Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring Snow

The snow swirled and flurried onto my face. It was a good feeling when it was gentle and while walking in town. But now, trudging to Curovac viewpoint, it was an annoyance. It was a 9km walk to the viewpoint.

The previous day was a little better. There were dark angry clouds threatening most of the time, but it only started snowing in the evening. So I had the opportunity to hike around Black Lake, which of course, isn't black. The Black Lake is the easiest excursion in Durmitor National Park, biggest of Montenegro's national parks. Famed for its hiking opportunities, Black Lake is just a whiff of its potential. However, the season had not started yet, and well, the reasons are obvious. The weather is still very much unpredictable. It is already close to mid April, and as my host said, the heavy snow was "not normal".

Hiking around the perimeter of Black Lake

Black Lake under the Durmitor mountains

Unpreditable wintry spring scene
Well, the upside is I get to stay in a private apartment with kitchenette, ensuite toilet, Wifi etc etc for 13 euros a night. But the snow is getting worrisome. Walking in snow is fine - it's just that I wouldn't be getting a view at the viewpoint after walking 9km!! And this was for one of the the biggest attraction in Durmitor National Park - the Tara River Canyon.

I had a glimpse of the canyon, and the green Tara river, when crossing the border from Bosnia & Hercegovina into Montenegro, and I was impressed! Stuck in a bumpy mini-bus ride with curvy roads, there just wasn't any way to capture the scenes. And like I said, it was just a glimpse. It is Europe's longest and deepest gorge at 80km long and 1300m deep. And it was enough for me to do this 18km round-trip walk.

The snow had let up when I reached the trailhead to the viewpoint. Most of the 9km walk was on an asphalt cum dirt road until the trailhead. However, the trail, which was just a jumble of rocks, now covered in snow, was precariously close to the edge of the cliff. Slowly but surely (not really), I clamoured laborously forward. And there and behold! A bench! Facing a wall of swirling misty white!

The snow-covered rocky trail

Rest stop with a view
I paint a forlorn figure, shivering within a grey-white mist. It was like those depicted in the movies, where one got lost in a dream. And like a dream, the mists lifted like a curtain  revealing the stage behind. A valley of green encrouched by this whitening storm. And while the snow and mists had a field day up in the mountains, they could not penetrate into the valley below. And then I saw the sliver of green in the distant. The Tara river!

And I realised this was just a rest point.

View when the mists cleared!!

The Tara River Canyon
I looked around and realized that indeed, there was a continuing trail obscured by even more snow. I cursed the weather gods for dumping this amount of snow onto the ground. This was beyond my comfort zone as the snow literally mined the rocks on the trail, and a mis-step could easily spell disaster. In the end, I had to settle for just the views at the rest point. The 9km walk back did not brighten my mood, though back in town, I comforted myself with one of Durmitor's local specialty - jagnjetina, a lamb dish.

Smoked lamb, boiled potatoes and cabbage
The 3 days in Zabljak/Durmitor was supposed to be a spring mountain experience, but turned out to be a winter excursion. I enjoyed myself no doubt, but would have been exponentially more satisfied if I had managed to reach the proper Curavac viewpoint.

I had a late morning bus the next day. And well, you might have guess the inevitable. The morning arrived with a brilliant shining sun and a stunning blue sky. Ah, why is it always me?

Beautiful day at Zabljak & Durmitor National Park

1 comment:

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