Broken bottles,a Stage 5 Clinger, and National Park Risnjak

F22956AD-D4D5-4F8B-AC74-CDFCD05581E0EEDE33F6-02B1-4349-A71D-20001E9E3FBFE90BD412-5379-4785-B533-4CC63A331A77E18B1032-564E-48B5-A442-A73810EA42910C24F542-6587-49B1-99BC-AC3FEE7D9F064B063634-3C73-403C-BD5E-F565BCE3E8B97FF80E73-178C-4F05-9371-36494B0593C02C0526AA-C2B6-4FBA-90C3-D8FA455FEEF000ADB0DC-45CD-453F-BB73-A01F9030A820C7227828-9F83-488C-A87C-83398F7C0C7ARight away Croatia hit us with its tricky tactics. Having us shoot up the side on a mountain to go to the top, which had no views. And ironically the name of the mountain means “good views”. They’re full of shit over here. The dynamic is different now, just me and Meg. And I really enjoy it. Not that I didn’t enjoy the time with the guys, because it was the greatest! But things are just easier with 2 people and we get to connect more. The section before Cabar was interesting. Lots of bushwacking, always lots of stinging nettles, thorns, downed trees, and logs everywhere. The trail would make us go up just to go right back down again. I can never guess what this trail will have us do, every time I think I figured it out it shows me I know nothing. Cabar was great, after getting some food from the market, because restaurants literally don’t exist in any of these towns, we went to the bar to charge our phones, eat, and hang. Ended up meeting a man who claims to be the Mayor of the town. He was super kind and telling us all these places we should go and see, and about his adventures. When he was 20 he walked from Croatia to Egypt! That is so insane! And then he bought us a beer and we learned how to say Cheers, but idk how to spell it. Before the town of Trsce we set up camp in some super tall grass that almost covered our tents making us incognito to the locals. I slept so amazing though, like better than I have in months. And it was nice to know we just had a couple mile walk into town and that was it for the day. When we got to Trsce nothing was open except for the bar where people just sit and smoke endless amounts of cigarettes and were already drinking at 8am. While there and after no breakfast and some espresso we were randomly asked if these people could take our blood pressure and blood sugar numbers. We did and laughed when our blood pressure was way higher than usual due to the caffeine and no food, but just how random? Got a place to stay for $12 at Apartment David. The woman who greeted us, David’s mom, was so sweet and kind and offered to do laundry for us. It was a cute place and we were stoked to be in town for the Croatia game as we really want to watch it with some locals. What started out as such a nice experience quickly became a bit weird. After some weird interaction with the woman across the street for food David insisted we walk to the market and get food for his mom to make us pizza. I swear I will hate pizza by the time this is over. It’s all anyone eats. David decided to come with us to watch the game and we went into the bar with the most people because we guessed it’d be more fun. But when Croatia scored their goal someone threw a beer bottle at our table which hit and shattered our beer bottles and our glasses. Glass hit my mouth, face, cut my knee, got stuck in my feet and we got beer all over us. But nobody said or did anything, ever. No apologies no are you ok, just nothing like it never happened. I was pissed, sad by humans who can just not care at all, and over it. Shortly after David started hitting on Megan and just wouldn’t let it go. It was so annoying. And when we got back to the apartment he kept trying to stick around even though we told him bye numerous times. Then when I was outside talking on the phone he kept coming and just standing by the door wanting to show Megan a pillow he made. It was just super super creepy. And we both had the same nightmares of him being right outside of our window while we were sleeping. Definitely never going back to Trsce again. It’s pronounced like Tursa so we now call is Tursa Cursa. Never going back!! 

We happily and in a hurry left Trsce to head back out onto trail. Now it seems easier to laugh about what a weird experience we had in that town. Croatia just keeps us on our toes that’s for sure. We got to visit a nice church called Sveta Gora, which had a beautiful view, before road walking down towards Hrib. It’s hard to explain this trail, or lack there of. It’s obvious that the alliance who created it had never actually hiked it and just used maps with old trails to create where they’re sending us because a majority of the time it’s just a massive overgrown tree-downed area. Luckily, other hikers who have previously attempted these spots have let us know what to avoid so we are doing more road walking to avoid getting more cut and bruised up. Our poor legs are covered with cuts, scrapes, bumps, and bruises. Although we try to avoid as much bushwhacking and crazy unnecessary trail walking it doesn’t always happen. And we had a pretty good bushwhack into Hrib. Where I actually fell from a rock sliding out from under me. Nothing hurt but it’s always scary to fall steep ground because you don’t know how long you will fall for, luckily I didn’t fall for long before stopping. This stage got amazing by entering us into the National Park where we got to see Izvaka Kupa Lake and River. I have never seen a lake so blue. It was like a fairyland. I loved it. I didn’t jump in which I’m still sad about but it was cold outside so I worried I wouldn’t be able to warm up, little did I know we had a big uphill which would have done the trick. It was magical entering the NP, greeted by a man named Josip who hosts visitors and seemed super sweet. The luxury of trail and beautiful views soon left us as we had to walk 8.5 miles on the road. It starts to wear us down mentally for sure. It gets so boring and all you’re left with are your thoughts, which is rarely a good time. By the time we hit Crni Lug we were done, and thankfully the universe helped us out a bit. Meg walked into a bar as I looked at a map, to see if anyone knew of where we could stay for the night. And right away a man started calling around, found us a spot and before we knew it we were freshly showered and laying in warm comfy beds. The day we got to spend within the NP was great! To be able to hike on a well maintained trail was absolutely marvelous. I miss it! The uphill was pretty big and for some reason this morning I can’t seem to escape my thoughts at all. It’s multiple hours to the top of the peak and my brain just never slows down. It drove me insane. There is definitely no escaping yourself out here. I can’t listen to music or a podcast because my phone will die too quickly since we have to use the GPS so much. Just no distractions, just you with you. And sometimes it sucks, like today did. I did my best to not get frustrated and just be at peace with the thoughts. I just realize I try to control way to much and it’s making me exhausted. So I’m going to just do my best to let go of that need for control and just go with the flow. The view from the top was the best so far. We could see the sea not far away from us, then an ocean of endless mountains on the other side. The best part of this day was before we left the hut, and a fox came and hung around. I’ve always wanted to see one and it was so perfect. I desperately wanted to pet it and it took everything I had to not do so. The day became more magical as we went. We got our first dose of trail magic from a stranger on the road. He gave Meg part of his sandwich and me a really spicy pepper! Yay! Summiting Tubobic with more views of the sea around us, and leaving on a prairie filled of flowers before descending on an overgrown old forest road. We got another amazing act of kindness today when we asked a man for water as we were out and there was no place to get any, he and his wife spoke 0 English, but brought us out some fresh homemade cherry juice they made. They make their own cherry syrup. It was delicious and so so kind of them. It’s so much of what I miss on the PCT, people just doing nice things for no reason at all. I am so happy we finally got to experience it here. 




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