I attempted this hike 4 years ago, but was thwarted by a very cold downpour. For the last four years, I've been thinking about getting to the top of this mountain, which is visible from my in-laws' house. This hike is definitely comparable to Humphrey's Peak, being about 10 miles in length with an AEG of 3100'. The views can also pretty much compete with any from the San Fran Peaks.
Suva Planina (Dry Mountain) is one of the major mountain ranges in Serbia, approximately 20 miles east of Nis, the second largest city in Serbia (and where my wife is from). It has two peaks, Trem (1810 m, 5973' according to my GPS) and Sokolov Kamen (1548 m, do the math). The saddle in between the two peaks is called Devojcka Grob (Widow's Grave) and is about 4300'. This hike started at the ski resort area called Bojanine Vode and took a trail up to Devojcka Grob and then to Trem. We had originally hoped to bag both peaks today, but my wife's cousin Milan, the only one hiking with me today, wasn't up for the second peak once we reached Trem.
A sign at the bottom gave the approximate times to reach each landmark. Devojcka Grob was listed at 2 hours and Trem at 4 hours. We got to Devojcka Grob in 1 hour 15 min. and to Trem in 2.5 hours. I felt pretty good about this since (except for special exceptions) IÃ¯Â¿½m almost always the slowest hiker when HAZ members are involved. Before we started, I told Milan I had 2 walking sticks and he was welcome to use one. He said we might need them in AZ, but in Serbia they don't need them. At about the halfway point from Devojcka Grob to Trem, I stopped to see how far behind Milan was, and noticed he had grabbed a wooden stick along the trail to help him on his way up. For a guy 12 years younger and 100+ lbs lighter, I gave him a little razzing about this. Then I realized, Nis' elevation is about 650-700' and we were now over the 5000' mark. Even though Milan plays soccer a lot, he does so at such a low elevation that now he was gasping for air more and more with each step. Since my hikes in AZ over the last month have started at 4500' and gone up to 7500', I had a distinct conditioning advantage, even with my recent conditioning of myself to Serbian beer and brandy.
At Devojcka Grob, we at first noticed a lot of wind, but since it was over 90F in Nis (don't forget the humidity, AZ residents), this was actually a welcome breeze. As we hoofed it up to Trem, our body temps kept high, so the wind was keeping us comfortable. Even at the peak, we were very comfortable. As we gained altitude, it was clear to see how much closer to the clouds we were getting. It's such a cool sight to see the clouds fly by you just a few hundred feet above your head. At the top, the views all around were astounding. We stopped to read the map I bought in Nis to see how there is an entire system of trails in this mountain range that not only lend themselves to dayhikes, but multi-day backpacks, as well (te-wa, this is all you). Anyone who wants to try this, contact me for info on where to stay in Nis on the cheap. My in-laws will be happy to rent out a room for a fraction of the cost of a hotel and give you a ride to and from the TH. Your transportation to and from Belgrade is on you (unless you happen to go when I do).
Once we got back down to Devojcka Grob, Milan made it clear that no way could he make it to Sokolov Kamen. No worries, from reading the map, I've already planned a loop hike from Bojanine Vode that's no more than 13 miles RT. We got back to the car with no problems and made it back home by 3:30pm (otherwise known as BEER:30), in time for a shower and dinner and enough daylight to see how different the mountain looks now from my in-laws' upper terrace.
Since this is an international hike, I went a little overboard on the pictures.