2.4.2012 In The Paklenica - National park, Velebit Mountains

The Velebit mountains are situated along the Adriatic coast from Senj (opposite the southern top of the island of Krk) till about Zadar. I drive from Biograd about 70 km, first on the highway til Maslenica, then along the coastal road till Seline/Starigrad. There, the two gorges Vela Paklenica ("Big Paklenica") and Mala Paklenica ("Small Paklenica") are opening to the sea. The area was declared a national park in 1985 and exemplary developed.

Vierw from the highway exit Maslenica over the so called Velebitski Canal, a long, narrow strait between the continent with the Velebit mountains and the peninsula of Pag (to the left). To the right is the Velebit.

View over the Velebitski Canal to the Pag peninsula.

Arrived near Starigrad. View to the Velika Paklenica gorge.

First a drive for several kilometers to enter the outer parts of the gorge.

View back from the gate, where you have to pay entrance to the National park.

At the parking ground at he end of the road.

 ... once aeound the corner, and you enter the crag.

Not only the souvenir shop (where I bought an excellent walking map of the region), but also the public toilet is situated inside the mountain making use of old galleries constructed in the area of Tito´s Yugoslvia to protect the government of the state in case of devastating war. A large national park visitor´s center is still under construction.

I start my walk now and soon I leave behind the gaggle of noisy scramblers.

Impressive rock walls on both sides.

A bit further up, the valley is wider, here a beck is running, which is running dry and seeping away between the rocks..

 View to the east, to the right is Anica Kuk (711 m)

View to the west.

Anica Kuk

View up the valley; the main ridge cannot be seen from here.

I branch off to a side path up the right slope.

View back - the sea and the Velebitski canal ...

 ... and zooming in.

Now the main ridge comes intop sight.

A bit higher ...

And agoain the view up the dale to the main ridge.

The houses of Starigrad.

Huge rock walls from the gorge up to Anica Kuk.

Starigrad once more.

Arrived at the saddle. Panoramic view over the Velika Paklenica gorge, to the right in the background is the main ridge, the highest summit of the Velebit, Vaganski Vrh (1.758 m) is peering out behind Borovnik (1.056 m). Click here or into the picture for a larger version.

Karst formations

Now I am walking through light mountain forest. Here and there a few flowers: Cowslips  ...

 ... and mountain daffodills.

A grey dandelion with a visitor: Southern Festoon (Zerinthia polyxena)

Rather high up now, viewing back over the gorge. A high cloud layer is drawing in now, but it stays dry.

Heading for a strenuous way over a narrow, but good discernable and perfectly color marked footpath ...

 ... now to the right into this high valley and behind the saddle descending to the left. In front is Orlov Kuk (865 m) ...

 ... and the main ridge behind.

Now having passed the saddle, the path leads along he slopes coming down from Veliki Kuk and I get a more free view to the main ridge.

View over the valley. Up here, the same pine species is growing as at home in Winzendorf: Austrian ("Black") Pine, sometimes growing in the same, funny umbrella like fashion as home.

The Paklenica hut, today´s goal. Shame that it is closed at this time of the year, open only on weekends. Behind is Crljeni Kuk (1.661 m). Vaganski Vrh, the highest, is to the right, out of the picture.

Walking down the lovely valley of the velika Paklenica.

National park information plate

Further on along the beck.

The high clouds having covered the sky for a few hours are away now.

The path is well constructed here, to be suited for walking with packhorses.

Back at the narrow part of the gorge.

Back at the hotel, after a rest and a hot shower, I have to interrupt the dinner to enjoy the sunset from my balcony.

The next day it is raining, so I stay in the hotel and have a day´s rest.