Friday, September 12, 2014

A Rainy Day in Plitvice Lakes

Waterfalls in the upper lakes section of Plitvice Lakes
The forecast was not promising, with the day starting with a 60% chance of rain increasing to a 100% chance by evening. But today was day that we set aside to visit Plitvice Lakes and there would not be the opportunity again this trip. So we chanced it and drove the 150km to Plitvice Lakes National Park.

Plitvice Lakes National Park is a series of lakes connected by a series of waterfalls. It is the oldest national park in Southeastern Europe and the largest national park in Croatia. It is phenomenally beautiful in a way that cannot be captured in still photos, especially on a very gray and overcast day when the sunlight is well hidden.

This way to the lakes
Our first clue as how this day would be was when we went to pay the park admission. Special admission price of only 55 kuna per person, which is a little more than $9.00 per person. A bargain day. The reason for the special sale price? The sign on the ticket booth said: "Everything Flooded."


There was a lot of water, perhaps even in places that should not have had this sort of waterfall
We took a bus to the upper lakes section of the park -- gornja jezera -- despite the long line because we were told that we could not walk because the hiking trails were flooded.

I am being photo-bombed by the B-I-L
I am not photo-bombing B-I-L and Sister
(not because of good manners)
(I'm taking the picture)
(I can't "photobomb" when I'm the photographer)
(I guess I could selfie/photobomb, but it would be d*mn obvious then that I was photobombing)
We chose to hike the loop around the upper lakes. It was overcast, but still a nice day for a hike, As you see, the trail is often wooden planks elevated about the water and/or wet ground of the lakes,

Upper lakes
It was great. Then, about halfway around the loop we were hiking, it started to rain.

Waterfall beside the trail
It had been raining very hard the last few days, but it had been a rainy summer, so I think the combination was why the park was flooded out. The good news is that with more water in the park and in the lake system, the waterfalls were bigger, more numerous and, most noticeably, LOUD.

Again, except for the lack of sunlight, the extra water made for more spectacular and more photogenic waterfalls.

Sister photographing a waterfall
At first the rain was not so bad, but it got progressively harder. Finally, I was soaked through. And we still had to wait 45 minutes for a shuttle bus back to our parking lot. It would have been nice to have been there on a sunny day with the hiking trails unflooded, but that sort of day was not available to be scheduled. Besides, all the water led to this:

Waterfall along the upper lakes
The park was more spectacular with all the extra water, even if it made for more difficult photography. And that forced me to view the waterfalls through my eyes and not the camera lens. What a new experience!

It was cold and uncomfortable standing there soaking wet in a really hard rain, waiting 45 minutes for a shuttlebus. But it was still MUCH better than not getting to see Plitvice Lakes at all. This was the day to see them. They were real and they were spectacular.

So I can photobomb my own picture. Cool.

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