Sedlena Greda (2227m), Zupci (2148m) & Stozina (1905m), July 10 2012
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On our fourth day in Montenegro, we woke up in Žabljak and returned to Sedlo pass after shopping portable breakfast and lunch in town. The plan for today was to visit Sedlena Greda (2227m) and then see what else could be possible. Zupci (2148m) perhaps? Although it looked quite unfriendly when seen from the pass.
We parked at Sedlo (like we did the day before) and observed a man with binoculars. We took him for being a shepherd, nodded to him, waited for him to nod back and continued our preparations. A couple of minutes later, the "shepherd" came over and wanted to sell us tickets for entry to the national park. I was a bit reluctant to just hand out money, since we had not heard of any fee, but when he turned around, I saw "NACIONALNI PARK" written in big letters on his jacket. That helped! My suspicion went away and Anne broke the ice by presenting herself as a park ranger colleague.
The park ranger didn't speak English at all, but 10 minutes later, he knew everything he needed to know about Norwegian glaciers. Now it was our turn to learn something new about the local mountains. Through universal body language, I asked him if it was difficult to reach Zupci. He answered in the same language, and I understood that Zupci was not necessarily difficult. And Sedlena Greda was apparently very easy. Very uplifted, we headed out from Sedlo, on our way to new mountain adventures...
I was already madly in love with the Montenegro mountains, although the high temperature was tough to cope with. But I promised myself not to complain. Summer never made it to Norway this year, and so for the only week with continuously good weather I promised myself to shut up. And who knew - perhaps this would be our last day with sunshine?
I was also madly in love with my new camera (Canon 60D) and my new objective (18-200m), even if I knew that my wallet would hurt like L in August. I did no longer have a macro function on the objective, but I still felt I was able to capture some good details.
The marked route took us around Zupci on the east side and led us to a meadow between the two peaks. We lost sight of the marked route here, but now it was just a matter of hiking up to the Sedlena Greda ridge.
Once up on the ridge, it seemed that we could have some fun scrambling ahead of us. We made contact with the marked route again, and it wanted to lead us around and below the obstacles, but where is the fun in that?
The route got even more airy and fun and the icing of the cake was something that resembled a "knife ridge". If not exactly razor sharp, then serious enough to call for some attention...
We reached the top 10am - 1h:23m after heading out from Sedlo. We had a great view towards the Durmitor peaks and life was just ... good!
Inspired by the park ranger's body language, we sat course for Zupci. The ascent route looked steep but not necessarily difficult.
Halfway up the mountainside, I realized that we were not on the route that we had planned, but the good news were that this seemed to be the right way. We had to pass a pitch that was exposed, and we had to show great caution while doing so.
We arrived on top of Zupci 11:03am - roughly one hour after arriving on Sedlena Greda.
Our stay in Durmitor was coming towards an end. The original plan was to return to our hotel in Budva and prepare for our upcoming trip to Plav & Gusinje and the Prokletije mountains. But it seemed like a better plan than to just head directly to Plav and save us for a long drive from Budva.
But first, we both wanted to hike Stozina (1905m) - a very cute peak that was one of the first tops we noticed when we drove into Durmitor the day before.
We drove almost 4km east from Sedlo, until we were at the foothills of Sedlo. It only took us 21 minutes to reach the top (12:41pm). Anne returned the same way while I walked around the mountain and descended on the west side in order to measure the pass. The GPS showed 1906m on top and 1800m in the pass, and I was happy with the result. I descended down to the road and Anne picked me up a couple of minutes later. Goodbye to Durmitor!
We drove back to Žabljak and continued to the popular lake Crno Jezero where Anne treated herself with a swim in the lake. As we were to get back into the car, an incoming car with two ugly looking guys blocked our way out. We got into the rental car and locked the doors, but they wouldn't let us out before I opened the window. One of the ugly looking guys handed me some kind of ticket to - or ad for a casino. They didn't take no for an answer, and not until I accepted the handover of the ticket, they moved the car. From that moment on, my paranoia level went from moderate to ultra high...
We then sat course for Plav. The plan was to drive to Tara canyon and follow the road along the river all the way to Mojkovac, continue southeast to Berane and then south to Plav. The night before, we called Hotel Kula Damjanova in Plav and reserved a room.
Arriving at the Tara canyon, we had to revise our plan. The road to Mojkovac was closed due to a forest fire. Of course, we didn't know this at first, and the two police officers who had set up the road block didn't speak English. Fortunately, a woman from a souvenir shop was brought in and acted as a translator.
We faced 3 options; a) return the way we came and head back to Budva, b) continue to Plav via Serbia or continue to Plav via a 69km country road with varying road quality. We chose c)
One leg of this road was horrendous. Other legs ranged from OK to OK+. On our way up to a mountain pass, along a curvy road, we had all of a sudden two cars on our tail. With paranoia steaming out of my head and the theme music from James Bond playing on the inside, I decided to shake them off. Anne didn't enjoy my new driving style, but kept wisely quiet, knowing I was at war with the enemy (whoever it was). But the rental car was old and tired, and my attempts were futile. But at the top of the pass, I made my move; I turned abruptly onto a parking lot and immediately got into escape position. The other cars vanished. I'll never know what this was about - just two cars in a hurry (most likely) or something else. But that's OK. I don't need to. I kind of enjoyed the sensation...
We arrived at Hotel Kula Damjanova in Plav 6:45 in the afternoon. The hotel looked promising, and I got a feeling that this estate was super-hot 30 years ago. The first part of check-in went fine; they found or reservation and we got the keys to our room. But when they wanted to keep our passports, I had to go to war again.
I tried to explain that there was no way in the world that they could keep my passport, but they showed us a drawer full of passports and repeated "practical practical". Practical as it might be, we wanted to keep our passports as we were under the impression that we had to go to a police station in Plav and tell them about our plans to hike on the Montenegro - Albanian border the next day. At least that was what some internet literature claimed. But it was impossible to get the message across. "Albania tonight?", the clerk asked. "No", I replied? "Tomorrow". "Then passport tomorrow", the clerk insisted. Now I was mad, and the situation quickly settled. "Your passports", the clerk said (now with a smile) as we got our passports back. Again, I felt a bit stupid (like I did at the top of the pass), but all in all, I wouldn't have it any other way...
The rest of the stay was just great. This was a fantastic hotel and the landscape around was amazingly beautiful. The food was great too. The plan for the next day was to hike to the highest peak in the country and we hoped it would a very exciting day. And it surely turned out to be a very exciting day. Check out the Kolata trip report...
The pictures were taken with a Canon EOS 60D + Canon EF-S 18-200mm 3.5-5.6 IS
(Full size images)
(Images scaled down.
Sedlena Greda (2227m)
Sedlena Greda panoramas
Zupci views + descent
Crno Jezero, Plav and hotel Kula Damjanova
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