My First Outdoor Experience in Bosnia

Lukomir 27/6/2014

“He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature.”
– Socrates

My name is Avery Nelson and I am a sophomore undergrad at the University of Denver. I am working as an intern with Green Visions for 8 weeks this summer. As a part of my internship here, I am encouraged to participate in as many hikes and trips as possible. Here is a little bit about my experience with the Definite Departure hike to Lukomir with a group of other University of Denver students.

As we loaded into our mini bus that was waiting for us at the Bascarcia tram stop, we were greeted by our guide who goes by Benjo (full name is Benjamin Mujkic if you would like to check him out on our website). Benjo is full of energy and it is hard to find him without a smile. As we left Sarajevo into the surrounding hills Benjo explained some of Sarajevo’s history and explained some of the mountains we were driving into, etc. As we got closer to finishing our drive to Lukomir, we stopped at a natural spring that was built into the side of one of the mountains. It was a pretty cool experience to fill up our water bottles here. The water was cold, fresh, and apparently pretty clean. I’m used to throwing a couple iodine pills into my Nalgene before I feel safe drinking it, but all over the mountains surrounding Sarajevo and greater Bosnia are these little springs where everyone fills up their water with clean glacial melt.

As we reached the small mountain village of Lukomir (the highest mountain village in Bosnia), some of us used the very primitive restroom before we set out on our hike into the valley below. The hike isn’t too steep but provided a little bit of difficulty as we crossed over areas that had been affected by landslides from the recent floods. Benjo led the way as we all followed behind, getting farther and farther away from Lukomir and deeper and deeper into the valley. The last half hour of the hike was spent descending further into Rakitnica Canyon to the place where we would have our mid-hike snack. During our descent we passed by an old water mill that was used to grind up grains many years ago. Luckily for us, we had a great view of the Peruce waterfall as we looked back up the mountain from our snack spot. Our snack, along with some coffee or tea, was delicious and delightful as we head a great view of the waterfall as well as the ability to see down along the canyon. The view down along the canyon was amazing. If we hadn’t had a schedule to keep, I’m sure would could have stayed down there for another hour, just appreciating the view.

As we hiked the same trail back up to the village, we got a view of lower Lukomir. Lower Lukomir was abandoned many years ago as it simply became too difficult to live down there during the winter months. The hike back up was slightly more straining than the hike down, as expected, but eventually our sweaty bunch made it back to the village and were treated with Burek, Sirnica, Jogurt, and true Bosnian Kafa. We also had the chance to purchase handmade items from the women and men of the village. I bought a pair of thick wool socks and a pair of colorful wool mittens. We’ll have to see if they can keep me warm in those harsh Rocky Mountain winds when I get back home. After lunch and a little bit of shopping some of us took a quick walk up to the hill that sits above the village (seen in the second picture). Apparently the top of this hill is the only place in the area where anybody can get cell service, so everyone once in a while you can spot 5-10 people up there all at the same time talking on the phone. Must be quite the funny sight. All in all, a day VERY well spent. Not the best option if you are looking for a super serious hike, but a decent hike combined with a lot of cultural background of the area provides for a wonderful experience.

I’d like to leave you with another quote.

“There are an awful lot of scientists today who believe that before very long we shall have unraveled all the secrets of the universe. There will be no puzzles anymore. To me, it’d be really, really tragic because I think one of the most exciting things is this feeling of mystery, feeling of awe, the feeling of looking at a little live thing and being amazed by it and how it has emerged through these hundreds of years of evolution and there it is and it is perfect and why.”

— Jane Goodall

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