Km 1411 to 1550, Kalinovik (Bosnia & Herzegovina) to Jablanica (Bosnia & Herzegovina).
04/06/2022 – 45km
Today after a fun little marker to marker route through the hills, I had a wonderfully easy 15 kilometres of gentle downhill on a dirt road.
The day ended with a dramatic ridge walk from Vito to Drstva (these are peak names). There was a nice grassy saddle by the latter peak where I decided to make camp, not foreseeing a nicer place to sleep on the descent into a village.
05/06/2022 – 43km
I had some traditional Bosnian savoury doughnuts for breakfast in a remote village. They were served with clotted cream (or similar) and some kind of white cheese that looked a little like crumbled feta or scrambled egg. The proprietor was telling me about life in the village (he spoke some English), how in the winter the road closes and they take the animals down to Sarajevo.
The trail today was quite rough (a lot of rocks underfoot) but scenic. Unfortunately not in a way which lent itself to photographs. It was also very dry, and I definitely didn’t carry enough water for a few parts.
I was relying on getting dinner from one of the few restaurants around the campsite I’m staying at. However, they aren’t really running yet, and of the two I asked, they were both only serving a meat soup. I’m normally vegetarian, but I’d rather break that for one meal than go hungry.
Today I also got blisters on both my heels, which hasn’t happened for a very long time. I guess it’s the new shoes. Tomorrow is a shorter day, so my feet will have some time to recover and toughen up.
06/06/2022 – 25km
I woke up today and my feet were fine, the raw patches from yesterday didn’t develop into blisters.
From the lake I camped at, it was a relatively short and easy 20km to where I hoped to hitch a ride into Mostar. This was however much harder than expected.
The ninth car to pass me picked me up, but that took 3 hours. After 2 hours of waiting by the roadside, it got too much for me (I find difficult hitches very emotionally draining). Following a plunge into self pity (there were some tears) and a call to Lina I decided to start hiking down the hot road, without any water. Having sat around for two hours, it was a very bitter sunk-cost pill to swallow.
Of course, as with all pain and discomfort, as soon as it was relieved, in this case by someone stopping for me, I can’t really remember how low my mood was.
I’ve had a nice afternoon and evening wandering around Mostar. It’s got to be one of the most beautiful town centres I’ve seen, with many characterful stone buildings, bridges and towers.
07/06/2022 – 35km
Before making my way back to the trail, I picked up some burek from one of the many bakeries around. They’re cheap, filling, and taste great.
Thankfully getting back to the trail was easier than getting into town (usually it’s the other way around). It took three separate hitches, as I was going to an out of the way location. Most of the time spent was walking to places where I was likely to get rides going in the right direction.
The bulk of the day was spent crossing a beautiful mountain range (I think massif might be the correct term actually). The weather was perfect, mostly sunny with intermittent clouds to keep the heat down.
I cut my day a little short because I came to a nice (nice is used somewhat flexibly here) shelter with a water supply. Also I’m in quite a steep, forested, rocky area, and camping options didn’t seem forthcoming.