Ducaj – Gropa e Shtogut “Pit of Shtog” – Qafa e Shtogut “Neck of Shtog”

 Ducaj – Gropa e Shtogut “Pit of Shtog” – Qafa e Shtogut “Neck of Shtog

 

Distance:               8.7 Km

Relief                     min: 706 m / max: 1667 m

Duration:                 Hours

Difficulty:             Medium

The path includes Ducaj (768 m), Gropa and Shtegut – “Pit of the Path” (1527 m), Qafa e Shtogut – “Neck of the Path” (1664 m) and Gropa e Strelajve – “Pit of Strelaj” (1488 m).

Distances:

Ducaj – Gropa e Shtogut: 5.4 km;

Gropa e Shtogut – Qafa e Shtogut: 700 m;

Qafa e Shtogut – Gropa e Strelajve: 800 m.

In winter, the path is blocked by snow and becomes viable in May. Gropa and Shtogut, or “Pit of Shtog”, is the last place where the snow melts. There are also no water sources along the path, but the path is mostly inside the forest, which gives it a lot of beauty and makes the path more comfortable, hiding us from strong sunlight.

The tour begins in the church of Ducaj (WP – 1) to reach the center and the water source (WP – 2). After having refilled our bottles, we can leave Ducaj to Qafa e Shtogut, entering the beech forest. At the branch (WP – 3), we head south-east and continue on the clear and attractive path. At the next crossroad (WP – 4), we head south. As we climb, we see the change in the beech forest, which becomes more regular and uplifting, giving breath and freshness. We arrive on the shore of the Thjerqas (WP – 5), once cultivated land with corn, and now occupied by beech trees.

We continue the path along the stream “Puset e Shtogut” – “The wells of Shtog” and we approach Rrasa e Shtogut – “Slab of Shtog” (WP – 6). A short part of the path passes through some flat stone slabs, which remain mostly wet all the time, thanks also to a small stream of water passing here during spring.  We have to be careful not to slip into the wet slabs.

We continue to walk in the dense beech forest until the ruins of Bunit të Shtogut – “Shtog Hut” (WP – 7) appear. You can see the stone walls surrounding the hut and in the spring the field is covered with flowers. From here we see Ducaj and the beginning of the Boga valley.

After crossing a field at the end of the beech forest, we enter another beeach forest, where the path is not clearly visible. Even in the hottest summer day, this place makes you feel cool and calm. We leave the dense forest and head to the Shtog pit (WP – 8), mainly composed of pebbles and around high rocky walls that resemble a natural fortress.

 

The harsh relief and the sudden change of the surrounding landscape have given much charm to the area and trees also change with it. Once left the dense beech forest, pines cog the panorama. At the center of the stone pit there is a green plateau and just below the foot of a cliff, there are ruins of a mountain pasture. In the field, in the middle of the pit, the flower “Orchis mascula”, also known in Albanian “salepi”, grows, part of the orchid family. The earthly bulb is used in infusion for a good hot drink.

We go up to the Neck of Shtog which is not far from here and arrive in Qafa e Shtogut (1664 m) (WP – 9), which is also the highest point of the path.

Seen from the Neck of Shtog, the Shtog pit gives the image of a natural amphitheater, in its center the flat field resembles an audience and the stone slabs around it resemble the steps of the amphitheater. To the southeast is the Maja e Madhe – “the Great Peak” 2012 m.

Descend now from Shtog Neck to Strelaj’s pit (WP – 10). The path is steep and passes between beech and pine trees and after 800 m we reach the Pit of Stelave, a flat and green field where once the inhabitants of Ducaj, Plan and Pogu would organize football matches. Here are also the ruins of a verse and a cattle ranch. Looking to the north we see the Great Peak (2012 m), while to the south is the Peak of Laçi (1705 m) and its rocky slopes covered with pine trees.

 

 

Latitude and longitude WayPoints

 

1*  WP 1  N42° 20′ 41.1″ E19° 38′ 18.9″768 m Church of Ducaj

2*  WP 2  N42° 20′ 33.1″ E19° 38′ 21.8″768 m Water source in Ducaj

3*  WP 3  N42° 20′ 25.4″ E19° 38′ 36.4″773 m   Crossroad, SouthEast- Pit of Shteg

4*  WP 4 N42° 20′ 15.7″ E19° 38′ 41.0″829 m  South – Neck of Shtog, North-NorthWest –Ducaj

5*  WP 5 N42° 19′ 41.9″ E19° 39′ 01.1″1078 m   Shore of Thjerqas

6*  WP 6 N42° 19′ 19.9″ E19° 39′ 27.0″1210 m   Rrasa e Shtogut “Slab of Shtog

7*  WP 7 N42° 19′ 05.1″ E19° 39′ 32.5″1424 m   Hut of Shtog, observation point

8*  WP 8 N42° 18′ 40.7″ E19° 39′ 42.8″1527 m  Pit of Shtog

9*  WP 9  N42° 18′ 24.4″ E19° 39′ 49.1″1664 m   Neck of Shtog

10*  WP 10  N42° 18′ 10.4″ E19° 40′ 13.5″1488 m   Pit of Strelaj

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