Monday, 14 September 2015

Walking from Valbona to Theth 14th September Monday

Walking from Valbona to Theth

14th September Monday

We woke up nice an early, a little before 6 am, we need to be packed and have had our breakfast by 7am ready to get a ride to the end of the tar road, about 6 km from Rilinja.
We've organised to take a packed lunch to share and have the GPS track downloaded.
There looks to be about 6 other people from Rilindja walking to Theth this morning, and we're all getting driven to the end of the tar road, about 6 km to start the walk.


Valbona is about 1000m elevation, and to the top off the Valbona pass we climb up to an altitude of about 1800 meters, and then we descend about 1000 meters to get to Thethi.
After we get dropped off at the end of the tar, the first section of the track is along the white rocks of the dry riverbed, we follow the occasional red and white paint marks and the clear car tracks
There are cottages and small farms 
Lots of fruit trees! Several different types of sweet, ripe small plums. red, and yellow. They're delicious! Apparently bears like the plums too! Fortunately we don't meet any...

At the end of the dry rocky river bed we start to head upwards! There's some lovely shady sections with beech and fruit trees. Then it starts to get steeper...

View back down towards the dry riverbed where we've walked...
Yep, it's getting very rough, rocky and rugged at times!
Getting close to the summit and Valbona pass, there's some VERY narrow sections with what looks like an endless fall down if we missed our footing!
Patrick, nature puts us humans in our places - we're dwarfed by the magnificent mountains.
Another glimpse down towards the dry riverbed and the Valbona valley where we started hiking

11:50 am we arrive at the summit! Valbona Pass! Quite cool and breezy up here. There was even a little seasonal bar on the track about 40 min below the top! We didn't stop, I was worried I wouldn't start again!

Now downwards... It's so much harder on my knees, at least I'm not puffing like a steam train now though!
We walked sharing a set of walking poles for the first time, they're definitely handy going up and down these steep sections.
Lots of gentle shady beech forest on the way down. It seems easier this side of the mountain. We pass another little temporary bar about 30 min down from the pass, even saw a couple of people having a beer! Don't know how they drank it, think I would have passed out!
The way down to Theth is quite pretty, with meadows and forests, maybe not quite as dramatic as the Valbona side. We've been so fortunate with the weather so far on our trip, sunny and warm every day! Much warmer in the mountains than I expected, it's been around 26deg.
Our first glimpse of villages on the Theth side below.
The rocky section from hell!! So many loose, sharp rocks, this section was harder and more uncomfortable than it looks.
Nearly there! Theth lock up tower, Kulla in the distance. The last section is along river rock roads, a little rough on tired feet.
We find our guest house at about 3:30! Petrit Jecaj, it's lovely! 

View from our guesthouse down towards Theth.

All the food is grown and raised by the family here!

Lovely vege gardens and fruit trees all around the guesthouse! My sort of place 
Think this is our lamb dinner being prepared, super local and fresh!
Dinner was lovely! A vegetable and bean soup, salad, bread, delicious flakey onion byreck, wood roast lamb and rice followed by cake warm from the oven! I was too busy eating and talking to take any photos.


This text first appeared on "Nomad Travellers". Read more on: http://www.nomadtravellers.com/backpacking/99-hiking/323-hiking-valbona-thethi
Accommodation: Theth
Villa Jecaj  http://villagjecaj.com/ 35 euro per night including breakfast. Dinner or full board also available. 
Our total for bed, breakfast dinner Patrick's beers and my local red wine was 55€ ! 

Petrit Gjeçaj
 
Tele    :    +355 69 20 46 333
Skype :    p.gjecaj
Email  :    petrit@gjecaj.com
Websit :     http://thethi.biz/

The trail is well marked, and I think most days in the season there would be at least a dozen people walking it. Catherine at Rilindja has maps and GPS available.
Trail description from Valbona to Theth here,
http://www.nomadtravellers.com/backpacking/99-hiking/323-hiking-valbona-thethi
GPS way point to download here http://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=2212123