SMT Chapter 5: The Karawanks and the Party Hut
Day 14: Back to the Trail
Although we hadn’t set an alarm, M and I were already awake before 6:00 a.m. I still didn’t feel well, and we searched for possible accommodations for another Zero-Day, including a night’s stay. Unfortunately, our search was unsuccessful, so we decided to take the bus back to the trail starting from noon and tackle the ascent from Trzič to the first mountain hut in the afternoon to spend the night there.
Before the bus departed from Kranj at 1:00 p.m., we bought some snacks at the supermarket. After arriving in Trzič half an hour later, we started our hike towards Koča na Dobrči, which was located on the side of Mount Dobrča, overlooking the Ljubljana Basin. The first part of the ascent was through the forest. We took a break at a bench in the middle of a beautiful flower meadow, buzzing with butterflies and bees. After a short rest, we continued our way up. I deliberately walked slowly to avoid putting too much stress on my body (not that I could have gone much faster in my current condition).
I didn’t feel well, so I was exhausted and relieved when we reached the hut in the early evening. First, we cooked dinner and celebrated with an alcohol free Radler. Then, we sat on the terrace for a while, overlooking the valley.
Distance: 8,78 km, 1008 m ascent, 55 m descent
Day 15: The Party Hut
After a not-so-restful night, interrupted by taking painkillers, I woke up relatively late and went down to the dining area where M was already having breakfast. He had only ordered breakfast for himself, but the host misunderstood and set the table for two. Of course I took the food 😉
After breakfast, we made plans for the rest of the day and left the hut around 9:30 a.m. We hiked through the forest, lost the trail, scrambled over rocks, logs, and waterfalls until we eventually found it again and could actually “hike.” We repeatedly climbed over fallen trees blocking the path. After about two and a half hours, we reached a small hut where we stopped for a quick drink. It was cold, and the high humidity had us completely soaked. Our next goal, the Begunjčica ridge, was almost entirely hidden by clouds, so we decided to take the lower alternative route and hike the ridge from the other side if the sky cleared later on. When we reached the Roblekov dom hut, it started to drizzle. We waited out the rain and then hiked the last one and a half hours to the Dom na Zelenici hut. The trail led us along the Begunjčica ridge and finally along the north flank over a few steep scree fields. Unfortunately, we saw little of the Karawanks on that day as they remained mostly hidden in the clouds.
As we arrived at the hut, we were warmly welcomed by a friendly hostess and a group of Slovenian and American hikers. After stowing our backpacks in the dormitory, I took a quick shower before joining the others in the dining area. M and I had a delicious barley and bean soup when one of the Slovenian men approached us, asking if we had any music requests. I mentioned that we’d think about it, and shortly after, we heard them singing along to “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” It was hard not to join in. The dining area turned into a lively dance floor, with people dancing on the tables, and even the hostess joined in. It was a lot of fun! After a while, we started chatting more with the other guys. They were from the area and spent their winters skiing and ski touring here. One of them showed me pictures of the local mountains in winter, making me a bit envious and excited for ski touring season. The other guy said he’s a ski instructor and I thought he was extremely hot – I don’t know if that matters for this blog and I don’t think he’s ever going to read it, haha.
At 9:00 p.m., M and I said goodbye to the others because we had to wake up at 5:00 a.m. the next morning.
Distance: 21,16 km; 1293 m ascent; 1234 m descent
Day 16: Silent Disco in the Karawanks
M and I were the first ones up in the morning – we assumed the others needed to sleep off their hangovers. Just as we were about to leave the hut, the Slovenians were also up and about. We said our goodbyes and hiked towards Stol. In the early morning, we still saw a bit of blue sky, but that disappeared an hour later when we reached the 1500m mark. From there, we hiked in dense fog all the way up to Stol and the hut just below it. Completely soaked and shivering, we tried to dry our clothes a bit in the hut, but even after an hour, everything was still wet. So we set off again in cold, wet clothing. At the summit of Stol and along the following ridge, there was literally no view. I was freezing and told M that I needed to listen to some music to walk a bit faster and warm up again. We both put our headphones in and paused the hike from time to time to dance a little. The music made the hours of walking in the fog much more bearable.
After some time, the fog cleared, and we caught glimpses of the Slovenian countryside and the Austrian side of the Karawanks. When we reached a small shepherd’s hut, we took a short lunch break. However, we didn’t stay for long because it was quite uncomfortable to be still in our wet clothes. We wanted to keep moving to stay warm.
We continued hiking for another two hours, descending slightly through the forest until we reached Koča na Golici, and finally, the sun came out just for a little while.
At the mountain hut, M ordered a soup, and I had couscous with chickpea and bell pepper paste when we spotted the two American women from yesterday’s hut. We quickly struck up a conversation with them and found out that we were heading in the same direction. Ironically, we haven’t talked about any of that yesterday because we were too busy dancing.
Day 17: Side Quest in Ljubljana
Yesterday, we had agreed to wake up at 5:00 a.m. and hike up Mount Golica behind our hut without our backpacks. However, after the alarm went off and a quick look outside, we decided to sleep for another hour. Like the days before, the mountain peaks were hidden in the clouds.
Outside, it was windy and chilly, and we only briefly caught a glimpse of Triglav and its surrounding peaks.
Our path followed the Slovenian side of the Karawanken, slightly below the border. We hiked on a muddy trail, trodden by cows, and I sank shin-deep into the mud. Annoyed, I pulled my foot out of the muck, feeling a bit grumpy. Since my shoes were constantly wet, the insoles lost their integrity and curled up under my feet, making it uncomfortable to walk on them. I took them out and put them in the outer pocket of my backpack.
On the Rosenkogel or Hruski vrh in Slovenian, there was nothing to see, so we didn’t waste much time and began our descent into the valley. We descended separately and I listened to some music to push my mood despite the bad weather. After about two hours of downhill running through the forest, we reached Mojstrana in pouring rain. M asked me how I managed to be so fast, because he ran down the mountain. “Me too,” I said.
The only pizzeria in the area didn’t serve pizza before 3:00 p.m., and we had already spent most of the day hiking, so we decided to take the bus to Ljubljana to do laundry, eat pizza, and buy new insoles for my shoes.
About an hour and a half later, we found ourselves in Slovenia’s capital city. It was bustling with tourists and we had a tight schedule. First, we started the washing machine at the laundromat, then we rented city bikes to move around more quickly. The next stop was a small pizzeria in the city center. After finishing the pizza, we went our separate ways: I went to an outdoor shop to buy insoles, and M took the laundry out of the machine and put it in the dryer. Once I was done at the laundromat, we packed everything up, went to the main bus station, and boarded the bus to Mojstrana, just one minute before departure. As we sat on the bus, M said, “You’re surprisingly clean for someone who stepped in a shit pool.”
Back in Mojstrana where we rejoined the SMT, it was raining cats and dogs, so we got a hitch with two friendly Croatian men to the hut at the end of the Vrata valley. Surprisingly, the two American women we met at Zelenici shared a dormitory with us, so it was nice to catch up a little.
Distance: 12,33 km; 435 m ascent; 1287 m descent
This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!
To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.