Balkans trip! We started it in Macedonia. We have already been in Gumalevo and Matka. So we will start talking about Gumalevo (ENJOY THE TRIP).
We departed from Skopje, the capital of Macedonia. Our plans were to find Gumalevo, which has some amazing routes and views…
So the place is an easy one to find, as long as you have a gps or some guide, you will find it with no problem.
Once you get to the parking, you just have to go to the left hike. There is a map, but it is (for now) on the ground, broken into peaces…, the saddest part of that area.
Anyway, once your are on the right spot, you start hiking through a beautiful landscape in which you could see some white flower trees (we think they are dogwood trees), which are really nice to see. After a walk of around 10 – 15 minutes, you find that spectacular wall full of routes ready to be climbed.
You have from 5c+ to 8b routes. They are all amazing, but the last ones were inaccessible due to the vegetation. In any case, you have so many routes before that point that it is not a problem.
About the routes, we were trying some of them. The rocks were a little wet, but still compact, so it was worth it to get there.
To end with Gumalevo, we just have to say that you should go and try, because the fun is guaranteed. And the views once you are there, is something that you have to feel by yourself…
And now, Matka! This place is near Skopje and as a hike, it is just amazing. There is an easy place to find too and once you park, you just have to start walking. The only problem here is that, is you want hiking, you just have to keep walking, BUT IF YOU WANT TO CLIMB, be careful, because you have to take a boat to the other side of the canyon.
So yes, that is what happened to us… so here we will talk about the hiking, leaving the climbing part for another day (will post once we reach that part). The only thing we can say about climbing is that the rock isn’t that compact as it is in Gumalevo. Even though you can’t climb in the right part of the canyon, you are walking by the mountain, so you can touch and try the rock. Most of it is limestone and because the days before it was raining a little bit, there were parts where when you grab the rock, it is leaving the wall with you… So, it is a place where you have to be really careful if you want to climb. Anyway, there were some parts in which you could do bouldering for a while, so never give up if you don’t find the place or you get the wrong way…
About hiking, it is just amazing. The views are spectacular, the hike can be as long as you want (we were there walking for 3 hours, but you can make it longer or shorter) and you don’t get bored at any point because the way is changing all the time. You can be walking through an open space and suddenly you find yourself into vegetation, to go out of there again and have those spectacular mountains to see. For us it was a beautiful place to be and to relax for a while. The sound of the water running through the canyon, the birds, the green, the sky, the metamorphosis of the landscape, the stone, the air… It has everything.
Looking forward to visit that place again, we have to admit that for hiking, it is a wonderful place…
So go and enjoy that part of Macedonia.
Itziar Pérez Miranda, 06/04/22