Via Dinarica White Trail runs across Zelengora mountain and then descends to the canyon of Sutjeska river. The last section on Zelengora Mountain goes from Donje Bare Lake to Kovacev Panj.
Marking and Cleaning Hiking Trail
A week before 25th May I received e-mail from Green Visions inviting us, trainees, and GV’s mountain guides and assistants to join volunteers from Terra Dinarica and Sutjeska National Park staff on a two-day action of cleaning and marking two trails in Sutjeska National Park, located at Via Dinarica White trail. I was so excited to be a part of this action and for getting a chance to learn how marking is done, so of course, I said yes.
While driving to the National Park of Sutjeska, Lorenc, Green visions mountain guide and mentor for us trainees, talked about the history of marking mountain paths, that began in the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and rules on how marking need to be done. It was really interesting to hear about it while we were enjoying a wonderful scenery around us.
Driving to Donje Bare Lake
We all gathered in the morning at Hotel Mladost and headed by vans towards the Lake of Donje Bare on Zelengora Mountain. This is my third time in Sutjeska National Park and second on this lake, but I am always thrilled when I have an opportunity to enjoy again in this wild and untamed nature – heaven for hikers.
Just above the Lake, at the end of the road, we left our vans on a parking spot and armed ourselves with a necessary tool for marking and cleaning trail (paints, brushes, saw, etc.). When we got out of the van first I caught a view of the beautiful big valley covered with wildflowers and, on a small hill, a monument to the fallen Partisans from 2nd Dalmatian Proletarian Strike Brigade.
Sutjeska National Park was a battlefield during the Second World War. While hiking one can see many beautiful monuments to the fallen partisans who fended off a larger and stronger German army in the famous Battle of Sutjeska in 1943.
Walking along the Lake
Near the Lake there is a lovely mountain hut which is possible to rent (contact info center of National Park Sutjeska), and across of the hut are the remains of Tito’s hunting villa. A guide from Sutjeska NP told us about Donje Bare Lake and all the famous politicians and actors who have visited this villa.
We continued further to east from the Lake and over the valley to the junction that leads left downhill to Sutjeska Canyon and region called Kovačev Panj, our ending point.
Our marking and cleaning tour started from the junction and sign point towards Kovacev Panj, from where descending downhill you can see first fresh marked tree on your left, near two pine trees, before entering in a beautiful thick forest.
Desdending Through a Forest and Across Creeks to Kovacev Panj
Each of us had a task to be carried out, for example, painters were in charge of marking with red and white paints, and they want in pairs.
Continuing further through forest we reached a big clear slope and wonderful scenery spread out in front of us – from amazing big canyon of Sutjeska River to the Maglic Mountain, with the highest peak of B&H at 2.386 meters, and Mt. Volujak (2.336 m), both still with little bit of snow on their highest peaks.
The Via Dinarica led us downhill through mostly beech forest and across two streams, that flow into the Sutjeska river, all the way to the canyon of Sutjeska River itself and locality called Kovacev Panj. The whole section is 5.35 km long and it takes around 2 hours (written on sign point) to descend from Lake of Donje Bare (1.490 m) through the forest to Kovacev Panj (630 m). From here it takes additional 3.5km along the main road of Sutjeska National Park to Tjentiste memorial (600 m).
Considering that this path is part of Via Dinarica White trail in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but until now wasn’t frequently used due to lack of marks on some parts, our mission was to clean the path and do the marking. With a joined effort of Green Visions, Terra Dinarica and Sutjeska National Park staff we managed to make this wild and rarely walked treasure well-marked and easy to follow. This was teamwork and really inspiring experience.
So all you need is to get your hiking boots on and come to explore the untamed nature of B&H’s oldest National Park Sutjeska.