Back in April (Walking in the Azores) I hiked up to Lagoa do Fogo whilst staying on the Azorean Island of Sao Miguel. It was chilly, misty with patches of warm sunshine, slowly burning away the cloud. Countless sea gulls wheeled ominously above, calling incessantly and occasionally diving down. It was breeding season. I was the only human.
I remember sitting by this large flooded crater and staring across the rippled surface. All around the shores of this large lake were steep green walls and small, seemingly inaccessible grey sandy beaches.
I longed for my packraft. I longed to spend the day paddling around looking for the best spot to camp, to cook, to eat, to think, to observe nature and the changing shades of the day.
There is something about a mountain lake that draws you in. It is in a sense the ultimate in doing something simply because it is there. Paddling out into the middle of the lake is often largely pointless, it is not wide enough to pose a physical challenge and it doesn’t take you anywhere, in the way that a river might.
It does however offer a genuinely new viewpoint and I think it is this which is so attractive to me. I have always walked around mountain lakes in awe of their beauty but it is only recently that I have discovered the true joy that is to be found on the water.
And this is of course the great thing about packrafts. My Alpacka Denali only weighs 3.8kg so as a frivolous toy with which to enjoy the mountain environment further it is not too taxing on the body.
Zminje Jezero (sort of translates as Snake Lake)
In the last few days I have been itching to get out on the packraft, especially after we went rafting down the Tara river a couple of days ago. Yesterday I went for a walk to Crno jezero (Black Lake) and then up to Zminje jezero (1520 m) in Montenegro's Durmitor National Park. Here I inflated my packraft and paddled out through yellow lilies, happily and aimlessly into the emerald waters.
I spun around, sitting back and allowing myself to drift. I trailed a hand in the surprisingly warm water and stared at dark blue-green pines and the high rock walls that rose steeply in the background. The damp grey day lent to the absolute tranquility of the place.
Now on to Uvac and more water!