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The orchid paths

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It is the third time I travel towards Lisinj, one of Bar`s mountains, with the highest peak called Loška, located at the altitude of 1353m. I will always remember it by the year 2013, which was when I first realized how strong the Sun can be on a mountain and how the lack of water makes everything more difficult, eventhough, on coastal mountains such as these, there was never abundance water.

Between Loška and the coast there is just slightly over 3 km of distance. To many biologists, and especially those living in continental areas, it is difficult to fathom an altitude of 1200-1300 m where a Mediterranean climate is dominant and where you can easily see the Adriatic coast from the top of the mountain.

This time I went with Enko. We left a little later than we were supposed to, but fortunately, a cloud accompanied us along the way. We left our car in the village of Lunje, the last village beneath Lisinj, and I went to briefly “check” a nearby tap in whose bank lived the yellow-bellied toad frog (Bombina variegata). I find it to be one of the most beautiful ones out there.

We were climbing slowly up the mountain, where everything started revealing itself around us. In front was Mrkovsko Field, once a center of agriculture, and today a number of enclosed meadows, and to our left we could see the Ulcinj Saltern, as well as Šasko Lake which I always enjoy visiting, as it astonishes me both as a biologist and a tourist as well. I intend to dedicate to it a few words on another occasion.

This time the goal was to have a breakfast on Loška, with the scenery of the city of Bar.

The first thing we encountered was the upper surface of Lisinj which is as flat as a plank with many mounds, pastures and meadows enclosed with dry stone-wall. As if a powerful wind from the south had once blown and raised the waves and something had froze them instantly.

We followed the marks, but we almost did not need to. Since it was May, the orchids were in blossom and it was as if they wanted to be a guide to the top, we followed them the entire way, yellow and purple as far as the eye could reach.

We reached the “little” Lisinj and had our first brief respite beneath an enormous tree and a nearby well with drinkable water. After that, those famous horses from Lisinj come along. First a smaller group of 3 or 4, left there by their owners to spend the winter, whom lowered their heads and walked away as soon as they saw us.

Aside from them, horses were once left on Lisinj, whose owners never found them again with their calves born in the mountains, out in the wild, never felt what it meant to serve a human. That is how generations of semi-wild horses came to be. They are easy to recognize, when they feed on grass, they do not look around, only the one leading them will immediately look at you and keep looking until you bypass them and keep your distance. Once I stopped to take their photo, he immediately responded, as I had no business there and I was not allowed to invade their privacy. Beautiful animals, and their alpha with so much pride in him, so protective of them.

And finally, the peak of Loška and the long-awaited breakfast and rest just beneath the top.

During our way back, clouds started to form and it became so foggy that we could only see 10 m in front of us, strictly following the path, from one to the other, red and white circles.

Not long after, the sky cleared and once again we could clearly see all the rows of rocks, intersecting with grassy surfaces.

Once we reached the car, we met an old lady heading towards the tap.
“Ah, boys, how was it up there?”
“Very nice, although a bit foggy by the end”
“Oh, my boy, I don`t know what you see there, except hills?”
I just smiled, everyone finds what they are looking for.