One day in February I got the most exhilarating call. It was Alenka from the Ljubljana Guides asking me if I could join her on an organized group hike in the Julian Alps in July. The plan was to start the hike from Savica above Lake Bohinj, go to the Krn Lake Hut on the first day, then off to the Triglav Lakes on the second and third day, and finally head back down to Lake Bohinj across the Blato Plateau on the fourth day. It sounded like a blast and so I was in!
Spring too often seems to take its time arriving in the Slovenian Alps. But when it does turn up, it creates otherworldly scenery spreading wildflower colors everywhere. While in May you can find glorious spring practically everywhere at different elevation, there are a few spots particularly famous for their blooming flowers. Yes, I’ve written about Velika Planina and Golica already, but here is yet another beautiful flower hike, which against all odds isn’t crowded at all.
On the southern rim of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, some thirty kilometers north of Slovenia’s boutique capital Ljubljana, lies a large Alpine plateau called Velika Planina. The place is known not only for its unique shepherds’ settlement, arguably the oldest in Europe that remains active to date, but also for organic milk goodies produced every summer. Locals and tourists alike visit it for its long hiking and biking trails, skiing and sledding in winter, good food and friendly people. Every spring, though, something extraordinary happens: as the snow finally melts sometime in April, little crowns of crocuses flood the whole plateau turning a good part of the landscape purple.
Golica is often called the “mountain of daffodils”, and for a good reason; in mid-May, the long slopes are carpeted with wild narcissi in full bloom, making the scenery look pretty otherworldly. If the first at the foothills of Golica start budding somewhere in late April or early May, the whole slopes of the Western Karawanks bloom a few weeks later. For many, a trip to the slopes covered with daffodils is a once-a-year experience, yet the stunning vistas attract not only the locals but tourists as well.
Known for endless fields of wild white daffodils, Mt. Golica is particularly popular in late April and early May. In fact, I fully subscribe to the April visits, and, guilty as charged, have never hiked it in another month before. This time, though, I was too early for the daffodils, but was compensated with equally incredible views of not only Slovenia and Triglav, but as far as Austria’s Grossglockner.
June is the month when the summer hiking season usually starts, since the mountains would have dropped the white blanket by then. This year, however, the never-ending rain and almost daily afternoon thunderstorms have been constantly messing with our hiking plans, and instead made big mountains even less manageable than during the colder months. I have managed, however, to switch my focus to cycling lately and it’s been just as fun.
One of the most memorable trips was a 40 km or 25 miles long tour to Kamniška Bistrica, a glaciated valley at the foothills of the Kamnik – Savinja Alps, which was actually a nice combination of cycling, hiking and – the most adventurous of all – exploring new grounds off the beaten trail. In fact, the tour was so nice, I have done it twice in the last three weeks, both times with my family, who eagerly joined in for the last part – climbing big rocks up a dry mountain torrent Krvavec.