"Vevcani-Gorna Belica-Crn Kamen-Lokva-Vevcani Hike" Vevcani Off The Beaten Path Tip by Pijlmans
Vevcani Off The Beaten Path: 1 reviews and 5 photos
We did this 20 km long hike in August 2012. It is one of the most beautiful and pleasant hikes we have done until now in Macedonia. This round trip starts in the mountain village Vevcani.
Due to a ban to enter the Macedonian forests in 2012 because of forest fires, it was almost not possible to do this hike. Fortunately, we could arrange a permit through the Macedonian Forest Authoristies (Makedonski Sumi).
We parked our car at the Vevcani town square, where also the bus to e.g. Struga stops.
The hike starts at the Vevcani Springs, next to the Church of St Rusa Sreda. There is a sign there that points to where you have to enter the forest.
It is relatively well marked with red/white marks on trees and rocks. At several relevant places however (turns for instance!) the marking was not so clear but we managed to find our way most of the time quite quickly. We had an outdoor GPS with us and I prepared a rough track of the hike using Google Earth beforehand, that helped a lot in determining the right direction. We also recorded the track that we walked, and you can download this track via the link below.
From the Vevcani springs you walk uphill through forest until you reach the popular picnic place Jankov Kamen after about 2.5 km. Less than 2 km further you walk into the mountain village Gorna Belica.
From Gorna Belica to the Crn Kamen (Black Stone) peak (2253 m) you walk about 8 km uphill, a very beautiful part of the hike. After you pass the tree line, you enter a plane between the mountains, where a small brook flows and where you may encounter herds of sheep. At this plane you are right at the border with Albania.
You have to be careful in approaching the sheep, as they are protected by big and often aggressive shepherd dogs. The best thing to do when you encounter the sheep and dogs is to try to make contact with the shepherd (e.g. by waving or screaming from a safe distance), he will call off the dogs. In our case the shepherd was a bit too late and the dogs came running barking at us. We just stood still while the dogs surrounded us, and the shepherd came running after them to rescue us. Quite a scary moment as you cannot really predict what the dogs will do.
There is also a peak that is just below the Crn Kamen peak. Both peaks give an excellent view of the glacial lake called Lokva below the peaks. You can also see Ohrid Lake from the peaks (on the upper right corner of the picture).
From the Crn Kamen peak you descent towards Lake Lokva. The official trail passes Lake Lokva. However, another herd of sheep was drinking at the lake, accompanied by dogs. We did not see the shepherd this time, therefore we decided to walk around the lake with a big circle. So my GPS track deviates slightly from the official track at this point.
After the lake, you walk downhill through a plane. We also found the ruins of a church here, that was probably dedicated to the Holy Mother of God (St Bogorodica), judging from the icon we could see when we made a picture through a hole in the pile of stones.
The last part is through a forest again, protected from the sun, a very pleasant way of walking downhill. When we were very close to Vevcani, we lost the red/white marking of the official trail. This was no problem as it was obvious to us how to get to Vevcani, but my GPS track is also a bit different from the official trail at this point for that reason.
The height difference from Vevcani to Crn Kamen peak is about 1350 m. I would certainly advice you to do this hike in the direction that I described here, since this way you climb the first 12 km and then descent for 8 km, making the climb less steep than when you would do the hike in reverse.
It took us approximately 9 hours to complete this hike, including breaks.
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