Daily Miles: 6
Total Miles: 135
Today turned out to be much more difficult hiking than we expected.
After breakfast of coffee/tea and bread with toppings (salami, pickles, butter and homemade jam), we headed back to the trail. We knew we had a pretty short day today (the hut which is further down the trail was full tonight), so we walked about 15 minutes from the hut and then found a nice bench to sit on and plan out our next few days.
We will be hitting our next town, Trzič, tomorrow, but it seems that the lodging options are nil, so we planned to just pass through town tomorrow and not stay. That will give us a very long day tomorrow, but we managed to book our hut stays for the next four nights.
After finishing our logistical tasks, we headed down the trail. We decided to take an alternate trail today, since the SMT has some technical sections as the trail goes up and over Storzic. We decided to take a different trail which goes around the mountain instead.
The trail was listed as “easy”, but we keep needing to remind ourselves that the designation is not a direct translation. The trail we took today was anything but easy. It would appear that few people are actually hiking this trail, because it seemed to have been left in poor condition and definitely was not a ‘built’ trail. There were a lot of stretches (most of it actually), which felt very exposed and where we were moving very slowly. At one point, we even wondered if we would be able to make it to the hut in double the time estimated for the route. There was a significant amount of blown downs when we were hiking in the forested areas. Normally, these aren’t a big deal, but on a steep slope as we had spent much of the day walking, they provided are particularly tough challenge to navigate over (and through and under).
At one point, we were trying to maneuver around a spot where the trail had slid down the mountain, and left a steep slope of dirt and sand. Beardoh made it across by going high over it, but SweetPea tried to go lower down the dirt slope and ended up taking a good tumble down several yards into some rocks. Luckily she wasn’t hurt…just some ugly scratches on her legs. We washed out the scratches and just kept walking.
Eventually we made it out of the terrible trail and got to a trail junction that said our hut was only 40 minutes away. Since it was still early afternoon, we decided to hang up our hammocks and relax for awhile. We had decided to bring our hammocks for days like today, but this is the first time we have used them on this trail. We are in a dense, mixed forest and there is plenty of shade for very comfortable hanging.
We relaxed in our hammocks for awhile and then finally decided to walk the last 40 minutes to the hut. The walking was mostly on logging roads which were quite steep and rutted. The road eventually leveled out and was very smooth until we reached the hut.
It seems that the huts with car access have showers and the others don’t. We were glad to have showers tonight since we’ve been pretty sweaty the past two days.
We sat outside at the picnic tables for dinner and chatted with a couple from Germany who are hiking a route from Austria to Switzerland. It was a lot of fun hanging out with them, and dinner was the best of the whole trail so far…turkey cutlet with mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy. We also got a side salad and blueberry dumpling for dessert. We were really hungry by dinner time and had no trouble eating all that food. We weren’t even given a choice of dinner items, but we lucked out with a great meal.
We ended up talking with the German couple until 8pm and then headed up to our room to get ready for bed. We have a long day ahead of us tomorrow so we hope to get a good night of sleep.