Bled, Slovenia: 15-19 September, 2019
Sunday 15 September
I arrived to Slovenia by bus, after some time in the Balkans, to meet Sam in Bled for a fun few days of trail and banter in the Julian Alps. Sam Mowat, recently profiled as the best Wild Thing in this fluff piece, was a great choice for a Wild Buddy! On the Sunday we enjoyed a leisurely stroll around the water and planned out three exciting missions for the coming days. I bought a massive bag of pasta at Spar.
Bled Brothers I: Stol and sick ridges!
Monday 16 September (Strava details!)
First up was navigating a local bus out to Zirovnica, from where we made our approach to the Austrian border. It was a steep business getting up to the Stol summit, as we left the serenity of Lake Bled further and further below.
After conquering Mali Stol and Stol, we pondered which section of ridge line to enjoy before our return. Initially heading East, we soon realised we were rushing down into a scree-esque basin where traction really mattered. Longing for more of the panoramic views we had just enjoyed, Sam and I re-routed to explore further West.
Treading the Slovenia-Austria border, the views kept coming. We passed a cross at Weinasch, wild horses grazing peacefully on a slope, and more lovely exposed rock landscapes before reluctantly beginning the descent back towards Bled on the plains far below.
Unfortunate timing with the bus left us to grab a chilled drink in Zirovnica and enjoy the long meander back to Bled on tired feet. I gorged on pasta with basil pesto.
Bled Brothers II: Lake Bled and the Gorge of Pokljuka!
Tuesday 17 September: (Strava details!)
After a relaxed start and a hearty breakfast courtesy of recent guests, a bit less vert was on the cards today. This would help to rest a little between the more mountainous terrain making up the bread of this Bled adventure sandwich. For a start we cruised around some of the best view points above the lake.
After gathering a few classic snaps we heading further from the tourist hordes and enjoyed a journey through the picturesque forest near the lake on our way out to the Gorge of Pokljuka. The gorge provided some interesting caves to explore.
The journey back to Lake Bled via Krnica resulted in another unfortunate bus timing, leaving us to hoof it back to the shores of the lake. Luckily pristine weather awaited us and we enjoyed a swim in the healing waters of Bled, soaking in both the cooling lake and the radiant sun.
The sun set on another immaculate day in Bled, and I was really starting to make a dent in that sack of penne.
Bled Brothers III: Triglavski Dom!
Wednesday 18 September: (Strava details!)
Today was the big one! The crown jewel of the Julian Alps, Triglav, was calling!
After another short bus trip, the action began at Lake Bohinj. The start of the run involved a couple of kms on the road before heading up the Mostnica Gorge and waterfall track. We arrived early enough that this short prelude to the real trails was free of charge.
The weather was not looking great, but held steady at ‘cold, a little wet, but not too crap to turn back’ for the rest of the day. There were plenty of interesting little sections of trail, and bits and pieces of via ferrata, as we wound ever upwards towards the sky. A slightly longer route was mistakenly selected in the heavy cloud, unfortunately prolonging our time inside the cloud, in the cold, wet air. It was at times unpleasant.
Finally breaking through some cloud, we reached Triglavski Dom, around 300 metres below the big boy. This was the best weather of the day. Pushing on we reached an intimidating slab of rock containing some serious via ferrata. A couple of parties ahead of us were clipping in for the ride! Without the gear recommended to continue, I was happy to turn back. It’s pretty gutting to get so close to the summit and pull the pin, and I have heard about people conquering Triglav with minimal kit, but it wasn’t to be on this day. I had already pushed my luck on other outings on this trip, which made the decision a little easier haha.
Seeking alternative plans, we first made the short trot to Kredarica to maximise our altitude for a lunch break. Next we began down a different trail to make a small loop out of the higher section of the run. This also ended in a u-turn at some via ferrata. I was not feeling that brave today!
Looking back near Kredarica.
Finally we were on our way down the mountain and passed near Triglavski Vogel on the descent. There were more interesting sections of trail to keep you alert. We kept moving and ticked off the way points, returning past familiar sights further down. The chilly, moist air persisted as we traveled, always within the cloud.
The easy ground of the Mostnica trail was a welcome sight as the time started to drag. We soon galloped gracefully back to the road and along to the bus stop, another cracker in Bled complete! Some good technical stuff and experience in there. I took the night off from pasta to celebrate.
Thursday 19 September
I enjoyed a cruisy morning with Sam and one last wander near the lake to the top of the luge. It was a bus to Ljubljana for me and back to Austria for Sam!