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near Theth, Shkodër (Albania)
Arapit is one of the most prominent mountains seen from the Theth Valley. The mountain is "merely 2217m high (while most surrounding it are 200m higher) but its impressive 800m south wall (considered the highest in the Balkans) plunges in one go down to the bottom of the valley, making it to one of the prime landmarks and destinations of many hikers.
At the foot of the mountain many caves are located, including Albania's longest horizontal cave. Bulgarians explored it to a lenght of 2585m (while rising 346m) and the western trail passes their camp.
See the summitpost entry if you're interested in climbing Arapit.
The track was recorded when guiding a group around Arapit, starting from the Roza Rupa guesthouse. The trail can be shortened by staying at the closest guesthouse (Mirash Kometa) or camping near the trailhead which is a fresh water spring (see waypoints). One can also approach the starting point by car, thus saving more than 9km distance. Be aware that the western approach is difficult to locate, follow the old road and then cairns into the forest.
The western route is rated more difficult as locals discontinued using it, hence the trail is overgrown and half-destroyed - orientation is often difficult, I recommend taking a guide for this part.
The eastern route follows the marked and well trodded donkey path up to Qafa e Pejes at the rim of the plateau from where the summit of Arapit can be scaled (see sepearate track)
It's higly recommended to ascend on the steeper western trail and descend on the good path from Qaf Pejes.
On your way up you will pass two caves, the first one you can enter without special equipment but to advance further caving equipment is required. Near the entrance one will find the prepared camp spots and outdoor kitchen of the cavers.
Skip through the waypoints for more detailed description of the trail.
Expect walking times of around 10h.
Please be cautionous as the western route leads close to a cliff and is often slippery, the high karst plateau on the backside of Arapit (at around 2000m) is often hit be adverse weather conditions.
It's possible to enter but to advance into further one needs caving equipment. The entrance is a nice place to cool down in the icy breeze on a hot day.
Quite a scramble to make it up to the entrance where a steep wall of sharp karst awaits you - rather to be avoided.
The annual caving expedition from Bulgaria created terraced camp spots and a big outdoor kitchen in the small stretch of vegetation next to the talus.
It's possible for you to camp her but (often muddy) fresh water can only be found with the first cave.
Year around water source with shady spots inviting you for a break nearby. Start looking for the western route here if you missed the old road further down. The marked trail from here will lead you to Qafa e Pejes.
Names of visitors in the 90s are you best guide in this terrain.
This is the furthest point cars will take you, from you have to continue on a marked path through the debris / river bed created by seasonal heavy rain fall.
Leave the forest, cross the talus and ascend in the small stretch with vegetation.
Leave the rock field and turn into the forest again.
Plenty of terraced flat camping spots, water source is closeby.
Mirash Kometa offers accommodation closest to the trailhead.
Old water powered saw mill, out of order.
The overhang is visibly from afar due to it's colorful rocks. During adverse conditions one can look for shelter here or just stop for picnic.
You reached the highest point, camping here is possibe though there's no clean fresh water source nearby. Keep in mind though that winds can blow over people here!
After you leave the forest try to find the trail, look for tramped down grass and enjoy the views back towards Theth and the Jezerca Massif.
The ruined walls of a former stan, a high altiude pasture. Note that this once was the highly frequented main connection between Kelmend and Theth.
There's no proper way here, fight the scrub!
Start your descend, the route can be difficult to find though and is often pilled with snow until way into summer.
Overgrowth increases watch your way carefully and stay away from the cliff.
The turn off for Maja e Arapit is signposted, see the separate trail for directions. Plan to spend 3h for the return walk.
Turn off towards Arapit to cross the karst plateau, especially in late spring and early summer watch out for crevasses. The plateau is often snow covered till August.
Orientation here can be difficult keep an eye on Arapit and look for the easiest trails, unfortunately there are no landmarks that help with navigation.
The trail splits up, follow the lower one to pass the nearby lake (Liqeni i Pejes) or gain height on a softer gradient.
The blocks in/near the lake remind me of Lego bricks.
You made it to the western pass at almost 1900m.
View to Jezerca & Popluks
At the junction with the wooden cross a signpost reads Gropa te Bukura / Jezerca. It's a 1.5km walk to the springs and shepherd huts and a bit further to the campgrounds. This location is the best starting point for hikes to Jezerca or Popluks.