Hiking in Triglav National Park

“You`re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so… get on your way!”

                  – Dr. Seuss

A 12k hike was waiting for us, starting at Stara Fužina, a small town near Lake Bohinj. If you want to get there, pay a lot attention to the signs that will direct you through the town and to the left (Vogar) where you’ll find a large gravel parking lot. In high season you have to pay parking (and entrance to the park).

Directly at the parking lot, we had a fantastic view of the Julian Alps. There are signs everywhere saying that it’s illegal to trespass on farmland… so we’re not encouraging you to hop over the fence and enjoy the view out over Lake Bohinj and the Julian Alps.. That would be irresponsible of us. Still… it would be a shame to miss that photo spot. Its totally worth it!!

To the north of the parking lot is the entrance to the trail. We followed it along, through a meadow and found ourselves at the beginning of the trail. We entered the path after a while through a wooden turnstile gate and soon came to a stony bridge, called Devils Bridge.  Apparently, the Devil himself built that bridge!

devils-bridge

The first part of the hike is beautiful because the water of the river Mostinca is wedged between narrow vertical walls. After a while we reached the second bridge where, in summer, you have to pay fee to enter. From here you can choose along which side of the river you want to walk. Once in a while there are small bridges so you can cross to the other side if you want. We strayed from the path a few times to get closer to the water in order to take pictures and couldn’t resist dipping our hands in!  The water was crystal clear and it tasted great!

The waterfall itself is not so spectacular. It’s more the hike up there that’s worthwhile. We hiked steadily upwards and found ourselves stopping every so often to catch our breath. We’re sometimes not the most patient hikers and try to maintain a pace that isn’t sustainable. On the hike you pass through forests, all the while following the gorge, until you reach the road (you can get to the alpine meadows by car, but who would want to??). There’s a small Gostilna called Planinska koca na Vojah where you can stop for local food and beer. We passed this by and continued upwards towards the falls.

#crazyus

A little further along you’ll come to signpost that says you can go either left or right and end up at the falls in the same amount of time. We took the left fork, staying closer to the mountains and walking through some lightly forested areas as well as some smaller meadows. There are a lot of small huts and houses which, when we walked through, didn’t show any signs of activity, but likely in the summer the farmers make their ways up to these huts to graze their cattle, etc.

We made it up the falls, which is located about 100m beyond another Gostilna, where we found a place to sit and have the lunch we’d brought with us. Like we said before, the falls aren’t all that impressive, but maybe that’s also due to the lack of snow and rainfall this winter.

After lying in the sun for ten minutes, we started to head back down, this time choosing the other path (to the left). and we were very quickly rewarded for our decision. The views coming down through the much larger meadows are fantastic! We were able to see the Julian Alps the entire time we crossed the meadows, and stopped to take a bunch of pictures (again, trespassing is illegal…….).

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On our way down we decided to stop that the first Gostilna and see if we could try some Alpine Milk. We’d read about the local drink a few times, but couldn’t find a very accurate description. We knew it was sour, a local speciality, and supposedly “reaps in the fresh Alpine air,” and “has a unique flavor.” Sadly, it’s only available in late summer and early autumn (August – October) so we couldn’t try it, but if any of you have had it let us know what it tastes like! We’ll just have to go back again sometime in late summer to try it.

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The entire hike took about three and a half hours including the many stops. The park is very clean and well taken care of, and when we stopped at the Gostilna we found out why.  Like a lot of national parks in the US, Triglav has a newspaper (in both Slovenian and in English!).  It turns out Triglav is doing a lot of things to try and be sustainable, and the entrance fees go a long way towards helping them with those efforts. The newspaper also had a note mentioning that we should return it and any maps we didn’t want to keep to a stand so they could reduce waste and pass the papers onto the next person. This was especially interesting for Kristin since she’s currently studying sustainability and ecology and her studies are focusing on the tourism industry.

Triglav is a part of the UNESCO MaB (Man and Biosphere) Network, and is hoping to also become an International Dark Sky Park as well, aiming to reduce light pollution as much as possible, which Phil, as a lighting designer, got really excited about. There’s so much more to explore in this park, and a park that’s doing as much good as this one is is definitely on our list for a return visit.

 

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