally unexpected to see it here. We were just in pristine wilderness and now we’re passing by a massive pile of garbage that happens to be situated right next to the river. The whole road is strewn with trash, I’m assuming from the birds, and there’s piles here and there where people have driven up and dumped their garbage.
We’re on the outskirts of a town called Jablanica and we luck out, finding an open field between the road and the river where we set up camp. It’s most likely private land but we’re hidden in a corner and will be out early in the morning. There’s a tree in the field heavy with ripe apples, so we snag a few, bathe in the river, and fall asleep to the soundtrack of Bosnian towns—crickets, barking dogs, and roosters.