An absolutely amazingly wonderful and painful and exhausting day. Every good adventure has a moment when your lungs are begging for air, your muscles are burning in pain, and you count the steps until you can guzzle water and eat handfuls of salty snacks.
We arrived at Koca pri Triglavskih Jezerjh hut after 7 hrs of hiking. 5.5 hours if walking and 1.5 hrs of resting and eating. My fitbit thinks we did 25253 steps and 403 flights of stairs. The maps tells the real story…. 3800 vertical feet. Wow. For those of you don’t routinely hike with 30 lbs packs, that is a big big day. But we are getting ahead of ourselves.
We left our small hotel this morning. Our packs are heavy with food. We paused in front of small hotel along the way to steal some wireless and post our blog.
After pausing for a map check, we decided to follow the lake for 1.5 hrs. The deep blue water was still. Small ripples danced from the stern of the early morning racing kayaks as their athletic paddlers glided around the lake. The path was easy, and provided a chance for Paul and I to twiddle and fiddle with every strap and toggle to find the perfect adjustment for our packs.
A short snack stop at the end of other end of the lake and we were ready to begin hiking up toward the solid rock face. Paul is a strong hiker. We talked about my work and Birch Creek as Paul strides to strange polyrhythms in his mind.
Thirty minutes later we hit The Wall. The trail continued through the forest, but zigzagged steeply. Dark green firs poked toward the sky. We travelled alone in this dark wood, but didn’t see any slavic vampires or werewolves. I think we are safe here in the lonely woods. We didn’t see a wood cutter either.
Soon the trail became vertical, or at least it felt that way. Old iron pitons held cables bolted to the sides of exposed sections. We moved slowly. Our shirts were soaked. I was dizzy. Each step sapped our strength.
We stopped at a waterfall for a glorious lunch. At least when your are hiking, every lunch with food and water is glorious. Paul explained “I forgot how much I like getting burned”. Our buffet was classic… German cube bread (essentially moist unleavened grains pressed together), cheese, sausage, and dried fruit.
We stopped again at a small lake before pressing on toward the hut. The last 15 min, with the hut in sight was wonderful. Our legs were jelly, but our sprits were high. At the hut we whipped out our Slovenian Alpine club membership cards, complete with ID pictures, that we had purchased at the Matica Alpine club in Ljubljana. Our alpine membership card afforded us 50% off at sleeping price. The public room with many mattresses was 13 euro a night per person for members, but we grabbed the last 2 person room for 17 euro each.
I convinced Paul to wash up outside at a small water tap. The icy cold water both hurt and refreshed as we washed up with peppermint soap. I popped on a wonderful merino wool shirt and life after exhaustion was good. We fired up the stove and slurped up a beef stew. We were famished. We savored each sporkfull, but pulled out the snacks for more calories. In the distance, a group stopped at the lake and stripped down for real cleaning.
We relaxed in the hut and I wrote this blog post. A friendly group of 60 yr old Swiss women who speak French and German to each other shared our table as Paul and I splurged on a strudel and hot chocolate. Ahhhhh. Tomorrow’s forecast is rain rain rain. We met a Dutch family that tried to summit Triglav but were turned back by the fierce wind. Tomorrow may be difficult. We will attempt the hut only 3.5 hrs away, but it has no water, so no more washing out our salty tees. I don’t think it will get cell service, like this one seems to.
So, see you in a couple of days, wet and cold and exhausted.