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ON DURMITOR, THE MOST BEAUTIFUL MOUNTAIN OF MONTENEGRO, WITH ADVENTURERS AND MOUNTAINEERS

Dobri Do, in the Sky

Highlanders say that this is a powerful mountain indeed, but a good hiker can pass it in a day. If one, however, wants to see it entirely and really get to know it, a whole human life is not enough. And life in Durmitor is long. If a choice has to be made, one should certainly see the Ice Cave, at least five of eighteen lakes and at least one of five canyons. And don’t miss swimming in the Škrčko Lake, on the verge of a storm
By: Luka Vesković Photo: Dragan Bosnić
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There are four national parks on the territory of Montenegro. For such a small space – a lot, for such nature – too little. The Skadar Lake is the biggest bird reserve in Europe. The Lovćen mountain is the Montenegrin Olympus, and the Biograd forest is the last jungle in Europe. Durmitor is a davit, holding the sky over all that beauty.
Almost 40,000 hectares of the most beautiful part of Durmitor and the Tara Canyon was proclaimed a national part half a century ago. The area is also protected by UNESCO. Much earlier, King Nikola Petrović proclaimed the area around the Crno Jezero Lake as „King’s Reserve”. He is also the first official mountaineer in Durmitor, except that he passed the steep climb to Savin Kuk on a horse. A great hero, Duke Momčilo, used to fly above Durmitor on his flying horse named Jabučilo. His unfaithful wife Vukosava seems to be the only person known to us that wasn’t enchanted by Durmitor.
The Creator was more than generous when creating Durmitor. However, He hid the beauty on high peaks, deep valleys, narrow canyons, ice caves and remote lakes. He placed the beautiful Crno Jezero Lakes on an accessible plateau near Žabljak. Then, above them, He sculpted Savin Kuk and Međed. The lakes look incomparably more beautiful from these hardly reachable peaks. There is a cable car to Savin Kuk, enabling the less persistent ones to enjoy the mountain eyes surrounded with pine forests. A whole new view of the Durmitor massive is revealed from Savin Kuk. In the sea of rocks and peaks stands Bobotov Kuk, the highest peak of Durmitor. That is the objective of many visitors of Durmitor.

A VIEW OF 47 PEAKS
The road to Bobotov Kuk starts from Dobri Do, a pleasant valley on the way from Žabljak to Plužine. Dobri Do is at an altitude of about 1,500 meters. High rocks, Samar being the most attractive among them, protect the valley from wind. Well marked paths from Dobri Do lead through Urdeni Do and Mlječni Do to Zeleni Vir, at an altitude of 2,300 meters. One can also reach Zeleni Vir from Samar, but only one path for Bobotov Kuk leads uphill. The path climbs gently to Velika Previja, at 2,360 meters, and from there to the peak there is another 30 minutes walk.
An A for the EightCrna Jezera Lakes, the Big and the Small, are usually joined. When viewed from Savin Kuk or Međed, they resemble number eight. The dry years have lowered the level of the lakes, however, so sometimes the only connection between them is a small stream.

If the temperamental Durmitor is in a good mood and shifts the clouds that gather around its peaks following fathomless rules, after two and a half hours of walking and an 800 meters climb, a visitor is greeted by an unrepeatable sight. Deep down are the blue Škrčko Lakes, the Big and the Small. Peaks, among which 47 are more than 2,000 meters high, are dotted far into the horizon.
There is also a path from Dobri Do to Škrčko Lakes. Although the point of the highest ascent is 2,120 meters, by Škrčko Ždrelo, hiking to the lake is not easier than the climb to Bobotov Kuk. From Škrčko Ždrelo, one goes down into an almost four hundred meters deep „crater” in which the lakes are located. When we reached the edge of Ždrelo, the „crater” was filled with thick clouds. Luckily, by the time we went down to the lakes, the clouds had parted, and already around noon the water in the Small Lake was warm enough for swimming. There is a glade between the Big and the Small Lake with a chalet, where one can spend the night for five Euros. There is a guard in the chalet, who, because of the complicated way to the house, stays there for a week. One can get tea or juice in the chalet, but for a longer stay, one should bring food.
The Highest Town of the PeninsulaŽabljak is at an altitude of 1,465 meters. In summer, this highest city in the Balkans is an oasis of peace and quiet despite numerous visitors. The vastness of Durmitor absorbs many guests who take numerous paths towards their destination. Most of them walk to the Crno Jezero Lake or take a cable car to Savin Kuk.

The mountain showed its moodiness very soon. After two hours of swimming in the mountain lake, the sky grew dark and thick clouds began coming over the toothed edges of the „crater”. Soon the mountain started shaking from strong thunder strikes. The sight was almost apocalyptic. Before the upcoming storm, the group climbed to the bend in less than an hour. Then came a surprise. From the edge of the Škrčko Ždrelo to Dobri Do, the sun was shining and there was no wind at all. One step back to the lakes and we could again feel the fierce wind and the clouds were again as thick as dough. We could feel the line between nice and ugly weather with all our senses.

IN THE DEEPEST EUROPEAN CANYON
Dobri Do is one of the pleasant places in Durmitor. Unfortunately, there is no water so it’s not suitable for camping. Visitors of Bobotov Kuk and Škrčko Lakes usually camp on Todorov Do, which is a few kilometers from Dobri Do on the way to Plužine. There are several cottages for shepherds there and a good source of water. A special ornament of Todorov Do is the powerful Prutaš rock, decorated by time and geological changes in an especially interesting way.
On the TopBobotov Kuk is a large rock which can be negotiated only spirally. The last ten-odd meters are a bit unpleasant because of the abyss on the right side of the path. Luckily, such heights on a mountain don’t seem as scary as standing on a windowsill of an incomparably lower building.
The shortcoming of Todorov Do is its exposure to the wind and first strikes of rain, so it’s no wonder it used to be called – Pasji Do (Dog’s Valley).
People from the mountain say that Durmitor is powerful, however a good hiker can walk it in a day. But even a lifetime is not enough to see it entirely. And the lifetime in Durmitor is long. Worth seeing in Durmitor is certainly the Ice Cave, at least 18 of its lakes and at least one of the five canyons. It all depends on the weather and the time you have.
The Tara Canyon is the longest and deepest canyon in Europe. The only deeper and longer one in the world is the Great Canyon of Colorado. But certainly not more beautiful. Due to its crystal clear water, the Tara is called „the tear of Europe”. It is one of the rare rivers down which you can go rafting and drink water from it. Earlier, when people went rafting on real rafts made of joined tree trunks, it was a challenge only for the bravest. Today it’s done with much safer and more comfortable rubber boats operated by experienced skippers, but the challenge is still there.
A story of a mountain usually begins or ends with people from the mountain. We crossed the mountain with mountaineers, locals, and an old suitcase tied with a rope. Written on it was that it was sent by Savo Petrović from Plužine to his father Pero in Todorov Do. It started off from Đurđevića Tara and, after a several day journey from hand to hand, from crossroad to crossroad, it safely arrived to its destination. Locals say it would’ve arrived even if it were full of gold.
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