End of Stage 1: Slovenia

The last few days have gone from exciting with nice views to horribly long road walks that are completely unnecessary.  But the trail took it easier on us these two days. Some small uphills and downhills, but nothing like we have been experiencing. We saw an old bunker and walked through it for awhile laughing at how freaked out we all were just walking underground in the dark. You know nothings going to happen, but that fear is always there. The bunker was built between the two world wars as an Italian border control. It used to span 15km, but now only 1.5km isn’t cemented so you can walk through that bit. It was really cool. There was also another really awesome cave today. There was water flowing heavily through it with lots of moss and greenery surrounding just outside the cave with a nice bridge. We saw another castle, Haasberg Castle. Which apparently means Bunny Mountain Castle I think it was. Not near as cool as the Predjama Castle. The hiking lately changes consistently. The other day was a lot of forests, nice gravel roads and trail sighting more wildflowers, animals, and passing through many towns. In Cerknica where we stopped to resupply and grab lunch, I totally embarrassed myself. I went to the wrong bathroom, I went to the kitchens bathroom. And the guy says “I think you have lost your way, that’s the wrong bathroom.” It was funny, but what then made it worse is I went to plug in our phones to charge and it cut out the electricity. I felt horrible but luckily the guy was super kind and just laughed and helped me out. We hiked to the top of Slivnica where we camped at a local hut that is currently closed…but in the middle of the night we were awakened by a not so happy Slovenian woman who was wanting to know what we were doing there. She was irritated and we kept apologizing and offered to leave but luckily she let us stay. Camping is rough because not only are there no campsites, it’s apparently illegal to camp in general. So we need to try and be more stealthy to not get ourselves into trouble. The next day was just endless road walking. It was the worst. My body hurt more on this day than 35+ mile days on the PCT. My feet are super sore and my joints achy. And it’s just boring. And there were road walks both days that were completely unnecessary. It took us to no special sights or anything just way around right where we were going to end up. So instead of heading just a few miles straight into a town we’d loop around sometimes adding 6+ miles to the walk. We made sure to find a town with a restaurant to watch the Sweden v Switzerland World Cup game since Stats is Swiss and Simon Swedish we had a real battle on our hands! We followed a boot trail and Jesus trail markers to a beautiful lake where we got to swim and do some laundry before somehow getting lucky enough to actually find a restaurant with food, tv, and WiFi. It was a total win! So far I don’t understand this trail and it’s purpose all the time. But I’m definitely enjoying it. Thanks to the people and all of the flowers, and most importantly adorable amazing animals we get to see so much of. We even had a dog come along with us for a short bit. I tried to keep him, but it didn’t work out. Stats left us the following day after we took a tour of Sneznik Castle. It was said to say goodbye. The climate here is very tropical like,m. Extremely humid causing us to just always be sweaty, even at night which is uncomfortable. I’m cold yet hot and sweaty and it’s just making us smell horrible. And it’s been storming on us a majority of the nights. So no star gazing. The other night the storm was super crazy the thunder super loud and the lightning was so consistent I have never seen the sky light up that much. It was cool to lay in my tent and watch the show! The last day of stage 1 we stopped and ate some eggs at a Sviscaki mountain lodge before heading up to summit Mt. Sneznik which is the tallest Slovenia mountain outside of the Alps. We met a cool couple there who was saw later on the mountain, the woman used to live in San Fran and we talked about how beautiful of a place NorCal is. It wasn’t a hard summit. The sign at the bottom said 2 hours and I always like to race those, so I did it in an hour and 20 min. The view from the top was outstanding. Slovenia on one side and Croatia on the other. It was the perfect place to sit and have lunch with friends before the steep downhill. More beauty followed the peak as we raced, or shall I say slugged, down the steep peak on rocks that soon turned into an alternating pattern of beautiful forests and green pastures. And pine bushes that liked to throw me and my pack around like I’m inside a pinball machine. Every break we have to stop and do tick checks, and they seem to definitely love on Simon. I’ve had no issues but we’re going through so much talk brush you never know. The last bit of the stage was nothing great. More boring road walking mainly on logging roads, which I hate saying because I’m in Europe doing something so special but the monotony of the road walks just get to me. Time ticks by so slowly. The only interesting part was getting to maneuver around a lot of downed trees. Always interesting with a pack on. Climbing up and over, going under somehow, walking around, walking along tree to tree to get across. It slows you down, but makes the trail a fun obstacle course. The following morning we hiked the few KM to Babno Polje where we said goodbye to Slovenia and soon Simon as we walked across the border to our next country, Croatia. 



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