Owning a hiking agency I get this question a lot: what gear will I need to hike in the mountains? In fact, I get it so many times that I think a nice detailed blog could be useful for all you hiking enthusiasts out there. Although the answer is not so straightforward, I’ll do my best to present you with a list of things to pack. But first off, let’s talk about some basic factors that will help you understand better the country’s specifics and the appropriate gear you’ll need for the Slovenian mountains.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of You
It’s that time of year again! We are all cheering, laughing, dancing, spending time with our loved ones, cooking, baking, and making our lives a little brighter at least for a few moments. I’m sure we’ve all seen better years or at least calmer and less stressful ones, and to be honest, more joyful years, too. I’m also sure that our biggest wish this year was to return things back to normal. Funny, right? For all those wishes we usually have and the little things that bother us and wish to change, once faced with a real situation with lockdowns and social contact restrictions, normality seems like heaven. Oh, the beautiful times when I shipped the kids to school and got those 7-8 hours for calm work! Oh to all those lunches and dinners that we spent at my parents’ (without having to cook or clean afterwards!)! Oh to all crazy get-togethers with my friends! Oh to all hikes, climbs and time I spent in the real mountains!! Life is not quite the same without all that, right?!
That’s why my greatest wish this year for all of us is to appreciate and enjoy life and enjoy the little things that we still have and can’t be taken away that easily. While I keep my fingers crossed that in the months ahead things will get back to normal, I also wish that we’ve all realized what’s really important in life, what’s worth fighting for, and what’s worth keeping regardless of the restrictions. To appreciate the little things that breathe meaning into our lives. Have a great Christmas, happy holidays and an awesome New Year, and make sure you spend the special moments the way you want to!
Here are a few highlights of my 2020…
A dreamy hike from Pokljuka to Lake Bohinj
I have never seen skies so clear. Blue in their most pristine form. Free of air traffic and relieved of excess pollution. I have never seen or heard nature so pure. Bees and birds buzzing and singing about, the winds moving trees, and all the rest completely silent. I have never seen wild animals so comfortable so close to us. Bears leaving their traces just a couple of hundred meters into the forest, countless deer grazing in the fields, chamois, and even a fox in the field below our house. Completely fear free, it comes to catch mice together with our kitties. It seems nature has found a new balance; so unique it will be hard to give it up once our lives are back to normal…
Below the treeless spine of the Triglav National Park in northwestern Slovenia’s Julian Alps, on the southern rim of a lush spring-fed pasture of Pokljuka – it is here our perfectly isolated mountain home is situated and where my 22-km adventure started in late March. The place is a blend of tall Alpine forests and extensive meadows, in summer sprinkled with cows and sheep, and now with spring flowers popping out of the ground. Just a couple of kilometers northwest the vast plains are replaced by jagged peaks, seemingly tumbling away as if to the very edge of the world.
Venturing outside at the time of Coronavirus – how to keep yourself and your family entertained
*Note: Due to the coronavirus it’s extremely important to consider the government’s guidelines about social distancing and limitation of moving outside! All my adventures are always 100% compliant with the current guidelines. Nevertheless, the guidelines might change through time and so the adventures described here might not be in accordance with the updated guidelines. My advice? Take my adventures as a good read and save them as hiking ideas for the future 🙂
You always hear me talking about our little bubble of paradise here in Slovenia. A place that seems immune to the problems of the rest of the world, a place that attracts friendly people who love the outdoors and the mountains. However, we are facing the exact same problems as the rest of the world. As a mum of two, I’m stuck with homeschooling, tons of cooking and cleaning, and, like all of you parents out there, lack of time for myself. High mountains, via ferratas, and rock climbing are off limits anyway, but, luckily, since a complete lockdown hasn’t started yet, we’re still able to enjoy relaxing time in nature. For now, at least. Therefore, we better make it sweet and worthwhile, right?
Dare I suggest it’s a great time for exploring local intriguing spots in the spirit of simplifying our lives a bit? It has worked for me and my family. We have been tracing beautiful spring flowers in nearby forests, spotting wildlife, searching for beautiful sunset spots, and even finding a massive hidden cave!
Climbing Mt. Stol, the iconic postcard mountain behind Bled
As tourists snap selfies in front of the deep green Alpine lake Bled and take a boat to the little island with a 12th century church, the dramatic backdrop of the snow-capped peaks of the Karavanke Mountains lure the other kind – the adventurers at heart. The highest in the 120-km-long mountain range, which stretches all the way from the border with Italy and Austria, to Croatia, is the outstanding Mount Stol.
Hiking it will serve you idyllic vistas quite different from the sheer walls and rugged landscapes typical of the Triglav National Park. Here you’ll be given incredible views across the valley floor, the Sava River, and Lake Bled, while the top will literally blow your mind away as the landscape suddenly transforms into an Alpine fairy tale with seemingly never-ending white peaks all around.
Hiking in a winter fairy tale above Kranjska Gora: Mt. Cipernik
Serene and tranquil, rising high above Kranjska Gora, this mountain hides under a thick layer of virgin fluffy snow, its top unveiling unspoiled Alpine vistas, never-ending rolling hills, and “the mother of all ski jumping hills” Planica. Yet this lonely 1,745-meter peak is not only a forest hike with only stunning views at the top. Cipernik is adorned with a mysterious “Black cave”, numerous viewpoints, a meadow with a mountain hut, a rock arch formation with a naturally occurring window, and a perfect 6-7-hour round route. Want to hear the crazy part? You can *literally* hike it from the cute little alpine town of Kranjska Gora.
Wishing you all the best in 2020
“This is my life. The path that leads nowhere else but to another path and then again yet to another path. Endless paths. Freedom in its most perfect sense of meaning. I’m destined for freedom, so free that when among people who either love me or hate me, I remain alone. Alone with my wishes, dreams, yearnings, and alone on my endless paths.”
Same as Nejc Zaplotnik, I thrive on freedom too.
A glimpse of WWI on a stunning traverse from Bohinj to the Soča
On stunningly beautiful trails above Bohinj, where wild flowers grow in abundance and marmots peek from behind large rocks peppered on Alpine meadows, one may be also taken back to the bloody years of WWI. Numerous deteriorating buildings of the war, remains of walls, an old border line with bunkers, and bombs are dotted all along the rugged mountainous stretch between Bohinj and the Soča Valley.
There we were, on a warm and bright day in late September, wearing our hiking clothes and a backpack with the basics for two days in the mountains, starting out our three-day adventure in the Julian Alps. In the first two days we would hike over 24 kilometers and make 2,050 meters of ascent to reach Mt. Krn, 2,244 m, then descend 1,253 meters down to the Soča Valley and spend the third day hiking and relaxing along the Soča River before driving back to Bled, where we had met earlier that day.
Hiking safety in high mountains
I love mountains. I love the people, the energy, and the genuine love for anything that’s outdoors. Yet more and more, I’ve been noticing a trend lately towards regular people like you and me taking greater risks, perhaps too big to handle safely. Although everyone passionate about mountains should feel equally deserving of climbing them regardless of experience, age, or gender, there are ways to minimize the risks.