Balkan Adventure Biking Bosnia MicroAdventures

Kravice Falls Father Son Adventure

Waterfall climber at Kravice Waterfalls, Bosnia
Written by Stuart Wickes

Kravice Falls, Bosnia Microadventure

On the way to Medjugorje we have an option to make a detour to an exciting sounding set of waterfalls. The mission has all the makings of a good microadventure... a clear goal, a bit of challenge and a rather vague set of directions.  But not everyone is up for more adventuring in heat and hills, not when there’s a lazy river to swim in just behind us. Although one person is particularly keen to carry on…  

Kravice Falls near Mostar Bosnia

Someone told us Kravice Falls near Mostar were like Niagara. Well we had to go see..

71 characters of direction

One SMS. Containing 71 characters of directions. It’s all we have.

“270 deg waterfalls are called KRAVICA (fon. craveetsa) outside Studenci.”

I’m not sure it’s enough for us to find the place. Kirstie is certain it isn’t.

Message on iPhone

Mission directions were received by SMS. Vague enough for a microadventure.

“Where exactly is it on the map?” she asks, pushing her bike up to where Cameron and I are resting, at the foot of a gravel strewn hill.

The map shows the hill, a road and some trails leading down to a river. But there’s nothing marking a set of waterfalls. And only cicadas to ask for directions.

“You don’t know where it is do you?” she says. “It could be miles. Uphill. In the heat. It might not even be here.” She drops her bike in a puff of dust.

Of course she could be right. But it might be at the first trailhead. It might be a cool and invigorating to swim. It might be like Niagara. I say nothing. It’s an old familiar tension; turning back versus pushing on, caution versus recklessness, pessimism versus optimism. And I don’t really want an argument.

“Can’t we just go and play in the river back there?” asks Hannah. “We just passed some little waterfalls.”

She’s right. And much as it goes against the grain, I’d be happy to turn back in this heat. But not everyone feels the same.

“I really want to go,” says Cameron. “Mike says it was like Niagara Falls, and I really, really want to swim in it.”

I smile inside. I sense an opportunity.

Watch thermometer

The watch says it’s time to swim but Cameron wants it to be in Niagara,

A father and son adventure together

It is a long, hot climb up the hill but it’s much easier without nay-sayers. We’re a team of two, tied together in sweaty harmony by the chain of the tandem.

It’s fun to ride this way with Cam again. He’s been riding solo this year and while I love to see his independence grow, I miss the social intimacy of riding tandem with him. In years gone by he felt like a passenger on the back but now I sense strength and contribution. Riding solo has taught him the reality of climbing hills on a loaded bike and, like me, he is enjoying sharing the pain.

“Dad,” he says between clutches of breath, “it’s nice to get off my own bike. And SO nice to ride without panniers.”

We’re riding commando style; light and fast. Our only load, swimming trunks. We may not know exactly where we’re going but we have imagined it. We know we WANT to get there, and we know exactly what we want to do WHEN we get there. Vision. Passion. Goal. Trunks. We’ve got all we need for an adventure. And it feels good.

Kravica Waterfalls near Mostar Bosnia

A vision of paradise is a powerful thing. It can keep you going when the road gets rough.

Don’t go chasing waterfalls

For a while. But there’s no point in the trunks without the waterfall. And it’s really not obvious where it is. The hill flattens out. We pass woodlands, a house, a farm, a hamlet. We stop and wipe sweat from our brows, swig water and peer at the map. We search for trails, look for signs, find nothing and wonder if we should turn back. But we both agree we can’t.

We ride on, discover a motorway under construction and ride down it to a dead end. We know we are close now. We can hear the river but can’t find the trail. We retrace our steps and find a stony track. The track becomes a trail. The trail narrows then becomes steep and unrideable. We walk on, holding back the tandem as it slides on loose stone, then steep mud and sand. An abandoned towel and lonely flipflop encourage us on. And on. And on.

“You know we’ll have to push the bike all the way back up this,” I say.

Cameron turns, looks and smiles. “It’ll be worth it.”

A really good adventure

“Was it worth it?” I ask as we push, heave and haul the tandem back up the hill in a rush to get back to the others before they call out a search party.

“It was fun,” he says.

“Even with all the wrong turnings, not knowing if we’d find it and with no money for ice cream?”

“That’s what makes an adventure Dad. Apart from the bit about the ice creams.”

That’s my boy.

Waterfall climber at Kravice Waterfalls, Bosnia

Like Niagara? Well, good enough.
270 deg waterfalls are called Kravice Falls outside Studenci

About the author

Stuart Wickes

Stuart's the adventure addict half of the team, always trying to persuade the family to get out, do more, go further. As co-founder and co-director he handles the business, creative, design, technical and publishing aspects of the project. He is our chief photographer and videographer. With training as a professional learning and development consultant. an engineer and musician, his contribution is eclectic and unpredictable!


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We're Kirstie & Stuart. We share an adventurous spirit, a passion for indie travel and 3 kids. The Family Adventure Project is our long term experiment in doing active, adventurous things together. Find out more...


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