Saturday, October 24, 2015

Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

We took the train from Slovenia to Croatia, but about a mile from the border, we had to get off and board a bus to take us over the border due to the current refugee situation with Syria. After we de-bussed and cleared immigration, we headed into Zagreb. We walked over to the car rental place (which was closed) and waited around for them to get back from lunch. Once we were settled with the car, we headed south out of town towards Plitvička Jezera, or the Plitvička National Park.We spent the night at a guest house about 5km from the entrance to the park, and the home owner gave us her suggestions on the route we should take through the park (which turned out to be the perfect amount of time). We got up early, had a wonderful breakfast of fruits, eggs, coffee and cheese, and heading into the park.

Waterfall stairs
Due to the karst geology of the region, a series of 16 lakes (on the surface) cascade down a shallow valley, creating walls of waterfalls unlike anything I've seen. Natural travertine and tufa dams, created by the deposition of moss, algae and bacteria (thank you Wikipedia!), created the natural barriers. Hundreds of kilometers of wooden walkways were built just above waterline, so it looks as though you are walking on water. Since we were there in the rainy season, often the walkways were flooded and you were walking on water, quite literally! Steps were built down the center of waterfalls - have you ever walked down a waterfall?

Are you ready for some incredible waterfalls, autumn scenery, and breathtaking nature?
Boundary Waters in Minnesota, or Croatia?

Map of the series of 16 surface lakes, their elevation, size

Entire walls of waterfalls
Yellow, orange, turquoise - beautiful fall colors

Halfway down the lakes
Waterfall stairs

Directions, only useful if you have the map and legend
Bat Caves, enter at your own risk!
Up to the Bat Cave!
Some of the walkways were a little flooded. This one was particularly challenging, especially since just past this we had to walk the rock wall adjacent to the 6-foot deep lake.
Flooded pathways, precarious byways!
Warning, your feet might get wet (we were almost at the end, and this is where my shoes got wet!)
Flooded stairs
Flooded footpaths and makeshift bridges

Trail signs guided the way...
Don't walk away from the boogie.
Don't scramble around in these twigs. There is water below them.
Lay down in the canoe here? You might lose your arms?

Plitvička Lakes National Park, Plitvička Croatia

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