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Membros de Wikiloc
Gracen lies on the road from Tirana to Elbasan. Few travellers stop to look down on either side of the ridge. Rarely any traveller will venture down from the ridge to visit the lower lying villages, well knowing that it is harder to get back and up than down. This loop hike descends first on the west side of the ridge, visits three villages and then climbs back on the ridge, just to descend on the east side (where the village of Gracen is actually located). From there the trail leads to the center of Mamël Commune, and back on the ridge and to the trailhead. The trail is a combination of rarely used farmroads, short pieces of asphalt, roads fallen in complete disrepair for many years, and footpaths that connect the many homesteads and satellite villages. Generally the walking is easy, but orientation can be difficult. With 18 kilometers the trail is quite long, and the total ascent is about 1000 Meter. (The distance in the information box on the right does not show all kilometers, as we "cleaned" the trail to reduce the number of waypoints to less than 500. Wikiloc is also not very good in calculating cumulative height - see recent blogs - , especially when there is a lot of up and down. Google Earth generally is more accurate). This trail is like hiking two mountains in reverse. The trail west of the Tirana-Elbasan road is generally delightful and through farmland. If you ever wondered where the fruits are coming from that are sold along the stalls of the Tirana-Elbasan road - now you know. The road from Tërbaq back up to the Tirana-Elbasan road is now also asphalt - but it has a good gradient and leads through a nice pine forest. The trail on the east side is also part of old farmroads, most of which are badly eroded and not passable even for 4WD (at least not without a major effort), and on footpaths connecting the homesteads and on mountainpaths. The east side is wild, with hamlets clinging to the mountainside, which drops deep into the Deksi valley. This is the valley where the new Tirana-Elbasan Highway, with tunnel, is being built. Still, virtually all villages of the commune Mamël, including Mamël itself, are only accessible by foot and mule. It adds a particular feel to the place, of remoteness and hardship. We got lost in the village of Mamël, not because it is so big, but it lies on a steep slope and and it has no roads but a maze of paths. We ended up in the backyards of houses, and of course we were promptly helped. Perhaps, as you pass the first houses of Mamël village, you may want to ask for the best way. Also note, there is a possible shortcut (see waypoints), though you may miss the experience of Mamël! Your could do the trail in two parts (west side and east side), but you would have to arrange transport or hitch a taxi. If you combine the two to a loop hike, as we did, we recommend to do it anti-clockwise (west side first).