24-Jan-2015 -- This is the second out of 6 reports, describing confluence visits in Bosnia/Herzegovina, Croatia and Hungary. The story continues from 45°N 16°E.
Coming from Novi Grad in the West, the shortest route would have been crossing the mountain range from Kozarao with a pass height of 800 m. But today snow had fallen and it was still snowing in heights above 300 m. The mountain road would be surely snow covered. So I made a probably wise decision: I drove around the mountain in a huge loop via Kozarska Dubica and Gradiska. Near Dubica a police officer stopped me and asked for my passport, driving licence and vehicle registration. After I had unbuckled to grab the papers in the glove locker, the police officer claimed that I was driving unbuckled. An emotional 10 minutes discussion followed. But I had the longer breath and finally this corrupt policeman let me go without a fine.
I had read Greg’s detailed report carefully. Every visitor of confluences in Bosnia and Herzegovina should be aware of the land mine contamination. By 2013 still 2.4% of the country’s territory is mined. Most contaminated areas are marked and sign-posted, but not entirely. It still happens that people become victims walking in unmarked areas although the numbers have decreased to less than 10 fatalities per year. While roads and tracks are generally safe, walking cross-country through forests can be dangerous. The map of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Mine Action Centre (BHMAC) shows that this confluence point is far from any minefield. So I decided to visit the exact zero point as long as there were no warning signs. My point of view was that if I had seen the map of fatal car accidents in Bosnia, I would not have driven at all.
I parked my car at a distance of 1.8 km. I could have continued driving on the forest road to approach the confluence, but the forest track was bringing my little car to the borderline. So I enjoyed a little hike along the stream in a deep forested mountain valley. Just before I intended to leave the track and enter the forest, I saw this warning sign with the text ‘Oprez! Izvođenje šumskih radova’. Did it mean ‘Caution! Mine contaminated area’? I enabled data roaming on my mobile phone and let google translate. Google asserted that it means ‘Caution! Carrying out of forest works’. Released, I continued my hike.
At a distance of 260 m I left the track. I had to cross a rapid stream first and then climb a steep hill. Due to recent precipitation the stream was flooding and only traversable with difficulty (I took off my shoes and waded through the water). The next obstacle ahead was the steep inclined terrain, now being particularly slippery due to the snow cover. I grabbed one tree after another hoisting myself slowly upwards.
After a while the inclination became milder and I was able to reach the exact confluence point. Interestingly, there is a forest track just 10 m from the confluence point. This would mean that this confluence point can be visited without leaving the tracks and therefore would guarantee a safe and mine-free visit. However, fallen trees on the track give evidence that it hasn't been used for a long while and therefore I doubt that it would be much safer to walk there. For those who prefer to use it: it starts about 500 m down the valley before reaching the confluence and serpentines through the forest.
The confluence point is on an inclination with a tree cover consisting of huge beech trees and small conifer trees in-between.
CP Visit Details:
- Distance to a road: 3650 m
- Distance to a (real) track: 180 m (horizontal) or 200 m (along the ground)
- Distance of car parking: 1800 m
- Time to reach the CP from the road: 1 hour
- Time at the CP: 1:49 PM
- Measured height: 541 m
- Minimal distance according to GPS: 0 m
- Position accuracy: 5 m
- Topography: steep inclination, mountainous
- Vegetation: mixt forest with young conifer and huge beech trees.
- Weather: overcast, 0° C (felt temperature)
- Given Name: The Caution Forest Works Confluence
The story continues at 45°N 17°E.