Being part of the Much Better Adventures team means that you spend a lot of time – like, pretty much all of your time, everyday – working on, writing about, thinking about, planning, reading or writing about adventures. And drinking coffee. So every now and then, it makes sense to put down the coffee cups and the keyboards and go on an adventure ourselves. Just to, y’know, check that it’s all running smoothly for our future adventurers. We’re doing it for you, really. Very selfless of us, we know. But someone’s got to…
We touched down on the forest-lined Ljubljana Airport on a sunny Tuesday and checked into the Jazz Hostel in Bled with every intention of beginning our hike up Mount Triglav (2864m) – the highest point in Slovenia – the next day.
Triglav isn’t just a mountain in Slovenia. It’s an emblem of the country. It’s the centrepiece of Triglav National Park, the only national park in Slovenia. It’s on the coat of arms on the flag of the country. It’s on their 50 cent coin. Former Slovene president Milan Kučan even once said that it’s the duty of every Slovenian to climb the mountain at least once in their life. Since we’ve sent a good few people up Triglav in the not so distant past, we thought on this occasion, it was our duty too.
Slovenia on the other hand – and in particular – the weather forecast, had some other ideas.
30cm of fresh snow at the top of the mountain meant we weren’t going to be able to summit Triglav. It also meant we were going to spend our first day hiking to the Blejska Koča mountain hut (rather than the Kredarica hut, which you stay at before summiting Triglav) in more or less torrential rain. Thanks for the trip bosses! But seriously, as American writer Suzy Kassem said: “Life is no different than the weather. Not only is it unpredictable, it shows us a new perspective of the world every day.” The rain can brings good things too.
Where there is rain, there are rainbows and where there is a mountain hut, there is, of course, a pack of cards.
And schnapps. There’s always schnapps too. We think it must be in the mountain hut rules or something.
So, we weren’t going to be able to summit Mount Triglav, but we were going to get a second full day of hiking in the sun of the Julian Alps. The Blejska Koča mountain hut was 1630m, so we were treated to stunning views within minutes of our departure, too. Slovenia is a country that is almost 60% forest – and it certainly shows.
Our first ascent brought us through dense forests, still in the process of changing into their Autumnal shades, and then eventually dropped us off at the bottom of the proper hiking trails up to the mountains. We began to climb more seriously after this, rising to the 2008m Brda, and then dropping back down, before climbing again to reach the 1965m Mrežce. Both summits are blessed with remarkable valley views below, and views of snowy Mt Triglav above.
Triglav wouldn’t leave our sight for the next few hours. You’d think that might be a bit sad in a way. Given that we were hiking next to the mountain we had come all the way to Slovenia to hike, but were prevented from doing so by the weather. It’s sort of like hiking with a giant picture of the ex you’re still in love planted on the skyline. But actually, the views were so good in every direction that it was hard to be wistful for even the mighty Triglav.
The next summit was Lipanski vrh (1965m). The variation in scenery and terrain here was particularly notable. On one side you’d have those big bad exposed rock faces we had been hiking past, and then on another, a beautiful forest line blocking out the grey.
Our high point of the trek was Viševnik at 2050m. Views reached out over Autumnal forests and all the way to Lake Bohinj on one side, and right back to Triglav and the Julian Alps on the other. Group photo time.
Then, as they say (though we’ve never been quite sure who ‘they’ are), it was all downhill from there…
So no Triglav this time around for us… with the exception of Emily, pictured below, who stayed in the Julian Alps a bit longer and went back up the mountain!
But with views like all of the above for the rest of us though, even sans Triglav, it was certainly hard to complain. And what better excuse to make sure we all come back and get ourselves up the mountain another time?