Archive for August, 2009

Stranded Update

Posted in Uncategorized on August 31, 2009 by starkbot

So we’ve spent over two weeks in the lovely Petrovac Na Moru, Montenegro. As nice as this old fishing village turned mild tourist spot is, it’s extremely frustrating waiting and waiting for my debit card to arrive here. I lost my card at the beginning of our trip, and due to our sleeping on benches in Croatia and backpacking through the mountains of Montenegro, we didn’t have much time to wait around to get my card shipped. Alas we reached Petrovac and thought our troubles would be over. No such luck. BECU has taken over two weeks to get my card sent here. Apparently it should have been here today…or tomorrow…

So it’s been two weeks of eating outrageous amounts of good food, drinking way too many bottles of wine and 2L bottles of beer and lounging in cafe’s and on the beach. It’s all great fun no doubt, but Ian and myself can’t wait to get back on the road and on the move once again. That’s where things will get exciting.

We plan on high-tailing it out of here and making our way to Albania as soon as possible. We’ll go through Ulcinj on the southern tip of Montenegro’s coast. From there we’ll take a bus to Tirana which is the capitol city of Albania. We’ll make our way to the Ionian Coast of Albania (near the Greek island of Corfu). From there we’ll head through Ohrid and Skopje in Macedonia (Skopje being the capitol city). Then to Sofia in Bulgaria and to Bucharest in Romania. Both of which are the capitol cities. Then we’ll make our final stop in Belgrade, Serbia. We’ll finish things of here with a bit of sightseeing and bar-hopping (supposedly there’s a foosball table at one of these joints, go team America!).

As for now that’s about all I can give you. Picture uploading is being a serious pain in the ass at this particular internet cafe so we’ll save those for a later date. I’ll try to include pictures with my next update. And you all know you can catch pictures on facebook as well.

-Stark

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Seeing Black and White

Posted in Uncategorized on August 29, 2009 by starkbot

My sketchbook’s getting lonely without some color. It’s difficult working in black and white only (pen and pencil). It’s challenging me to be creative though and pull out some real art. I have a secret project I’m now working on because of it too…but alas after seeing these two COPE2 pieces on his blog, it’s making me miss working with color!

Photos courtesy of COPE2 and his blog http://www.12ozprophet.com/index.php/cope2/

I’ll throw up some pictures before we leave Petrovac. Nothing too exciting…just sun and drink!

-Stark

Bjelasica to Petrovac and everything in between

Posted in Uncategorized on August 20, 2009 by starkbot

Haven’t updated in a while…could be due to the long backpack trip through Bijelasica and Komovi. We started off the trip camping at Biogradsko Jezero, a lake at the Biogradsko National Park. We spent a night there and collected the proper supplies in town to be completely self-sufficient for 8 days. We headed out early the next day and ended up hiking 20+km…which was about 5km past our first planned campsite. We weren’t too excited abuot the first campsite and found something 5km down the trail. We got stuck in a crazy thunder/lightning storm that night but managed to get out on time very early the next morning.

Day two wasn’t nearly as long and about an hour from our second camp spot we came upon a nice little cabin. The nice gentleman who owned it had a full kitchen and tables setup for backpackers to sit and eat and have a drink. We stayed there for about two hours eating some of the most amazing vegeteables, meats and cheeses the region had to offer. After some Rakija we were on our way again to our second camp spot at Stavna.

We reached Stavna and were very happy to run across a spring that poured fast and cold. We also ran into a small shed-like stand that was selling candy and booze. We went a few hundred meters down the road, setup camp and went back for some beers. As we were enjoying our beer we got stuck in ANOTHER lightning/thunder storm (apparently that happens a lot in the mountains here). We ended up shacking up in the stand with a group of friendly montenegrin folks and eventually some Czech’s that needed shelter from the downpour.

The next day Ian decided to do a small day hike to Kom Vasojevicki while I stayed back and nursed some seriously beaten down feet. Later that day we had some more beer and eventually it was back to the tents and to sleep.

The next day we set out for Kucka Krajina and Bukumirsko Jezero which would take (supposedly) two days to reach. Initially our goal was to camp after about 10 hours of hiking, then the next day reach our destination after a small 2 hour hike….this didn’t happen…

We thought we had found a nice little shortcut that would get us to Bukumirsko Jezero in one day. After getting off course a bit, we managed to find the route again but after losing 3 hours at a certain crossroads we decided to setup camp about 2 hours from Bukumirsko Jezero.

