A Hike Along Slovenia’s Vršič Pass

We spent few nights at a family hostel on Lake Jasna in the very northern part of Slovenia, just outside the mountains of Triglav National Park.

The main activity for our time there was a drive and hike on the Vršič Pass.  IMG_5528 (2).JPG

The Vršič pass has a fascinating history.  This mountain road leads over the Julian Alps at 1,611 meters above sea level, and contains 50 hairpin turns.  The road was built by Russian POWs during the first World War, when the Soca valley, across the mountain pass, saw heavy fighting and the Austro-Hungarians needed easier access to it.  The road building was very difficult and led to many lost lives of the Russian POWs.  The road is sometimes called the Russian Road, and a Russian chapel was built on it to commemorate the dead.

We drove on the pass from Kranjska Gora on the eastern end.  We got going early in the morning to beat the crowds and heat, and headed up 26 hairpin turns to the start of the hike to Slemenova Špica. IMG_5561 (2)Once we got to the parking area, we were greeted by a parade of sheep!IMG_5221 (2).JPGThen, we hit the trail, immediately climbing up.  We were focused on climbing up and unfortunately at the beginning all the beautiful views were behind us.  IMG_5227 (2).JPGSoon, we reached an intersection where another trail veered off to the left and we started getting some amazing views of the mountains.IMG_5245 (2)The next hour or so was not so steep, but we had scenic views of the mountains ahead of us, and sometimes the valley below.IMG_5262 (2).JPG

IMG_5287 (2).JPGAfter a few more mild ups and downs, we had a short, but steep climb that led us to…IMG_5332 (2).JPG…a beautiful grassy valley at the base of Slemnova Spica.IMG_5345 (2)We had one final steep climb above the valley to the peak of the mountain. IMG_5340 (2).JPGWe stopped there for a few minutes to enjoy the view.IMG_5349 (2).JPGAfter reaching the highest point, we went headed back down toward the valley floor and stopped for a scenic snack break.IMG_5384 (3).JPGAt this point, C and the big boys had gotten ahead of me.  I headed the rest of the way down the hill and saw C talking to another hiker, and they were both looking at a dusty object laying on a rock.  As I got closer, I could see it was a car key, and quickly realized it was mine.  I hadn’t even realized it was missing, and we were so lucky to come across the guy who happen to find it and leave it on the rock in the hopes it found its owner.  I am not sure when I would have realized I lost my key (C also had one), but I’m glad it worked out!  Thank you fellow hiker!IMG_5410 (2).JPGThen, we continued back down the trail, enjoying new views facing the other direction.IMG_5420 (2).JPG

IMG_5457 (2)The hike ended with a steep downhill, and this time we had an amazing view of the mountains ahead of us (which were behind us on the way up).  IMG_5513 (2).JPG

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IMG_5530 (2)After we made it back to car, we headed down the mountain, stopping on the way to eat at a restaurant recommended to us by our hostel owner, and enjoyed hearty, local fare.IMG_5568 (2).JPGAfter the hike, we had another day near Lake Jasna and we spent time walking around the lake, playing on the banks (it was COLD, so we didn’t get in further than ankle deep) and enjoying the scenery (and crazy people who were swimming!)IMG_5210 (2).JPG

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The foot was all he was willing to put in the water! Brrr!

Once again, Slovenia totally impressed us!  We were approaching the end of our two weeks in Slovenia after our time in Kranjska Gora, but had time for one last stop. Stay tuned for my next post for that adventure.

 

 

 

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