The hikes at Komovi and Ljevaja Canyon offer two very different environments. Komovi hiking is in the open with expansive views in all directions including to the impressive, craggy peaks above. The Ljevaja Canyon hike starts at the forested Biogradsko Jezero in the Biogradska Gora National Park, climbs through the woods to Katun Goleš, and then drops back down along the mountain stream that forms Ljevaja Canyon toward the resort town of Kolasin.
[This post is the final installment of a six-part story about hiking and beer culture travels in Montenegro. Click here to view an index of the entire series of articles. ]
All of these hikes in Montenegro could be challenging in my book — I was humbled more than once by yet another long, steep, uphill jaunt. At the same time, they all offered different environments, viewscapes, and charms. These are all located in very remote places, so they are, with few exceptions, the kind of beer hikes where the beer waits chilling for you at the end of the hike at basecamp. In these rural areas, Nicsicko seems to be the dominant beer brand.
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Several interesting hike routes originate at the Ethno Camp Štavna, a small, rustic resort consisting of a handful of simple cabins and a restaurant serving simple, traditional fare. My hike led across a steep slope below the Komovi peak up to a promontory offering a spectacular view.
Part of the route is on the Mountain Wreath Trail, named for a famous Montenegrin epic poem written in 1846 by Petar II Petrović-Njegoš. Petar was both a Prince-Bishop of Montenegro and a poet and his Mountain Wreath deals with the struggle for freedom, justice, and dignity through dramatic depictions of Montenegrin life including feasts, gatherings, customs, beliefs, and the struggle to survive. I heard it referred to and cited many times during my travels in Montenegro.
Wild blueberries were in prime form in all the meadows and there were groups of people everywhere collecting them up. I probably could have had a delish glass of fresh blueberry juice back at Stavna, but I opted for a cold beer with lunch.
Biogradska Jezero, Katun Goleš, and Ljevaja Canyon Hike
This hike begins at Lake Biograd (Biogradska Jezero), a heavily touristed area at a pretty lake in the forest. Once you leave the lake behind you also pretty well leave the people behind on a steep ascent up a forested mountainside. The terrain opens up at the top of the ridge where the route soon descends to Goleš Katun, a seasonal shepherd’s settlement. It is possible to spend the night in Goleš, have lunch and a beer, or just to take a break and enjoy some time with the hospitable hosts of the Farm Household Bulatović. We brought our lunch so it was natural to purchase and enjoy a beer to go with it. The friendly and gracious host served us some homemade cake to top things off.
From Goleš, there is another short climb before descending through some wide-open meadows down to the Ljevaja River, a small mountain stream that cascades its way down a beautiful forested canyon. You almost get a rain-foresty feeling at times, particularly when you hit one of several patches of elephant ear size plants in the bed of the stream. The route ends up at a small village named Mušovića Rijeka on the road back to Kolasin.