This past weekend I traveled south for a last jaunt in the Albanian wilds before closing my service. Chris, Adam, Casey, Ryan and I aimed to head from Gjirokaster to the beach town of Borsh just south of my friend Meredith’s house in Himare….but instead we got a bit turned around in a few canyons and ended up in Kuq, the town we camped in last April (see this post).
The weather broke just as we were leaving Tirana to go south, and the weekend was clear, sunny and wonderful – a warm respite after all the rain we had in April. As usual at this time of year, the hillsides were carpeted with flowers…..making all the bushwhacking we did a bit more pleasant.
We hiked from the village of Zhulat north to the nearly abandoned hamlet of Kaparjel. After asking the two villagers we could find the way to the coast, we followed a wash north on the second day, finally popping out on top of a ridge above the tree line after several hours bouldering without any evidence of humans at all. And all we saw from the top were more mountains….
Thinking we might be in trouble, we headed down towards the only road we could see (road = civilization), traversing until we arrived at the dirt track in the valley. At that point, a few of us who were on the hike last April recognized where we were, and, feeling a whole lot better, we all headed downstream to the village of Kuq.
Ironically in Kuq there had just been a celebratory ceremony with the PRESIDENT of Albania….so there were plenty of people around leaving town to give us a ride out to Meredith’s house in Himare. Even after all the natural diversity we had just hiked through, the ride out was comparatively gorgeous – we caught the sun going down over the Ali Pasha castle in porto palermo and the ocean beyond.
In all it was the most adventurous of all the multi-day hikes I’ve completed in Albania. But, there isn’t much that a few days at the beach in Himare can’t heal, and I’m feeling very recovered after a few refreshing jumps from this cliff: