Daily Miles: 11
Total Miles: 113
We had a decent night of sleep despite a toilet that would make a loud whistle noise every few hours. At 5am, we were awoken by some animal on the roof of our cabin trying to scratch its way in. Luckily it went on its way after about fifteen minutes, but since it was already light out it was hard to fall back to sleep.
We had a pretty relaxed morning and headed back to the trail around 9am. We walked up a road for a bit until we saw a lot of parked cars and then headed onto a trail. There were quite a few people on the trail today…very similar to yesterday. The trail was a steady climb through the forest and into the alpine zone.
There were a lot of wildflowers along the trail today (and yesterday). As the forest starts to thin out, we really got lots of color from the large variety of wildflowers.
It was quite humid to as we started out and we both sweat a lot more than normal on the way up. Beardoh’s shorts were sweated almost down to the hemline and he probably squeezed a quarter cup of sweat from his bandana several times on the climb.
We passed two girls we had seen several days ago. They were coming down as they finished up their four day trip. They were surprised to see us coming up from the valley, but we just explained that we created a new route to avoid the via ferrata.
The climb went quicker than we expected and we got to the Cojzova Koča hut just before noon. There were tons of people outside at the picnic tables and the dining room inside was completely jammed. We managed to find a few seats and ordered lunch. Beardoh had goulash with polenta and SweetPea had sauerkraut and bean soup. Beardoh has had goulash at every place he can (so far four places) and they all have been incredibly different…there doesn’t really seem to be one vision for goulash.
After we felt re-energized by our lunch, we decided to hike up to Grinvitec peak which was listed as being a two hour hike (each way) on an easy trail. The peak is actually on the SMT, so we decided to add it on to our day.
We decided to take only necessities with us and leave most of our stuff at the hut. Beardoh carried a pack with just water, snacks and rain gear…SweetPea didn’t have anything on her back. It felt so good to hike unencumbered by a pack. While we thought our packs would be pretty light for this trip, they often feel quite heavy once you factor in the via ferrata gear and more water (since water sources can be scarce).
When we started out, it was foggy heading to the peak, but we still wanted to do this extra hike. We got nice views back to the hut and further ahead where we could see other hikers. When we finally got to the top, there were small bits of passing blue sky, but we just enjoyed our snack and rested for a bit.
Shortly after starting our descent, the clouds really lifted and we had great views around us. We were glad for the views, because it was really stunning. Similar to the past few days in this mountain range, there were steep and dramatic rocky peaks with narrow green valleys below.
Since it was already mid-afternoon as we headed back to the hut, we only passed one person who was still heading up to the peak. The trail felt much quieter at that time, which was quite nice. SweetPea’s knees started to bother her on the descent, with the steep and rocky conditions.
We were pretty tired by the end of the day. We ended up gaining about 6,300 feet of elevation in our first 7.5 miles. Then we finished the day by losing about 2,600 feet to get back to the hut. Definitely not a typical day if they hiking that we experience in the US. The typical trail in Slovenia (at least in our experience) feels as hard as the hardest miles that we have done in Thru hikes in the US (notably Maine and New Hampshire, along the Appalachian Trail).
We got back to the hut before 4pm and were able to get into our room. The room has 7 bunk beds, but we are the only ones staying in here. It is actually nicer than the private room for two people, because we have more room to organize gear.
As we were in the dining room having dinner, Leah came in from her long and tough day. We compared stories from the past two days, had dinner together, had shots of blueberry schnapps, and chatted for quite awhile. It is fun to have that social aspect to the trail.