Monday, September 11, 2006

Not ANOTHER hike in the mountains story!

Yes another. I agreed to a day-long hike 9/10/06 with Hawley because it was a chance to see the famous 100-meter Skakavac Waterfall in Bukovik Mountain and because the brochure promised that it was a long but “soft” hike through mostly pastures with only 150 meters of elevation.

That was a lie. I am crippled from the waist down today despite sleeping in till 10 and a half-dozen Advil. I can tell you the musculature of walking simply by the pain which extends from my butt down both sides of my thighs to both edges of my knees to my ankles to my blistered feet.

In a recent blog we talked about things we would like doing for eight hours in a row. Walking, I now know, is definitely not on my list.

We went on a organized group hike and on the taxi-ride home – yes taxi because we could not bear the thought of walking up the hill to home at the end of the hike – Larry and Roberta, a Canadian couple who’d been in the group were moaning along with me.

“I think this is the European idea of hiking,” Roberta said. “Long long walks.”
“Well, I misunderstood,” Larry replied. “When I heard soft hike I was thinking of the walk from my chair to the buffet table. I kept looking for the buffet table today!”

One Italian man was sent home in a car before the end because he was so far behind and when he turned all white he scared some of the rest of us thinking we’d had to carry him out of the woods to a hospital. “I heard him on his cellphone at one point,” Larry said. “He was talking to his daughter. Something about funeral arrangements, I think.”

The group was one of the big pluses of the day – all foreigners living in Sarajevo and most of them friends from the Italian embassy. The scenery was the other. You’ve heard me say how beautiful Bosnia is and the area just outside the city where we hiked on a cool but cloudless day proved it.

Oddly despite all the hours the hike took, we spent a disappointingly short time at the falls. Skakavac means grasshopper and the falls take that name from the green algae coated rocks in the beautiful pool at the bottom of the falls. I wish we’d eaten lunch there.

But we did that at an odd little trout farm/hydro electric plant in the woods. This area was controlled by Serbs during the war who burned the mountain lodges and facilities but built a road into the place.

It’s been demined, but the walk we took still seemed treacherous with slippery mud and gravel declines it was hard to keep your footing on and sharp inclines that you don’t have to know the metric system to realize were more than 150 meters straight up.

But the woods and meadows were gloriously pretty and aromatic with raspberries, rose hips, tyme, mint, St. John’s Wort, thistle, crocus and mushrooms.

Fikret Kahrovic, our guide, carried out a plastic bag filled with white, gray and orange mushrooms. He stayed away from these giant red fungi we all snapped pictures of, however. Are you sure the others are safe, we asked him.

He told us he would give them to his wife to sort out the tasty from the poisonous. “In Bosnia,” he joked with us, “We have a saying that all mushrooms are edible. But some of them, you only eat once.” Haha.


Anonymous said...

I cannot stop laughing...ure description of this day out is simply hilarious! I really loved teh story of the Italian man talking about the funeral..poor Al...! hope to see u in a next "soft" hike. ciao Ale

Anonymous said...

Of course I was not taking about my funeral but the story works better so.
I was simply tired.
the gentle guys that brought me with their car were two journalists of the BBC so that we spend a very pleasant time speaking of our works.

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