Nevidio Canyon – really unreal!
For years I’ve been asking myself: what is this „thing” that pushes me all the way, further, deeper?… Is it the discovery of remote places or of remote areas of myself? One way to distinguish people is to divide them into those who need adrenaline and the rest – those who don’t feel this need. The ones who depend on this hormone are in constant motion, looking for adventure, and this is the only fuel for their body and soul. Without it, they fade and disappear. Just like poor Aska the sheep, who could not stop dancing in front of the wolf. And so, in my philosophical search for answers, I came across the famous Nevidio Canyon.
To reach the epicentre of our today’s adventure, take the main road Žabljak – Savnik. At the road sign, take a turn to the village of Pošćenje, and after passing two ice lakes, you will reach a clearing ideal for parking and preparation for the hike. Nearby is the ethno village Pošćenje, but I can’t give you any details about it, as I slept both times in Razvršje camp on Žabljak, indulged in Durmitor’s charms.
Tucked in the splendour of the Montenegrin karst, cut in-between rough walls, hidden with incredible mimicry or inexplicable magic, Nevidio canyon has long “refused” to be exposed. Of course, the locals know about it. Awe-inspired, they called it Neviđbog (hidden from God’s eyes). According to the legend, even God never saw the inside of this canyon.
Several unsuccessful attempts to conquer the canyon were further undermined by intriguing stories of mysticism. That was until August 1965, when fearless members of the Hiking Society Javorak from Nikšić finally busted the myth of its inaccessibility. The commercialization of the canyon followed, particularly noticeable in the last decade. Although it is advertised on all tourist portals and brochures of Montenegro, only a few people can boast with the incredible experience of passing through the canyon. Moreover, the number of people who experienced Nevidio is smaller than of those who climbed Mont Everest.
To be honest, passing through the canyon is neither relaxed, nor easy. It is not recommended to the physically unfit, without equipment or guides, and especially in the period when Komarnica river is wild and foaming, hitting the canyon walls. In short, for a safe adventure that you can talk about, you should be able to swim and not be afraid to jump into the water; you should hire equipment and guides during the summer months (June, July, August, September) and have at least a crumb of adventure spirit.
As the starting point, you need to borrow some standard equipment – shoes, neoprene socks, 5mm thick neoprene suit, helmet and belt. As it is very likely that the sun will be seriously hot, and the temperature in the suit will be similar to the one in the high furnaces in Smederevo steel plant, I advise you to try it for size, and zip it up just before entering the water. It’s best to do this near a whirl made by Komarnica river. It is ideally positioned at the beginning of the canyon and is used for acclimatization and final arrangements with the instructor.
While we were soaking our suits in the water and getting accustomed to the serious coldness of the river (7-8C), some mixed emotions were up in the air. Euphoria grew into impatience, next we were overwhelmed by mild anxiety about what awaits us in the dark narrow passage. There was not too much time for deep analysis, because the instructor called for movement.
Amazed by the scene of the high bridge under which we are passing, I realize that the adventure has started and that it’s time to be maximally concentrated. We are moving towards a narrow chute, the sun disappears. The air changes, it becomes noticeably cooler and heavier. The natural fridge door opens wide. The body flickers due to the anticipation of an unknown adventure. Just like in adventure books, where a group of explorers go into uncharted territory.
We are moving carefully, aware that every step is leading us into a one-way street, as there really is no turning back. Before we know it, we come to the point of no return, the point where we need to jump into the water. It’s not very high, three to four meters, but this is the turning point of the tour. After this jump, there is no going back. Attracted by stunning beauty, without any hesitation, we jump into the icy river and continue our journey.
As we go deeper into the canyon, we slowly reveal the long hidden, wild secret. The Nevidio Canyon is a great fun or adventure park. Behind every corner there are obstacles and temptations to overcome in order to continue. In some parts you can walk, in others you need to jump from one rock to another; you swim, float, or descend down slides and waterfalls. I was so focused on what was in front of me, I had the feeling that time stopped. Not only time, it was as if the whole world stopped, and the only important thing was to keep on going.
Most areas of the canyon are untouched by sun’s rays and are in deep shade. For this reason, the colour of the river Komarnica depends on the level and angle of light. From blue, through green, to deep black. Here, on vertical cliffs, plant and animal species manage to survive in specific conditions. Balancing on a thin razor edge, they survive in hellish conditions amongst such heavenly beauty.
Because of this, adrenaline bounds to specific receptors in the brain and changes the psycho-physical condition for a short time: it reduces pain and bleeding, sharpens the senses (hearing and vision) and increases endurance. This way, the brain is the “wind in the sails” and prepares the body for easier passage through difficult moments. We did not have a critical situation, but we nevertheless felt the adrenaline. Under its constant rushes, we boldly take on and solve all the tricks in front of us. We continue our jumps, each one different from the previous one. Another height, position, angle, depth of water for the plunge…
Nothing is a problem for us, even the most demanding jump, ten meters high. Although every piece of this natural gem deserves recognition, I can single out two more points, beside this extreme jump. Swimming in the narrowest part of the canyon, which is only 60 centimetres wide, and crawling under the waterfall is something that leaves us breathless and gets engraved in memory.
You need to be careful and focused on the tasks in front of you, but it’s not all about the “ninja training”. You should also indulge in the extraordinary natural artwork. Nature has really used its creativity in carving this canyon, and as part of the permanent exhibition of this kind of open-air museum there are springs, swirls, sparkling waterfalls, vertical walls, stone galleries and a wide array of colours.
The beauty is indescribable; it just has to be experienced. Although inaccessible, cold and dark, the canyon emits positive energy and provokes euphoria. So smile does not come off the face of those who opt for this adventure.
After four hours, we leave the canyon which is less than two kilometres long. It’s like someone woke us up from a wonderful dream. The smiles wane, we take off our clothes and realize that it is the end of a wonderful tour. From here, we return to the clearing and for this walk you need 45-60 minutes. depending on how fit you are. The ascent did not really bother me, because I rolled a movie about the canyon from my head, trying to “cement” the images and feelings I experienced there.
The Nevidio Canyon is the privilege of the bravest and most persistent seekers of hidden pearls of nature. I hope that it will continue to attract and delight true nature lovers, who will know how to preserve this incredible canyon.