October 31, 2019
Vagabonding Day 31
Plitvice Lakes (PlitviÄka Jezera)
Read the post about our first day at Plitvice here: Plitvice Lakes in the Off Season: A Misty Watery Paradise
Plitvice Lakes – Trail B
4000 meters/2.5 miles
On our second day at Plitvice Lakes National Park, Daniel and I awoke in a cloud. Peering out our bedroom window, we found that there was only a few feet of visibility. I could barely see the trees in the hotel’s back yard, let alone the lake in the distance. It was so foggy yesterday that I thought it couldn’t get any worse. I thought wrong.
Today we planned to explore the lower lakes near Park Entrance #1. I was really looking forward to today’s hike as it included a view of Veliki Slap, the Park’s largest waterfall. But I wasn’t sure if we’d be able to even see anything in this pea soup. Should we scrap our plans for the day and try again tomorrow?
We found the thought of sitting around in the hotel all day a little depressing and so we decided to go for it anyway. The weather could be just as bad tomorrow, we reasoned. Besides, the fog does lend the lakes an eerie mystical quality that is pretty cool, even if the waterfalls aren’t very visible. Our minds made up, we donned our raingear and headed out the door.
Trail B goes in a counter-clockwise direction around the lower lakes and also Lake Kozjak. It includes both a shuttle bus ride and a ferry so that visitors don’t have to actually walk around the park’s largest lake. The trail is intended to start from Park Entrance #1, but since we were at the other entrance we began the day by waiting for the shuttle. A light rain fell as we waited and we huddled into our rain gear.
The bus soon arrived and dropped us off at Bus Station #1, which is perched high on the edge of a limestone canyon. The tail heads counter-clockwise along the edge of the canyon, featuring what I can only imagine to be fabulous views down below. When we looked into the canyon, all we could see was white fog.
As the trail nears Entrance #1, it descends down the canyon with a series of switchbacks. This is where we encountered the most people. Despite the early hour and the fog, Plitvice still draws crowd in the off season. I guess everyone wants to see Croatia’s biggest waterfall. I can’t say that I blame them.
Once on the canyon’s floor, the trail crosses to the other side of the canyon over KaluÄ‘erovac Lake. Here, cattails line the boardwalks and schools of fish are clearly visible in the water below.
I figured we must be nearing the big waterfall as the crowds got especially intense on the other side of the canyon. We took a spur trail along NovakoviÄ‡a Brod, the Park’s lowest lake, and an amazing view unfolded below us. Here, fog only partly obscured the view of water cascading to the valley down below. We were transfixed.
Daniel and I thought that was the big waterfall but we were wrong. That was the Sastavci Slap waterfall. We turned a corner and there it was – Veliki Slap (which means “Great Waterfall”). At 78 meters (256 feet), the waterfall thundered down the canyon above us. Fog partly obscured our view but it was still pretty amazing. Wow.
After fighting our way back through the crowds to the loop trail, we followed the trail clockwise along KaluÄ‘erovac Lake to its other side. Here, we had a close-up view of water cascading down from the next highest lake (Gavanovac). This waterfall is known as Velike Kaskade, or the Great Cascade, as it spills over the lake’s entire edge and cascades into a string of spectacular waterfalls. From above, the view of Velike Kaskade is typically one of the more iconic views in the park. Fog obscured any long-distance views of the Great Cascade today, so we contented ourselves with this close-up view.
Before climbing up to the next lake, we paused to check out Supljara Cave. Apparently a trail goes through the entire cave from the top of the canyon all the way to the bottom. We didn’t really want to do *that* much climbing so we only ventured partway inside. But it was still pretty cool.
From there, the trail continues along the last of the lower lakes before finally connecting with Lake Kozjak. Here we came to a major trail intersection. We followed the signs for the B Trail which led to the ferry dock, along some facilities including a cafe, souvenir shop and washrooms.
Fog clung to the lake in eerie, misty tendrils as the ferry returned us to the other side of the park. It seemed fitting. It was Halloween after all. I guess this is as spooky as we were going to get today.