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Worldtrip a 45 year old's adventures around the world-which include everything from sitting in random McDonalds using his notebook, hanging with 22 year olds, and other immature stuff.

Thunder in the Canyon

MACEDONIA | Monday, 21 September 2015 | Views [368]

Yesterday, I went to Canyon Matka-a lake in a canyon here on the outskirts of Skopje, just about an hour away by bus.


A lot of those who stay in hostels like nature and the activities that go with it, such as camping, hang gliding, rock climbing, etc.  That certainly isn't me-I prefer cities and all  that go with it. That said, the tour guide spoke highly of Canyon Matka, and being that the bus ride was less then $1.50 and it was only an hour away, I figured I would go and check it out.


I left the hostel around 10:00 am, and walked to the bus station (a 15 minute walk)-I missed the first but, but caught the next bus which came roughly about 12:00-so I waited around for a long time.


An hour later, after many stops, the bus finally stopped at the canyon park. It was a sunny day, with the temperature in the 80's-90's, and the park was crowded. I of course was wearing shorts, a Hawaiian shirt, and sandals. Vendors we're selling corn-on-the-cob cooked on the grill (a typical Balkin snack).  The instructions on Tripadvisor we're to walk forward in the direction the bus arrived from, to arrive  at the park's attractions. 


I walked forward and walked along a brook-with people along side sitting on benches enjoying the water. On the far side was the other side of the canyon-rock walls many stories tall, with lots of trees in between them and the water. I kept walking, up the hill past a hotel and restaurant. I walked by a boat-rental place, where someone can rent a kayak or boat ride and go into the caves.


I kept walking to the beginning of a trail, with a sign saying the trail was 6 KM long.  I needed a nice long walk-it seems like I have been gaining weight over the past month or so. In big cities like Prague and Budapest I used to walk a lot, but the cities I have come across lately have been smaller, which isn't conducive to walking. So I welcome the challenge of the long walk (I guess 12 KM there and back),.


I kept walking along the path, starting out about 1:30 pm, which again was beautiful.   I noticed the high rock walls on the other side of the river, the seeming hundreds of trees, and the peace, interrupted only by other walkers/hikers, and the motorboats below going to the caves.  I walked up rocks, and along the narrow pass, separated by the river, trees, and rocks  below in some places by just a thin ledge.  As I kept walking, there we're fewer and fewer hikers, and fewer sounds other then bees buzzing, and the occasional motorboat. I was determined to get to the end of the trail.


Starting around 2:30 pm, I heard the faint sound of thunder-it was more of interest then of anything else, and the sky started turning cloudy.   But the path continued, and the thunder was distant. Just myself, and the river, with a railing between myself and the river, trees and rocks below, in some places no railing.  I came to  one location where I had to climb up over some rocks, and climb back down some more rocks to continue on the trail.


At around 3:00, the thunder was getting louder, and there was lightning, and nobody else around. I enjoy thunder and lightning-I was hoping it wouldn't start raining (yes-a thought about as logical as growing a set of wings and flying away).  At roughly 3:15., the rain started to pour. It felt like the sky was exploding. But I figured the rain would stop and I could continue to the end, so I kept going.


I never came to the end of the rural and lonely trail. At 3:30, with the rain still coming down in buckets, I decided to turn around. I didn't mind the rain as much as being back before it started to get dark, (the trail of course was unlit). So I doubled back along the thin path with pools of mud.


I came to the point where I had to climb the rocks to  continue on, but it was too slippery-my sandals couldn't gain traction-so I, with my camera bag on my back, my wallet in my pants and my cellphone in my shirt, slipped down the side of the rock into the mud. I kept sliding and sliding down towards the river.  At one point, I slid down the side of the rock, with only one hand on the rock providing support (if my fingers loosened I would have fallen about 10-15 feet towards and probably into the river).  I was able to lift myself up on to the rock-except I lost the trail, and maneuvered myself through the sticks, and rocks. to the trail. At one point, I fell on my butt, and crawled along since my sandals we're slippery.


I returned to the trial and kept walking. I was soaked throughout, and covered in mud. At about 4:30, it did stop raining to maybe a drizzle-but the temperature dropped about 10 degrees into the 70's it seems, and a cold wind blew-not bad in most cases but when soaked I was freezing.


At 5:30-I came back to the far end of the trail. and then walked towards the bus stop. Some guys felt bad and gave me a ride towards the bus stop-I took it, and felt bad I got the dirt from my pants on the back seat of their blue Opal. Some people on the bus, Americans who we're teaching somewhere, started making fun of me I think because they thought the mud on the back of my shorts was poop.


At 6, I took the bus back to the hostel, and bought some tuna to grill. When I got back to the hostel, still cold and wet, I took a hot shower and washed my clothes in the bathtub. I tried to turn on my cell phone, but it flickered on and off. (When I took out the battery, it was still wet).  I then cooked dinner, staying in all night, watching alternatively CNN, MTV Hits, and MTV Dance.



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