Sutjeska National Park – Bosnia and Hercegovina
“Some call me Nature, others call me Mother Nature, I’ve been here for over four and a half billion years. Twenty-two thousand five hundred times longer than you. I don’t really need people, but people need me. Yes, your future depends on me. When I thrive, you thrive. When I falter, you falter or worse (?) But, I’ve been here for eons, I have fed species greater than you, and I have starved species grater than you. My ocean, my soil, my flowing streams, my forests, They all can take you or leave you. How you choose to live each day, whether you regard or disregard me, doesn’t really matter to me. One way or other your actions will determine your fate not mine. I am Nature, I will go on, I am prepared to evolve, Are you?“
Julia Robertson as the Voice of the Nature
My homeland Bosnia and Herzegovina has amazingly beautiful wild nature, however it also has citizens who don’t appreciate it and dream about visiting some other far away destinations. Before, I was one of those people as well. Today, each year I am looking forward to those few days I will spend with my family exploring the beautiful mountains, forests and lakes that my little country has to offer.
Two years ago I have found my new favorite spot – Sutjeska National Park. This park was established in 1962 and is a perfect place for people who love wilderness and untamed natural beauty. The park is located between beautiful mountains Zelengora, Maglic (the highest peak in BiH), Volujak, Leli and Vucevo which form together Dinaric Alps.
Here you will also find river Tara and Piva, lakes Trnovacko, Orlovacko, and many other mountain lakes with endless views of lush green forests. The park is getting more and more popular each year especially in summer when it is hosting a music and entertainment festival famous by the name OK fest.
In June 2017 I did rafting with my family on the Tara river in camp Highlander. River Tara is called a European jewel because of its turquoise-blue color, the deepest canyon in the Europe, and adrenaline rafting that it offers. Tara together with river Piva forms river Drina, one of the most important rivers in Bosnia.
Unfortunately, the weather was not welcoming as we have hoped and it was raining most of the time. And when it rains in Bosnia it only means one thing – you will be freezing soon. What was supposed to be the nice sunny weekend it turned out to be cold, muddy and freezing, hence we decided to do what we could so we sat around the campfire and ate enormous amounts of Bosnian dishes prepared in special Bosnian style called “ispod saca“. Although, it was raining our rafting trip was packed with funny and enjoyable moments as we were surrounded by beautiful nature and we had a very nice guide and a very young group.
In the summer of 2018, we went to the hotel “Mladost” for 2 days and we chose to do hiking to heart-shaped turquoise lake Trnovacko. There are no words to describe the beauty of the views over the lake and the mountains.
We left our hotel around 8 in the morning and by 9 o ‘clock we were at our starting point – Prijevoj. Our initial plan was to go to Trnovacko lake but in the meantime, we have decided first to hike the Maglic summit then to go down to the Trnovacko lake from the other side of mountain.
Sometimes when you find yourself in the middle of the vast mountainous area you realize how small and insignificant you are. I always remember my favorite quote from John Muir: “Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer. Camp out among the grasses and gentians of glacial meadows, in craggy garden nooks full of nature’s darlings. Climb the mountains and get their good tidings, Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, but nature’s sources never fail.”
That day I still remember, all around us endless peaks of mountains, green forests, untouched wild nature, beautiful green heart-shaped lake, the feeling of peace, and a deep connection with Mother Nature. We spent the whole day outside, walking for more then 10 h, our faces and noses were red, our feet sore, but our hearts were full. And that is the reason why I love hiking and exploring so much, I love being in nature, far away from madding crowds, from city noise and pollution.
It is about time to reclaim the culture of conscious mountaineering, the culture of living in harmony with nature, and the culture of health and fulfillment. Mountaineering is not only walking and sweating in rough terrain. It is a healthy way of life, thinking, going back to our roots, a time for self-reflection, and meditation. There is no hurry in hiking, you notice each cloud, each insect, each sound. You hear the birdsong, the roaring of the wind, and the sounds of water springs.
If you are inspired by nature please check the series “Nature is speaking” on YouTube.