I had not been looking forward to this last challenge of the trek. And it lived up to its reputation, with myriad switchbacks and trails that were so narrow that faster hikers could not easily pass me.
Becca and I were getting hiking weary. The steep daily ups and downs were taking their toll on our knees and feet.
We started out walking uphill on the road out of Milishevc. Then we had to climb a steep hill with no real trail—just using our GPS to get us up to the main trail. Even then, the trail was non-existent in places, and we had to rely on GPS and the occasional Peaks of the Balkans trail markers.
This was the longest stage so far….We enjoyed long easy walks up and down along ridges and over some low passes from one valley to another.
Today, as we had expected, was easier overall. There was an easy uphill until about the halfway point. Then we had lovely rolling hills and ridges to traverse for the rest of the day. There were no real hurdles.
It was not without some trepidation that we started out on our Peaks of the Balkans circuit … We knew that our choice to go over the Prolipsit and Borit passes would test our strength—almost 20 kilometers with an elevation gain of 1422 meters.
We decided to start our journey in the small town of Valbona, then hike counter-clockwise (anti-clockwise for my British friends) around the trail circuit ending in Theth.
This training culminated last week as we did a three-day test trek in the Zagoria Valley near Permet in Southern Albania