Across Dhoksit, Lopës to Liqueni i Zi – the Black Lakegreen hike
Summary: The town of Bulqize is not known for its hiking potential, but for its chromium mines. Mali e Lopës, the mountain that looms large south of Bulqize, has been mined for many decades. Mining is hard work and often hazardous, and while it provides jobs, the conditions and remuneration will remain an issue until properly regulated and enforced.
A hike across the mountain, ending at Liqeni Zi, is not only instructive but also an enjoyable undertaking. It gives testimony that Bulqize is not a town to be avoided, but that it offers more than meets the eye.The plateau of Mali i Lopës (the mountain of the cow) is big, and in the past surely provided grazing for plenty of livestock. Now there are no cows, nor sheep, nor dogs on the mountain.
Mali i Lopës has three summits. Dhoksit is seen from Bulquize, the second (unnamed peak) is the highest of the three with the best views, and then there is Maja e Lopës which gave the range its name.
The hike entends to the Ligeni Zi, or more correctly Liqeni i Zi i Valikardhës. The lake beats the Lura Lakes hands down for its color and beauty, but is threatened by the extending exploitation and other developments.
The hike is easy but long. The hike is recorded as a one-way hike, so you need to make appropriate arrangements for transportation – first to take you to the trailhead, and then to pick you up from below Liqeni Zi. The road from Valikardhë to Liqeni Zi is a private road closed with a barrier, and you may have to hike down from the lake to the barrier. Perhaps the security guard lets the vehicle through when explaining that it intends to pick up hikers from Liqeni Zi. This shortens the hike by almost 4 kilometer.
There is one safe water point as indicated by a waypoint.