September 19: Mavrovo National Park

Today starts the ventures out into the country of Macedonia and away from the city life of Skopje. The first couple of hours is a bus ride with bikes in tow out to Mavrovo National Park, the largest of three national parks of the Republic of Macedonia. Founded in 1949 it is located west of the city and between Lake Mavrovo and the Albanian border. It is also the home to the highest peak in Macedonia -- Mt Korab at 2764m.

A favorite vacation spot especially during the winter months for skiing and other snow sports, the park is one of the only places where there is a lynx population in the world.

Once arriving at the park the bikes are unloaded and the climb up to the ski lift begins. No time to warm the legs -- it is up and up and up! Goal is to reach the top of the mountain and enjoy the downward ride. People and bikes loaded onto a two man chairlift one at a time and away the groups goes only to be met by Mother Nature and a wind storm at the top ranging in 40-60 mph gusts!! Unfortunately, the wind is blowing against the group offering major resistance to forward motion.

Leaving the peak the group follows a mountain bike trail up and then down the side of the mountain covering gravel roads and dirt trails until reaching a paved road that leads down to a sheep/goat herders home. Lunch to be provided, but first there is a lesson is how to milk a goat!! Need to work for one's keep!

The air temperature has dropped considerably in comparison to the hot days of Skopje. Jackets come out and talk about the advantage of riding uphill and building up a sweat as to downhill into the wind and freezing is one of the main topics of discussion over lunch. Decision reached and it is back up the mountain and over the top -- then the long down to the hotel.

A windy day, but a wonderful one for beautiful vistas. Tonight's hotel sits on the side of the mountain looking down on Mavrovo Lake -- which in reality is a reservoir that when created placed the original town of Mavrovo underwater. At low tide the church can still be seen.

Route for Today!


Loading Up The Bus and Bikes

Mavrovo National Park

Unloading The Bikes For The Day's Ride

First Get The Bikes Up The Mountain!

Here Come More!!

The Top of the World!

That's A Long Way Down!

Here We Go!

Jackie and Kathy: "Wait -- Look Over There!"

Sheep Herder and His Flock

Bike Corral at Sheep/Goat Farm

Jackie Learning How to Milk a Goat!

Kit Trying Her Hand at Milking

Lunch!!! Best Tomatoes in the World!!

Cheese Pie (Shepard's Meal)

Lake Mavrovo

Another View of the Lake

Church Visible at Low Tide!


Another Angle of Lake