We take three full days off in Mostar. The first day I feel terrible and weak and achy all over so I sleep all day. I think I just needed rest because the next day I still feel weak, but so much better. We have a great Air BnB right in old town and the rest of the time we wander around in the sweltering heat to do some sightseeing but mostly hang out in our air conditioned apartment and watch Netflix. I want to experience more of the city, it’s beautiful here, but it’s so hot and crowded and we really just want to relax.
We leave Mostar on Monday morning and get a hitch pretty quickly. It takes two hitches to get us back up to the mountain and we are back on the trail. Well, actually road. It’s a gravel road but the scenery is really pretty and it feels good to be walking again, even though our packs are super heavy with 5 days worth of food. It’s a short day today, just about 12 miles to Boračko Lake. We find a grassy beach area where people are hanging out and spend a few hours there swimming and napping. I don’t know why we’re so tired after so many days off!
We head out in the late afternoon to find a place to camp. We end up walking about 3 more miles until we reach a suspension bridge that crosses the river. There’s a nice wide section of trail just after the bridge so we decide to just set up camp right on trail. We never see any other hikers so we figure it’ll be ok. Of course as soon as we get in our tents people start walking by. Some going fishing, some maybe walking to the next village, it’s annoying but we end up sleeping just fine regardless.
I feel real sluggish in the morning and the trail is all uphill, and even at 7 am it’s already so hot. There’s a steep climb to a ridgeline that we follow with some great views, then the trail dips down into overgrown brush. My neck starts hurting from ducking under the low branches and I feel a little dizzy from the heat.
We stop for lunch at a cemetery above a field filled with sheep grazing. The shepherd comes over to chat but doesn’t speak English so we don’t get very far. The afternoon sucks the life out of me. It’s more uphill and then follows the edge of the canyon. The views are amazing but I begin to lose appreciation for them after hours of stumbling on uneven terrain in the heat with bugs swarming all around my sweaty face. I lose the trail and add another mile or so backtracking. I’m so relieved when I finally reach Lukomir, an old medieval shepherd’s village that apparently has become a tourist destination. There’s a fountain with cold drinking water on the main street and I guzzle a liter—water has never tasted so good! I find the restaurant in town where Express has been waiting for me and collapse at the table. Luckily Express has made friends with the restaurant owner, Nrsid, and he’s letting us camp in his yard for the night. I get a glass of red wine to drink with my PB&J dinner and Nrsid pours Express a shot of his homemade cherry rakija. We stay up late (for us) chatting with Nrsid and crawl into our tents with the sound of distant cowbells and sheep baa-ing around us.
The trail this morning continues along the canyon, but it’s in perfect condition and a dream to walk on. A lot of people come to this area to hike, so it seems that the trails are more maintained. We pass by some old water mills, road walk up to a tiny village, and begin the ascent to Drstva Mountain which then follows a “knife’s edge” up to Vito Mountain. It’s amazingly beautiful up there and the knife’s edge is so cool to walk along. It’s literally just a narrow strip of trail following a rocky edge from peak to peak.
Once we reach the summit of Vito the trail drops all the way back down to a highway. We have to road walk for a bit and it’s so hot. We actually run into our first fellow Via Dinarica hiker! His name is Mark from Germany. Unfortunately he was bit by a dog in Slovenia so now he’s just section hiking due to his antibiotic schedule.
We turn off the asphalt and hike the rest of the day on forest roads (occasionally losing the trail). We run into another Via Dinarica thru hiker! He’s from Belgium and he hiked the PCT in 2016, trail name Kermit. He’s heading north from Albania so has only been on the trail for two weeks. It’s fun to chat for a bit with other hikers, we weren’t sure if they were out there!
We camp in a grassy patch next to a cemetery and some abandoned buildings. We can’t believe we only have about two weeks left of this trail. Honestly, we’re both ready to be done. We didn’t think it was going to be this difficult, both physically and mentally. We’re also excited that our adventures aren’t over after this, we still have more traveling ahead and the Camino to hike too! We’re going to try to appreciate these last weeks of the trail and soak in the beauty around us.