Jezerski Vrh (1657m) &
To the main Lovćen page (route descriptions and maps)
On our 2nd day in Montenegro, we sat the course towards Lovćen National Park. The day before, we had a very nice recreation day in Budva, but I can only stay at sea level for so long...
We sat course for Kotor and expected to - easily - find the mountain road to Lovćen. That project did however not go down - easily - and we had a bit of a detour before locating the mountain road.
Anne had read that the curvy mountain road from Kotor was one of the most scenic roads in the world! I don't want to have a strong opinion on that, but Trollstigen is probably the most scenic road we have in Norway, and to me - this drive was even more scenic.
Our main goal was Jezerski Vrh - the home of the Petar Petrovic II Njegoš mausoleum. Let me be clear on that it was the mountain and not the mausoleum that attracted me. Anne will have to speak for herself...
Well, actually - the true goal was Štirovnik - the highest peak in Lovćen. But according to all literature we had came across, access to this summit was strictly forbidden due to a military installation on top. It was very annoying (to put it mildly) to not get the highest point in this National Park. Just how interested was I in spending time in a military prison because of my mountain madness? I'll let the question just linger. It's a hard one...
We had plans about hiking Jezerski Vrh from the north, but we ended up driving all the way to the lower parking. It's difficult to find motivation for hiking a mountain that has a road almost to the top.
After 0,6km hiking and 150 vertical meters, we stood on top of Jezerski Vrh - and in front of the mausoleum. Two guys were collecting an entry fee (I think it was 3 Euros) and we asked them about Štirovnik. First of all, they didn't like what we spoke about a different mountain ("You're on Jezerski Vrh now" ...) and moreover - "it is closed. Military". End of discussion...
The mausoleum is probably a great site for those who have a great interest in Petar Petrovic II Njegoš. I'm sure he was a great man for his country, but my mind was only on Štirovnik. Could all literature and the mausoleum gate keepers be wrong? I said to Anne that I wanted to hike the mountain road and see what happened. She agreed.
When we returned to the car, we passed 3 guys and Anne said it looked like a guide and two clients. Immediately, I shouted out to the guide and asked him if he knew anything about Štirovnik. "Sure, no problem - just follow the path to the top"
My spirit lifted a couple of notches, although we forgot to ask where the path was. But at the pass between Štirovnik and Babljak, we found the path. Someone had painted the start of the path on the paved road, so it was kind of hard to miss. On our way into the park, we only had eyes for the mountains and that would explain why we didn't see it earlier on...
We left the car 1:15pm and reached the top half an our later. The vertical gain was 300 meters and the distance to the top only 1,1km. There was not a path, but the direction was obvious. In case we wondered if we were on the right track, occasional red and white circles confirmed it.
There were no signposts saying anything about access, so we absolutely felt we had reached the top in a legal way. Despite the installation on top, we enjoyed the views. Jezerski Vrh looked like a very characteristic top from our position and we assumed that it could be identified from a very long distance...
It was time for lunch and celebration of two summits on our first day in Montenegro. The fact that the first one was ridiculously easy didn't spoil our good mood...
We agreed to visit Babljak before leaving the national park. This top was just opposite of Štirovnik and clearly the 3rd highest top in the park. It was also the same trailhead, so we just contiuned across the road and sat course for Babljak.
The hike up to the top was only 0,9km and approx. 200 vertical meters. We reached the top along a marked route (no path) in 25 minutes. On my Garmin GPS map, the summit was supposed to be between 1560 and 1580m, but the GPS reported 1604m! Then there was the matter of the top 683m to the southwest. Didn't it seem higher?
Anne felt the top we saw seemed lower, but I was not so sure. According to the GPS map, the high point would be somewhere between 1520 and 1540, but the map had just proven unreliable. I managed to convince Anne that also visiting the southwest top was really, really, really important. Well, she might not have been convinced but she agreed to come along...
The southwest top was approx. 1560m and 40 meters lower than Babljak. It was embarrassing to be so wrong.
It was time to get back to the car and go back to Montenegro sightseeing. The first task was to find our way through the city Cetinje. As signposts seem to have a very low priority in this country, we didn't take anything for granted. And sure enough, after going back and forth in the back streets of Cetinje, we had to ask for help to get out of town...
Anne wanted to see Hotel Sveti Stefan - located 5km southeast of Budva. This is quite a sight - a cluster of buildings on a tiny island. Unfortunately, the hotel is only accessible for its guests.
Back at the hotel, I was quite happy with three new mountain tops and a nice 113km drive. I was also quite happy the cold beer in the fridge and the weather forecast for the coming week. We were in paradise...
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.
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