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near Çerem, Kukës (Albania)
This day involves a transfer hike from Çerem to Dobërdol. From Çerem the hike climbs up to Montenegrin border, passes the beautiful shepherd village of Balqin and goes through the Gashit valley (protected area) to the shepherd village of Dobërdol. The main attractions in Dobërdol are the glacial lakes of Dobërdol-Sulbicës plateu.
The hike starts at Çerem center (WP 7a) and follows NE on a gravel road along Markafsha stream. At WP 1b we cross the stream and follow the mule track which enters in the forest and starts ascending with zigzags. The path exits the forest at WP 2b and we follow the hike NE in a beautiful meadow with breathtaking views towards Çerem. The mule track follows NE through the meadow for few hundred meters. The track is easily identifiable by a slight depression when the grass is long and very easy to follow because the meadow is lined by the forest and takes you at the gravel road (WP 3b).
Our ascent becomes very genteel through following the gravel road in the forest for approx. 2, 5 km. The route follows left at the junction (WP 4b) and we leave the gravel road at the border pyramid (WP 5b). From border pyramid our track enters and goes through the Montenegrin territory for approx. 2, 5 km through following NE an easy identifiable mule track in the forest which ascends very gently. On the way there are many water sources (November 2011). At WP 6b we reach a nice meadow and we can see on our left a small building which has been used as a survey point by the border police. We take right at the junction and our path enters the forest after some meters and the ascend starts to become a little bit steeper. At the junction of WP 7b we take right and after approx. 100 meters we meet a gravel road. Few meters right at the gravel road is located another border pyramid.
We cross the gravel road and follow the mule track NE which follows in the forest until we reach Balqin (WP 8b) a beautiful shepherd village used only for summer time. Balqin is an inviting place to take a rest, meeting locals and overnight.
The track to Dobërdol follows NE with an easy ascent in the forest. At the junction (WP 9b) one can either follow right or left. Both ways are marked and leads you in the same path. We suggest taking the path on the left which is shorter. From WP 9b we start to gently the descent and then we cross a stream (WP 10b) and we follow the track E along the stream. After approx. 800 meters we reach a watercourse (WP 11b) and the ruins of the border police office could be seen few meters on you right side. From here one path descents to Gashit valley and another one climbs up to the border. We take N, the descending path to Gashi valley and few meters after we take the left path at the junction. At WP 12b the path starts to ascend (from 1660 to 1760) and after that the hike is flat along the river on the beautiful meadows of Dobërdol.
Dobërdol is a good option to spend a day and have a relaxing hike at the glacial lakes located few km SE. You can overnight at the mountain hut which was developed within this project (WP 13b) and managed from a local family during the summer time.
7a. 34 T 414611 4705051, 1139 m, Çerem center
1b. 34 T 414919 4705565, 1191 m, stream crossing
2b. 34 T 414940 4705849, 1338 m, meadow
3b. 34 T 415148 4706301, 1468 m, gravel road
4b. 34 T 416875 4706918, 1593 m, take left at the junction
5b. 34 T 416583 4707134, 1593 m, border pyramid
6b. 34 T 417356 4707595, 1792 m, meadow and survey point of border police
7b. 34 T 418434 4707468, 1898 m, turn right at the junction
8b. 34 T 419635 4708607, 1840 m, Balqin
9b. 34 T 419965 4709720, 1809 m, junction (turn right is suggested)
10b. 34 T 420060 4710127, 1798 m, stream crossing
11b. 34 T 420757 4710353, 1775 m, watercourse and the ruins of border police office
12b. 34 T 420757 4710353, 1659 m, start ascending
13b. 34 T 423294 4711127, 1741 m, mountain hut in Dobërdol
Palmtreeproduction Dec 4, 2011
very interesting! This looks like dog territory. Most of the time we are lucky, but we were almost eaten alive - or we felt like it - some time ago at Papingut (Nemercke).
Endrit Shima Apr 5, 2012
At the time I was hiking the shepherds were already gone. There should be many dogs but I have never had problems with them in northern Albania. In south (Karaburn ridge) we were in dangerous once.