Maja e Pecmarrës

(2017 m) North-facing, perpetually shaded, dark and craggy, Pecmarra is good for nothing as far as locals are concerned.  It’s where you go to look for things when they’re lost — things like particularly stupid and suicidal goats.

The lower slopes are covered in dense Beech forest (Fagus sylvatica) which in addition to providing the habitat-of-choice for Brown Bears (Ursus arctos) are also wonderfully fairy-tale like, particularly in the old-growth forest around the Picimalit River.  Walking through here, especially knowing that there are wolves in the woods around you, makes many of Grimms’ tales seem much less fanciful than before!  You understand the injunction “Not to Leave the Path” — Beech forest is silent and uniform in every direction, and while it seems friendly enough at first, getting turned around can get you very, very lost.  Still, cool even in hot summers, with lush green moss carpeting everything, it’s not such a bad place to get lost!

Above the forest, a very few paths will lead you up the craggy and precipitous slopes, to really magical and beautiful far-away open grassland.  The trick with Pecmarra is that things which from below look quite reasonable always seem to end up marooning you clinging to something dangerous by your fingernails.  It is NOT a mountain to try to find your own way on.  The few good paths are narrow, and frequently require scrambling, clambering, and stepping on one specific stone while skipping over a precipitous drop of several hundred meters.  If you like that sort of thing, they’re great fun, but if you don’t like heights?  Pick a different mountain.  The Rruga e Puntorve trail beginning in Quku i Valbonës is the path used in the 1970s and 80s by miners, who were beginning to extract Bauxite from small mineshafts on top of the mountain (which are still there, and great fun to explore, though we’ve never gotten further than a few dozen meters in – cold and dark and spooky!).  Thus, although the path still has a crazy drop to one side, the narrow path is actually not that steep, and makes a gentle, if long, way of getting to the upper slopes.

There are no stans in active use on Pecmarra (though there are some beautiful old ruins, where you could conceivably camp), so please be aware that there’s no help near if you’re up there by yourself.

 

Things to Do on Pecmarra:

 

Hiking:

Bregu i Lumit Poshtëm: 2 hours one way to all day, easy. A footpath that goes along the river to Dragobi.

Liqeni i Xhemës: 15 minutes, super-easy. Visit a small spring-fed lake in Quku i Valbonës.

Prroni i Picimalit dhe Burimi: 3 hours, easy but tiring. A pretty path through old Beech Forest.

Shpella e Dragobisë: 2 hours, easy but steep.  Visit the spooky Cave of Bajram Curri.

Zhari i Bjezhz: 9 hours, extremely difficult mostly because it begins and ends several hours away from the valley. But BEAUTIFUL. Only for those willing to camp and carry a LOT of water.

Quku i Llabudave: 3 hours, difficult – steep and dangerous, scrambling. The fastest way up the Mountain.

Rruga e Puntorve dhe Lugu i Silkut: 5 hours, easy but dangerous.  Follow the old miners road to the small cirque of Lugu i Silkut.

Rrugë Kembsore të Valbonës: 1.5 hours, easy.  A roundabout way of arriving in Valbona River without using the car’s road.

Other Ideas:

Strawberry Picking: In July, wild Strawberries are rampant and ripe, especially around Mas Kollate.

Hazelnuts: In August, mixed woodland — like at the edges of the forest in Quku i Valbonës — are full of wild  hazelnuts bushes.

Working with Wool: Sose Selimaj at Quku i Valbonës Guesthouse is happy to walk guests through the wonderful world of wool, from sheep to slipstitch.

Building a Mullar:

Cooking with Admira:

Bear Watching:  A wander along the river banks in spring, with a sharp eye on the frequent patches of white river sand, can often reveal bear tracks.

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