Starry skies rise high above the mountain. With each passing second the stars seem to move further away from us, but closer for the group of mountaineers who are climbing on the mountain. With each step towards the top, climbers have a feeling they can reach their hand and touch the stars.
Sometime after 4 am, the sun slowly wakes up on the horizon whereas the moon is sent to sleep, but it doesn’t give up and is still peeking. The colors in the sky go dancing and playing. At one end of the sky, where the moon falls asleep, it is dyed in blue and the other end where the sun is peeking the sky seems orange.
“Mountaineers are in the eternal quest for beauty,” says our reporter Dunja Pasalic of Bjeline in Bosnia and Herzegovina which is the second largest city in the Republika Srpska.
Dunja is one of those searching for beauty, those who often replace their pen with a paintbrush. A few years ago she discovered mountaineering and immediately fell in love with it.
– Mountaineering never ceases to amaze me. When you go to the mountains for two days, you forget about everything else and just think about how to get to the top, how to go downhill, how to get across the rock … a real pleasure. – she says.
Mount Olympus in Greece and Korab in Macedonia are some of the mountains that she and her friends have conquered so far. She has been climbing in all countries in the region, but Africa remains her unfulfilled desire.
– In general, I tend to be persistent and that persistence has made me climb the Greek Olympus, Macedonian Korab, Slovenian Triglav, Mount Midzor in Serbia, as well as Maglic Peak in BiH. – she said.
She has climbed the Italian Dolomites, Mount Velebit in Croatia, and she was only 20 meters away from the top of the highest peak in Austria, Grossglokner.
– Sometimes I simply don’t know how the mountain is going to react. In the early morning hours at about 3 am the sky may be clear and full of stars, and in less than an hour a strong wind starts blowing and rain turns into snow. You have to respect the mountain during such moments – says Dunja.
She considers climbing Triglav in Slovenia and the highest peak in Greece, Olympus to be the most memorable experiences in her life.
– Olympus was the first real mountain that I conquered and it is very dear to me. When climbing Triglav I realised that I love rocks, – says she and reveals her greatest desire when it comes to conquering mountain tops.
It is Mont Blanc and Kilimanjaro says she without hesitating.
– My friends and I are planning to make a women’s mountaineering team and go on an expedition to the highest peak in Africa. Hopefully, we will succeed in realizing our dreams. – explains the young journalist with undisguised desire.
Pasalic is has a BA in Political Science, an MA in International Politics, and is currently working as an editor at SRNA news agency. The same way she changes her professions she also changes her art because she believes that you cannot be an artist if you are dealing with facts. So, if she isn’t climbing mountains she paints and occasionally she can take her guitar and compose a song.
– The Balkans have excellent conditions for developing mountain tourism. I saw it back in 2009 when more than a hundred mountaineers from over 50 hiking clubs from Republika Srpska visited Macedonia and Greece and climbed the highest peaks in the two countries. I saw intact nature, suitable for mountain biking, rafting, mountaineering, gathering herbs or taking photographs. – explains Pasalic, adding that mountaineering associations should promote cooperation between countries. She says that countries need to invest in mountaineering infrastructure, build mountain lodges and mark hiking trails.
– Many people do not understand the meaning of hiking and the fact that it is a lifestyle. It is rewarding because it makes us better people. It is worth investing in mountaineering.