I woke up in Ravni Dabar on my mattress on the floor of a mountain hut. The night was hot, as the oven was running throughout the night. However, I much preferred that to the freezing temperatures outside. During breakfast I spoke to the Croatian mountain climbers. Some were astounded, that I came to Ravni Dabar, out of all places, with a bike!
After I said my farewells, I went back to the section, where my gps said “short section of hike a bike”. It was a trample path, leading up a mountain. I was determined though, to keep going towards Gospic. Another option would have been to go back to the coast towards Karlobag.
One problem, I was facing was, the lack of reception, which made it impossible to check the weather – the last time I was able look at the weather, rain was predicted for the day after. But today the clouds hung low on the mountain peaks and during breakfast, I even felt some drops of rain. Another worrying point was, I was running low on supplies of food – rice and oats, that was pretty much all I had – no vegetables, no fat, no protein, no sugar. I was hoping to restock at Gospic.
So up the mountain I went. First I grabbed the two back panniers to carry them half way up the mountain. Out of breath, I returned to my bike. Now it was time to get the bike up there. Metre by metre, was I pushing it up. Lifting it over breaches, leafs, rocks. Trying to find my balance, on really steep sections. After catching my breath, I carried the bike bags up the next half. Then again the bike – at some incredible steep sections – I needed to drag the bike up sideways. I set down in disbelief, thinking: so this is the “path”.
When I finally made it up there, I started cycling on a single track path, leading me into the forest. It was mysterious and beautiful, but also overgrown and looked like nobody has been there, in a long time. Trunks were lying over the paths – again lifting my bike over it. Then the path was leading down the mountain again. Most sections were impossible for me to ride. I was frustrated and already exhausted, but simultaneously I knew, that there was no way back. So I kept on going, deeper and deeper into the woods, into more remote sections, not knowing, if it will storm or where the next town will be.
Then I finally made it to a gravel road. Once again dragging the bike sideways up, out of the woods onto the road. I was happy, having reached a road – now I just wanted to get out of there. However, the gravel road, was leading myself upwards and upwards and updwars, towards the peak of the mountain. I looked at the clouds hanging low on the peaks and was wondering, if there will be a whiteout at the top. But my path lead me higher and higher to the top of the mountain. There was no way back. I just needed to keep on going, closer and closer to the dark and heavy clouds. At this stage my body was exhausted. I had pushed myself the last few days climbing the mountain, camping in the cold, not eating the right food. I knew a rest day was overdue. While I was going up I realised, not only my body was weak, but also my will. I pushed long sections, to give myself a break. Every bit of blue sky gave me hope, for the weather to last. Then I could see the peak right in front of me. Hopefully it would go down hill now, I thought. When I cycled around the corner, I came to an intersection. I checked the map and thought, one will get me out of here. My gps said to turn left – I turned right instead – I had enough – I wanted to go back to the coast, back to reception, food and safety. When I arrived at a hostel, still up in the mountains, I finally had reception – I saw that it had about 23degrees at the coast. This gave me the last push, to leave the mountains behind. When I cycled down the mountain, the gusts of wind were so strong, that I needed to ride slow and carefully. Often the wind was so strong, that I didn’t move, even though I was going downhill.
When I finally was down I Karlobag, I was shocked about the events of the morning, I knew this Weill be a learning lesson to prepare myself better for remote parts of my trip. I bought myself a big pack of chips and a strudel and wondered how to move forward. One option was to cycle north to reach a ferry, that would get me to the island Pag.
When I checked the wind however, the direction was north east. So I decided to take the road along the coast south, until I will reach a suitable camp spot.
The road was windy. Every time the road curved into a bay, I was hit by strong gusts of wind. I needed to be very careful, to not get blown into on coming traffic or too close to the edge of the cliff.
I had a look out for a campsite and was lucky to find an abundant house, in between villages. Next to it was a flat green patch and also a small swimming area. I went for a swim washed the day and it’s scary events off. And thought of my old boss Frank – preparation is everything.
I had a beer and cooked dinner, before I went so sleep.
So long – dovidenja from Lucovo Sugarje!
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