In my head, Makta Canyon is my favorite place near Skopje. Stunning natural beauty, numerous hiking options, boating, kayaking, caves, idealic canyon perched restaurants and yummy macchiato…Makta Canyon has it all and is only 20 minutes (driving) from my door.
In reality, my visits to Makta Canyon are flavored with the uniqueness of the Brothers K and M. So the above description becomes: stunning natural beauty unseen by the duo, despite the number of times I point it out, numerous hiking options that are not explored, boating, wet and crazy kayaking, caves of wonder…though too cold for some, restaurants to be avoided, candy sugar stops for continued motivation, and Americano coffee at home. With that all being said, my visits now are also filled with laughter induced by the running commentary and antics of the Brothers K and M.
Saturday morning, the family nomadic receives a text from super neighbors inviting us to go kayaking in Makta. Yes!! The external stimulus is enough to put us into action and kick us out of our typical lazy morning routine (which we really do enjoy). 10am, driving out to the canyon passing through quaint Albanian villages with red terracotta shingled roofs, Brother M states very matter-of-factly, “That is the perfect village…for ninjas. They travel by running across those rooftops and jumping building to building. But undercover ninjas ride in cars.” Momma S replies, “So I guess you are an undercover ninja.” “No mom, I’m a kid, not a ninja.”
10:30am finds the family nomadic walking up the path, pass the kayak racing course and the dam, with the super neighbors to the kayak rental dock. 11am find four kayaks departing the dock, Brother M and Daddy D in one, Brother K and Momma S in another, super neighbors paired up in two others. Now, the vision of this outing involved a pleasant and leisurely paddle up the canyon, perhaps as far as the caves, and a nice drift back taking in the natural beauty that surrounds us. Unbeknownst to the parental units of family nomadic, this was actually an intense race to prove the ultimate superiority of Brother K. The next hour was filled with frantic paddling that sprayed more water onto Momma S than provided forward movement for their kayak. For encouragement, Brother K would yell at Momma S to try harder and paddle faster and would occasionally try to hit her with his paddle for an extra burst of speed. Within minutes of heading up river, Momma S was drenched and laughing all the way at the intense fury that was Brother K. At one point, Momma S stopped paddling and told Brother K that she needed a zen moment, to which he replied, “What?! What is a zen moment? No! Mom paddle! (Hit) Paddle faster!!” Meanwhile, the three other boats were enjoying their leisurely paddle up the canyon, chuckling along with the antics of the fourth kayak. The natural beauty was stunning, paddling into shallow inlets and caves, watching the hikers pass by on the narrow rock path of the canyon was indeed enjoyable.
Returning to the dock, we were all wet, though none as much as Momma S. Brother K declared that he came in second because Momma S refused to do any paddling and he had to carry all the weight by himself. Walking back to the cars we picked up some roasted corn and Brother M took the time to explain to the kids of super neighbors his confusion of why it is that boy birds do all the work to attract female mates, while with humans it is the girls that do all the work. Such are the quandaries of Brother M.
In the end, the Brothers K and M both gave the trip to Makta Canyon two thumbs up, while Momma S had a split vote…she got very wet, but did laugh a lot. And Daddy D still ends the outing with a smile on his face, one that he would not have had had he simply hiked the trails and drank the coffee along the sheer cliffs of beauty that make up Makta Canyon.