Fall at Krka National Park
Living in this part of Dalmatia means that we are close to some of the most beautiful national and nature parks in Croatia. Krka National Park, one of the 8 national parks, is only 36 kilometers from our bed&breakfast at Lilly’s Cozy Cove. We finally visited it last November, catching a glimpse of its golden fall coat. We found it resting in silence and solitude, taking a break from the hoards of summer visitors.
The busiest time for the park are the months of July and August, which is also the most expensive time to get into the park. The cost of an individual ticket in July and August is 200 kn ($30). (See updated prices here). This ticket only includes a walking self-tour of all the land sites, which there are plenty of to keep someone busy for 2 days. Any boat rides cost additional 40 kn ($6), plus parking of 20 kn ($3).
The park is 24 kilometers long and not all sites can be visited from the same location. A car is a necessity if someone wants to visit as many land sites as possible in a day. One entrance is from the village of Lozovac, down a scenic road for 4 kilometers, where an educational boardwalk starts. There are other entrances that are less visited and thus we like them better.
This 2-kilometer long trail leads through the river and wraps around the Skradinski Buk waterfall, the longest waterfall on the river. Signs along the trail and a museum describe the cultural history of this area and its people, who relied on the river to grow and grind their wheat and corn, wash their clothes and supply them with electricity.
Four hydroelectric power plants have been built on the river, harnessing the power of the rushing water, two of which are still in operation. One of those hydropower plants supplied Šibenik with electricity, making it the first city in the world that got street lights, even before Buffalo, New York. This was only so because Šibenik was closer to the power plant than Buffalo was to the one Tesla built on the Niagara falls.
Another pleasant walking trail one can do by car starts from right before a yellow bridge, following the signs to Roški slap. A small parking area is on the left side of the road, from where a trail takes off along the river and across a footbridge. A series of 517 wooden steps lead to the top of a series of river cascades called Necklace, providing another magnificent view of the river.
These cascades feed Roški slap, which is another short hike from the road. Although there is a boat ride to Roški waterfall, it is easily viewed from the boat pier. Not to be forgotten, on top of the 517 wooden stairs is the Oziđana cave, which was closed in November when we were there.
For my curiosity to be fully satisfied, I longed to know the geology of this breathtaking environment. The unique formations of the Krka (and Plitvice Lakes!) are called tufa barriers. Tufa is a type of rock - calcium carbonate, or limestone - that is formed by deposition of cool water. Precipitation is a process during which water changes from a liquid into a solid state. The Krka river water is rich in dissolved calcium carbonate. As this water rushes over the limestone barriers, the calcium carbonate precipitates (or changes) into tiny crystals. These crystals attach to the rocks thanks to a specific kind of moss which serves as a soft cushion for specific microorganisms to lay their head on. These microorganisms produce a sticky, sugary substance, like a simple syrup, which acts as a glue for the calcium carbonate crystals. As long as the water flows over the limestone, tufa barriers continue to grow, in front of my very eyes. (Sources: Geology of Krka River estuary (Croatian only).
And that is the miracle of Nature! Knowing in such detail about this intricate relationship between moss, rocks, microorganisms and water, reminds me of just how special and gifting Mother Nature is and how I must do my part to respect her.