Daily Miles: 9
Total Miles: 158
We woke to a beautiful morning. We ate breakfast outside on the porch, with nice views down to the flatlands. We had eggs, sausage and bread with toppings. It was a pretty relaxing morning and we were finally ready to head out by 9:30am.
In addition to our paper maps, we have been using a gps track in Gaia which was made by someone who had previously hiked the trail. We can’t even remember the website where we got it. For the most part, the track has been pretty good, but this morning, it took us a ways off track.
Pretty soon after leaving the hut, we got off the SMT without realizing it. We were following the gps track, and the trail was signed with the red and white bullseye (it is pretty common for the “1” to be left off the markers). We ended up climbing up two peaks before we ran out of trail. When we sat down with the paper map and compared it to our gps track, we realized our problem. There was no way to fix our route without going back to where we started the day. It ended up costing us an hour and a half, but the hiking day wasn’t supposed to be too long, so it wasn’t a big deal.
Once we got on the correct trail, it was a rollercoaster of a trail. Mostly we were walking through nice green forest, either heading straight up a steep slope, or walking along the contour of a steep slope. The walking was often quite slow, as the trail felt very exposed. When walking along the contours, the trail was very narrow and felt like the edge was crumbling off, so we tried to walk delicately so that we didn’t slide down the slope.
It was another very hot day, so we were thrilled in the afternoon to come across a hut selling drinks. We sat down in the shade with a soda and a Radler and just enjoyed the moment of cooling off. It was hard to get ourselves moving again, but we knew we had less than two hours left.
Water has been a bit of a struggle on this trail. With a lack of water at huts recently, and often no water on the trail, we usually carry more water than normal. Near the end of our day today, we passed by a lovely spring which had cold water. We filled up our bottles, as well as our collapsible bottles (4L total) in order to have water for tonight and tomorrow’s hiking. Our packs felt so heavy, but we figured we would be very thankful for the good water tomorrow.
We got to our hut, Roblekov Dom, around 4:30pm. There was a Slovenian, David, hanging out in the dining room and we chatted with him for awhile. He is hiking the SMT as well, but is going faster than us, so we probably won’t see him again. He was waiting out the heat before heading on to the next hut. He was a lot of fun to talk with and it was a good way to end the day.
David shared some thoughts on the Slovenian attitudes about trails, their maintenance and construction. He mentioned that in general Slovenians feel that the trails should be left un-built and very difficult.
As a result, a lot of the trails here are in pretty bad shape, and getting highly eroded (and overly expanded) in places that are well used. This attitude is similar in New England (US) as well, and is too bad as it can make the hiking less enjoyable and the trail gets worse and worse over time.
Dinner was very tasty tonight…sausage, sauerkraut, something they translate as buckwheat spoon bread, and a cottage cheese filled roll. It was all good and different from the other huts. We even had apple strudel for dessert.
We are trying to figure out a way to take a few days off from the trail after we finish this section in three days. The trail can be very intense a lot of the time, and we are feeling mentally taxed. It may be tricky to find a place that has not already been booked, as this is high tourist season in Slovenia. We’ll see what we can find.