邻近 Përmet, Gjirokastër (Albania)
This is the seventh part of a series describing my hike from Bogova to Gjirokastra. Most of the single parts can also be hiked separately when you can manage the transportation.
This hike is a little more challenging then the ones before. Do take care to carry enough water since I found no sources for water except old snow (yes, in July) and cisterns with water you'd only dare to drink when close to dying of thirst.
This hike crosses a remote region where herdsman herd sheep and other stock. The people are nice as usual but the dogs can be really (and I mean really!) savage.
So if you approach a herd - you can guess it by the bells the stock is equipped with and the yelling and whistling herdsman - do the following:
Yell loud and whistle too that the herdsman get aware of you and hold back their dogs.
If it happens that you encounter dogs without their master being around or too far away (e.g. when you pass a shepherds hut the dogs watch):
Be bold, yell at the dogs dominating and throw stones at them if they encounter you. Don't be squeamish!
Cover your back if any possible.
While doing so slowly leave the area the dogs seem to guard.
I was told the above by Albanians - and had to practice it, too.
It seems the closer you are to towns and cities the more "sissy" the dogs are - and vice versa.
(One reason could be that the (stray) dogs in towns don't have property and master to guard or attend.)
After a good breakfast in Hotel Permëti I started and only ten minutes later left the last buildings behind me. Again I passed several destroyed bunkers.
While walking steadily uphill all the time I often enough stopped to
catch breath enjoy the beautiful vista. Unfortunately there was a haze which hindered the look for greater distances.
The path was partly hard to see so I stumbled around a little until I found it again. Here like in the hills I crossed on the way to Frashër traces of felling were visible. Hopefully the Albanians would discover sustainable forestry before the the villages and towns on the mountain sides would experience bigger landslides...
Arriving at the saddle I had a last look down the valley of the Vjosa after having gazed astonished at the high valley I had reached. Dividing Dhembël and Nemërçka it was framed by the slopes of these mountains, the farther end disappearing in the blue haze.
At the saddle I lunched, then deposited the big rucksack at a rock and started the ascent to Mount Dhëmbel. There was no path nor trail I could find so I could pick my own way.
Not far from the peak a rain shower with hail and some thunder drenched hat, trousers and shoes completely. A rock I leaned to didn't give much shelter. Luckily it didn't last too long.
I took some pictures and turned back passing a cistern with muddy water and quite some live in it. On the way back I discovered several shelters moulded by wind and weather into the rock belt along the slope.
Some statistics for climbing the peak:
From the saddle at 1460 m I started at 12:23.
The summit at 2048m I reached at 14:00.
Back at the saddle I was at 15:44.
After a snack (which left me with less then one litre of water) I was packing the rucksack as passer-by (one of two I met up here) with mules invited me to deposit the backpack on one of his animals but - alas - he went the wrong direction.
So I walked along the valley on the very visible trail which was even marked with red bars. After a little more than a kilometre from the saddle I had a not so charming meeting with a pack of six dogs which - well trained - came on from all sides. Luckily they didn't approach me as long as I fought their leader with stones and then with my wooden stick.
Then a herdsman was running towards me and chased the dogs away. Luckily he had registered the dogs going at me after he failed to hear my calling and whistling as I approached the flock of goats... (see the hint at the top).
Now I could go on undisturbed. As the trail reached bare rock it was partly hard to see.
The dry bed of the creek running at the valleys bottom got more shape and formed a small canyon where the torrent had washed away the softer parts of the stone. Due to this work some rocks had fallen into the creeks bed.
Further on the canyon became really narrow and populated with scrub and small trees. The water partially seemed to have created an underground gallery but I did not have the time to explore.
The path crossed the (still dry) creek and passing two grazing horses I reached the end of this high valley - just to descent into the next one.
In Sheper I met two invasive but stupid and chicken dogs which were easily to scare with some stones. At a house I got some water and a coffee with cocoa.
Then I hastened the descent because the clouds promised another bad weather. Reaching the stream at the valleys bottom I had put up the tent and was washing in the stream as the thunderstorm approached - but though I wasn't home I was dry. :)