Saranda/Albania June 2012.
We had experienced three fantastic days in Thethi with adventures and surprises more than we could expect but we were open for more. Heading back to Tirana partly by walking the 16 kilometers over the impressive mountains to Valbona valley was a very tempting idea..
The doubt presented itself the night before our supposed crossing via three Polish alpinists that arrived the opposite direction from the same trail.
They looked exhausted and haunted. The man was injured in the foot and described three dangerous sections with very steep snow-sections.
Yesterdays post explains what made us go anyway: https://hakanronnblad.com/2013/06/27/where-the-eagles-fly/
Led by Marash, our local guide we set off June 11 at around ten in the morning . Thethi valley has an altitude of more than 800m and in about 4-5 hours we would climb another 1000 meters before reaching the summit and then start to descend towards Valbona.
The climb was breathtaking both physically and esthetically but not dangerous…. so far!
In these sparsely populated parts of Albania the habitat is ideal for bear, wolf, mountain goat and of course the national bird the eagle.. as a surprise for me also for the schakal… I could definitely feel the presence of one during the entire walk.
An hour or so before the top we took a break and admired the mountain cliffs around us…. suddenly I saw them.. two eagles, majestically gliding around in the sky at about 300 meters distance . My long lens was clearly not long enough for a decent picture but it´s an eagle in one of the images.
After a short sleep we reached the top between the two valleys (panorama pic).
The descend resulted much more difficult especially with our not so professional equipment.
Several very steep snow-cowered passages demanded complete concentration. Luckily Marash knew the best places to put our feet and without his experience it would have been hard to get to Valbona. But after almost 9 hours we were installed at our destination in a guesthouse eating a well deserved dinner.
Thank you Erisa Cakalli and Marash. I would say you were ideal walking-companions..