We felt confident the next day (day 5) we would make it to Bukumirsko in no time….again…this didn’t happen. We came to the small town of Mokro and got turned around big time on a series of small farm roads. After asking a couple of nice locals, we managed to find our way and made it to our final camp spot near a spring at Bukumirsko Jezero.

We decided after our trials and tribulations of getting lost that we would just skip any day hiking and head out the next day for the town of Verusa. We spent a relaxing day at the lake and took off for Verusa the next day as predicted. Day 6 saw us get a bit lost but easily make our way back into Verusa and find a much needed ride with a pleasant fellow. He drove us 40km from Verusa to Podgorica and was nice enough to buy us a beer on the way.

From there we caught a bus and made it out to Petrovac. Now our days are full of Wine, Sun and Hamburgers from the infamous Cobra Star.

Nothing too exciting here, just some much needed relaxation.

For now,

T&I

Durmitor National Park

Posted in Uncategorized on August 6, 2009 by starkbot

We started our journey into the Durmitor National Park with a windy, not so safe, bus journey from Budva into the mountains. We teetered on the edge of a few cliffs making our way up to the small mountain town of Žabljak. Once we arrived here we denied many offers for rooms and headed straight for the camp ground. When we reached the camp ground we found out that it was actually located on the property of some scrungy looking Montegrin man who would let you pitch your tent in his giant yard for a few euros.

We decided to pitch our tents and head into town for some food before going to bed that night. The next day we decided to take the day off and try and get things straight with my debit card and go to the internet cafe. Afterwards we got supplies for our journey into the mountains and called it a night.

Our trip started with a 5,5km hike to our first base camp at Lokvice. We arrived at a small Katun (hut) that had an old shepherd and a bunch of sheep. There were a few flat spots around and we pitched our tents there. From there the plan is to take a couple of day hikes around the Durmitor Mountains.

After getting some sleep, we set off on our first day of hikes while leaving our tents pitched back at Lokvice. We headed out to an Ice Cave everyone was talking about which was about 4km from our base camp. After climbing down in the ice cave and resting for some food we set off to Bobotov Kuk, apparently the second highest peak in Montenegro. This was roughly another 4km from the Ice Cave. The hike was very difficult, the last final ascent to the top being the most daunting. We managed to get a ton of pictures and make it back to base camp before dark. We got some food and water and went to bed early.

The next day we packed everything up and decided to try a 3 day loop that would take us back to Žabljak. We hiked up an unmarked path up the face of a mountain next to our base camp (which we had taken down at this point, so we were hiking with full packs)…about 75% of the way up we got caught in a hale/lightning/thunder/rain storm. We were forced to find the first large boulder face and hide under Ian’s rainfly for his tent for about 30 minutes. Once that ended the weather never recovered so it continued to be cloudy and grey.

After hitting the pass, we made our way to our next big challenge which was another pass we had to get up with full packs. After scrambling across some large rocks on a very steep slope, we came up on a large rock face that was extremely steep. We had to bust out some mountain climbing skills and scale this steep rock wall up to the top of this pass in order to start our descent down to our next camp site where we would stay the night.

We managed to set up camp on a bit of slope overlooking Škrčko Jezero, a gorgeous alpine lake nestled in the mountains. That next morning we awoke to cows grazing literally 5ft from our tents. We had to fend them off with a stick and pack things up for our trip up the pass at Paninica. This ascent was long and hard, no easy way around it. After finally making it to the top in what was insanely thick fog, we managed to get lost forbaout 20 minutes trying to find the correct path down to a shortcut that would take us to town that night instead of staying one more night and going the long way.

We managed to work things out and made our way down to the town of Žabljak. We managed to get to town around 4:00pm after starting our morning at 9:30am with only small breaks to catch our breath.

We looked for a cheap hotel room but everything was booked because of the rain. We decided to get food (which we had been dreaming about for 24 hours) and head back to the camp ground we initially stayed at when we arrived.

So here we are today, recovered, washed up, and energized after a nice breakfast at the previously mentioned cafe. Our next stop is probably Bijelo Polje which is near the head of our 8 day backpack trip coming up.

So there will be a couple of small updates in the next few days then a long pause while we dive back into the woods once more.

Stay tuned,

Stark

Heading into the mountains…

Posted in Uncategorized on August 2, 2009 by starkbot

as Ian says…radio silence for a while…