It’s been a hard winter for eastern Serbian wilderness, full of natural disasters – first the floods destroying every road along some river or stream, and then icy rain in December accumulating huge amounts of ice in the trees under which tree trunks broke like they were matches, leaving branches lying around all over the place. The result was that we had to redraw our 4×4 trails, since at least 50% of the ones we knew well and loved became inaccessible (including our favorite through the Polome forest on Malinik mountain). An inspection run was simply necessary in order to precisely assess the damage and responsibly plan itineraries for tours in eastern Serbia during the 2015 season.
From the very beginning, news were not good – we had to abandon tracing the trail over Svrljiške mountains, because the amount of debris on the ground was too much for one chainsaw, a winch and two pairs of hands. We continued over Devica mountain only to find out that the next, Slemen mountain, was among the worst hit. Fortunately, the forestry workers have done their job and cleared one road through the beautiful Slemen forests. At Zlot our friends joined us and helped clear the route to the Kovej campspot / scenic view – two chainsaws and several more pieces of tools, combined with 7 pairs of hands, was a mightier workforce to deal with the elements. But clearing the 4 km through the Polome rainforest was too much – it will be dealt with some other time. Moving over to the Iron Gate national park brought us to another problem – almost no road following some river valley was any good to climb the ridges, since the catastrophic floods last September caused landslides which destroyed most of them. But, with some effort we found our ways around obstacles, so that our visitors can still enjoy the wild beauty of this part of Europe.
And yes, working in eastern Serbia, even in such conditions, brought us great pleasure, spending days and nights far from the madding crowds, overpopulated cities and traffic congestion. And that’s priceless 😎
Photos: Božidar Živanović, Gordana Atanasijević, Aleksandar Veljković