Making a trail is tremendous work. But PCT did so much good to me that I needed to give a piece of that love to my countrymen and to all who will feel a need and devotion to get to know Croatia in person!!!! It’s my opinion that if you want to know a country to it’s bones you need to thru hike it. I did that with USA…..at least with California, Oregon and Washington. I feel those states are mine, just as Croatia is. Especially California because I’ve spent almost 4 months there hiking in most remote corners. That’s a great feeling – to meet a state in person and to fall in love with a nature, people and everything regarding that state. I want people to feel the same thing about Croatia – rather they are Croats or foreigners.
When I first thought of making a trail I didn’t know how many people will be interested. After few months of birth pain association was founded and I had 10-15 highly motivated members to work with. Branko was one of the first to join newly founded Croatian Long Distance Trail Association. During winter and spring we did some office work and afterwards Branko said he was going to thru hike this nonexistent trail. Frankly, you have to have guts to do it. Drawing lines on online applications, making big promotions, talking and writing about it and boosting your ego by telling everybody you are making a trail is one thing. Hiking it while there is no trail out there is another. But, thru hikers don’t care about it. They simply pack their things and go hiking. Thru hikers are fucking crazy, and that’s a fact. So, if you want to make a trail you have to be a crazy motherfucker!!!!! That craziness is contagious and if you don’t have crazy motherfuckers in your trail making crew you are not going to do anything.
On July 27 th Branko and myself were traveling whole night by a train to reach Vinkovci. Luckily, another crazy man joined our crew – Igor Nađ. He is a firefighter and a passionate hiker. Igor came back from vacation evening before our trip. So he picked us up at Vinkovci train station in 3:50 in the morning, took us to police station in Ilok to announce our hike to border police, hiked with us to Liska – the highest point of region, and then he went to work. Such a great and enthusiastic guy. I bet anybody who will hike this trail sometime in the future will meet this guy 🙂
Liska is highest point of the region and it is located on the border with Serbia. I made few steps over the border and there I was – in Serbia. But, it was time go back in Croatia. After leaving forest we were hiking along vineyards. Lots of vineyards indeed.
Walking on dirty roads was great. At some point we were lost, but not for long. Branko’s gps found a way and we headed to town Šarengrad which means Colorful town 🙂 To get there we had to walk on pavement and that was no fun at all. Luckily, Igor is going to find better paths and routes so thru hiker’s trail runner will not touch pavement in the future.
Croatia was forced to defend it self in the 1990’s. Most of people know about Croatia’s war for independence. During that period Slavonia was heavily destroyed and traces of which are still visible. War is no fun at all, but for somebody who never experienced tragedy of war these traces can be eyes opener. CLDT traverses around many towns and villages that were destroyed in war and whose wounds are still around. Smart hiker can learn a lot and gain experience from just looking and hiking in this areas.
In the town of Šarengrad we even found winery named Krešić. Great wine, and great prices. We payed less than 2$ for one liter of Traminer. Delicious!!!
In the late afternoon we made it to Opatovac and decided to camp on a grassy path just outside the village. We hiked 15,64 miles (25 km). Quite enough for the first day.
Making of a trail continues…….