Hiking in the Accursed Mountains

Nobody seems to know how the mountains in northern Albania got this name. They are certainly arid and empty, few people live here. The most popular trail runs from Valbonë to Theth, some 21km to the west.That doesn’t sound like much, but I ended up climbing some 1200 meters on often slippery paths, at a continuous unrelenting 20-25% grade. That’s like walking up the crumbling stairs to the top of a 400-floor skyscraper! With snow in the top 40 floors. Fortunately much of the descent was on easy and soft – but still steep – forest floor. I was seriously tired when I finally arrived in the tiny village of Theth. Fort the innkeeper in Valbonë had packed a picnic for me with bread and a soft, coarse sausage.The vistas made up for the exercise. Beautiful mountain panoramas at every turn!