Out for a walk beside the Ottawa River in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada!
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Heading to Nova Scotia around August 1st.

Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Peaks of the Balkans Day 10... Vusanje to Theth, 17 kms

The last day of our Peaks of the Balkans hike!

This day was billed as a grueling 21 km hike with 1,306 meters (4,300') of elevation gain, followed by 1,600 meters ( 5,300') of descent into the valley of Theth. That's a tough hike for anyone, but made even worse by the fact that they gave us a 4:00pm deadline to arrive back in Theth for our ride to Shkodra, with a penalty of €10 per hour for every hour you are late!

So, knowing what was ahead of us, we managed our earliest start of the trip. We were on the trail by 7:40am.

Yet another gorgeous day.

It was going to be warm though. They were calling for 33C (91F) in the valley of Theth where we were heading. And it was already warm as we were leaving Vusanje, although fortunately it was still early enough that much of the trail was in the shade. And, we would be climbing, so the increase in altitude would hopefully keep the temperature constantly comfortable until the climb down.

This campervan has a great wild camping spot!

A man and his cows on the trail ahead of us.

We followed this dirt road for about 4 kms.

Another campervan.

We entered Montenegro's Prokletije National Park, and had to pay €3 each entrance fee.

We will be going through that mountain pass straight ahead.

Looks like a fairly recent rock slide.

Somebody building a house in the national park?

Wild strawberries!

Where the gravel road ended, and the hiking trail began.

This area is an actual lake when there is sufficient snowfall in the winter.

But last winter did not have sufficient snowfall.

There is a higher trail that detours around when the lake has water.

Me, and the scenery.

Border marker as we crossed from Montenegro to Albania.

50 years ago, this was one of the most protected borders in the world, as the crazy Albanian president at the time, Enver Hoxha was always paranoid that then Yugoslavian president Josip Tito was going to invade Albania from the north. The communists couldn't even get along with each other!


Can you see Ruth on the trail?

Zoomed in on a natural arch far in the distance.

We had been gaining altitude all morning, but it was around this point that we began a steep uphill climb that gained about 1,000' in less than 1 km.

Fortunately, it had good tree cover so we were in the shade.

Scenery along the way.

Made it up to a more moderate section.

Pretty butterfly.

We're getting there!

This area was really pretty.

Ruth, walking with one of the group from Dubai.

We came across an old shepherd settlement.

The fresh mountain stream water never stops running.

The trail ahead.

Looking back at where we had come from.

Ruth, on the trail!

Me, filling my water bottle at another mountain spring.

One of the leftover military stations from the communist years.

Another Albanian bunker.

We stopped here for lunch.

It took quite a while to negotiate the pass.

At 12:20pm, we finally made it through! Looking down on the valley of Theth.

Somebody didn't make it.

We now had a very steep three hour climb down!


How can this old tree still be alive? 
Notice that someone has made a scary face out of the base of the tree... with teeth!

Scenery as we were going down.

Still heading down.

Ruth, and the scenery.

We were making pretty good time though. Better than expected, because steep downhills can often be a slow going as steep uphills. But it was getting baking hot as we descended, and there wasn't much in the way of shade. However, we were confident that we would make it to the pickup point in time for our 4:00pm transfer.

However, then we came across this...

Notice the sign at the bottom with my name on it!

So we headed over to the bar where we presented ourselves and the sign. We never found out why, but we were being picked up at the bar instead of at the information center in the village. This would cut off about 4 kms, and even though we kinda felt like we were cheating... we were quite happy to sit at the bar and wait while the driver came in a 4x4 to pick us up!

Selection of drinks available at the bar.

Sure enough, our driver arrived and we did the two hour drive back to Shkodra. We were happy to be able to arrive there a little bit earlier than expected.

At the Puri restaurant in Shkodra.

We had a good meal out to celebrate our completion of the hike!

Busy evening in Shkodra.

The next day is when we would begin to make our way back to Ottawa. I already posted about some of the problems we had... you can read it here... https://www.travelwithkevinandruth.com/2024/06/we-interrupt-this-program-for-special.html

And there is a LOT more to tell you... so stay tuned!

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And in Canada...


  1. What an adventure! It was beautiful and looked like a great time overall. Congratulations!

    1. It really was and even though it was pretty hard work some days we really enjoyed the hike and of course all the amazing scenery along the way.

      We are so glad that we did it and that we are both healthy and agile enough to still be able to this type of hiking.


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