Time  one day 2 hours 13 minutes

Coordinates 473

Uploaded July 16, 2013

Recorded July 2013

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4,745 f
764 f
0
6.5
13
25.82 mi

Viewed 9879 times, downloaded 565 times

near Blinisht, Lezhë (Albania)

When travelling on the Tirana - Kukes highway at a speed of 100 kilometers an hour, Guri i Nuses - for all its impressive glory and its summit cross - can only be seen for a split second. Don't even crane your neck along the way, unless you know exactly where to stop. Better, exit the highway at Fan Center and take a minute to gaze at the rocks that tower almost 1000 Meter above you. Of course, Guri i Nuses is better seen from the village roads across the valley, or perhaps from the slopes of Munelle Mountain (whose summit is also difficult to glimpse when speeding through the Fan valley).

Travelling off the highway in Mirdita is always different from travelling elsewhere in Albania. Mirdita used to be the heartland of the Kanon with its gruesome traditions, and poverty was rampant. Fatos Baxhaku in his book Në Mirditë & rreth e rrotull describes how the men of Mirdita could not expect to live much longer than 50 years. He quotes a local physician who met a man of very old age in apparent exceptional health, who explained his conditions by having been incarcerated for more than 20 years by the communist regime, and thus did not have to work in mines breathing the dust and suffering an early death from silicosis. But most prisoners had to work in the mines too, including the notorious Gurth Spaç. Gurth Spaç is pictured on our off-road trip from Reps to Fushe Arrez. Either way, the people of Mirdita did not have the best choices.

The roads up to the Lajthizë (Hazelnut) plateau, from which a hike to Guri i Nuses might be undertaken, also lead past the village of Orosh. Orosh is the place of doubtful fame - including in the book "Broken April", where according to the author Ismail Kadare, those who killed in blood feud had to go and pay their dues to the princes of Mirdita. Today the renovated former abbey greets you before you arrive at Orosh.

To reach the Lajthizë plateau, we took the shortest trail from Reps. Because of the new highway, it is tricky to find the starting point. Pay attention at waypoint 01, which opens a three-way fork, with either the left or middle track being allright. At waypoint 02, you may go right for a short excursion to Orosh. From then onwards the road is difficult and very rocky, steep and exposed in parts. Views across the Fan valley expand as you climb higher and higher. At waypoint 11 you'll meet a better - but longer - road to the Lajthizë plateau. At waypoint 12 you reach the pass where the road crosses onto the plateau at an altitude of 1400 Meter, and where the views open up to the south, towards Lure Mountain.

For a while continue across the Lajtizë plateau - which is not a plateau in the strict sense but an undulating terrain with semi-permanent summer pastures and camps (Bjeshke). At waypoint 14, shortly after a lake, turn left onto a minor road. This road leads back to the plateau's edge.

Before descending, we turned right at waypoint 15 for a few kilometers for our ascent to Guri i Nuses. The trail for this excursion is difficult. If you don't wish to hike or camp, you may continue straight on to the pass, for the descend back into the valley.

The road down from the pass begins dramatically, along steep drops. The road is narrow, and it is not always possible to check beforehand for oncoming traffic - though traffic can be expected to be low to non-existent. The road can have deep ruts caused by the heavy IFA trucks carrying timber from the mountains. The narrow wheelbase of our Terios allowed us to drive on top of the bumps; otherwise you need a very good ground clearance. The crux of the trip is where the road crosses the gorge below the cliffs of Guri i Nuses, which also is the place of a nicely protected well, Kroi Grurës. From here, you can relax as the dirt road is well maintained down back to Fan.

Arriving at the T-junction in Fan, the turn to the right will lead you (counter-intuitively) to Tirana, while the turn to the left will get you into Fan center and to Kukes.

Check waypoint descriptions for additional information on the route

View more external

Intersection

01-Fork

take middle or left
Intersection

02-Fork

left, right to Orosh
Intersection

03-Fork

keep right
Intersection

04-Fork

keep left
Intersection

05-Fork

keep left
Intersection

06-Fork

Left and Up
Intersection

07-Fork

Right
Intersection

08-Fork

Left
Intersection

09-Fork

Left
Intersection

10-Fork

Left
Intersection

11-Fork

Go up
Mountain pass

12-Pass and Church

13-JUL-13 9:50:33
Lake

13-Lake

13-JUL-13 10:04:25
Intersection

14-Fork

Turn left to nuses. straight to Laijthizë
Intersection

15-Fork

right to camp, straight to Pass
Camping

16-Possible Camp

14-JUL-13 7:43:31
Camping

17-Camp

and trailhead
Mountain pass

18-Pass

14-JUL-13 7:54:53
fountain

19-Spring

14-JUL-13 9:27:28
Intersection

20-Fork

4-way junction. Turn left for a hairpin
Intersection

21-Fork

Fan turn off. Left to Kukes; Right to Tirana

1 comment

  • Photo of Gams

    Gams Oct 14, 2013

    I have followed this trail  View more

    This is a magnificent trail, the non-plus-ultra in the classical sense, that there is nothing further beyond, as the pillars serving as a warning to sailors had it. Such a moment of looking into the void comes when ascending the rutted track and again after hours leaving the plateau's rim (way point 18).
    The next bend brings relief as the descent becomes much easier and passes green terraces, where one can enjoy the bucolic landscape.
    The church of Orosh is situated away from the hamlet and not readily accessible. Of the fabled houses of the novel there seem to remain none.

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