Hut Kocbekov dom na Korošici (1808m - stage 3, day 1, p73) was completely destroyed in a fire on Friday night (Oct 20, 2017). It will be rebuilt, but at the moment it seems unlikely that will happen in time for the 2018 season. People looking for more information about the progress of the rebuild should check the website https://www.pzs.si/koce.php?pid=90 and use Google translate, bearing in mind that the hut wouldn't be open until June 2018 in any case.
We are very grateful to Keith Gaines for the following updates and observations.
With thanks to Carol Piercy and Colin Burge who stayed with Roy and Justi at their B&B whilst trekking through the Julian alps and on to the coast and provided the following information:
page 163 – wouldn’t count on either of these water sources late in year – saw sign for first one and never did see the second. Saw white headed vultures near Krn, not eagles.
Page 165 – the path is now routed around Planina Dobrenjscica. We could see the hut a long way off and were looking forward to it, but a bit before the hut, the path is VERY clearly marked up to the left beside a dry stream bed. The path is very rough and climbs up just to the right of the stream bed (facing uphill). It then does a 90 degree turn to the right – there is a cable handrail – so do NOT be tempted to go up the stream bed because it looks easier – it doesn’t go in the right direction!!! We did go on to the cabin and the lovely looking picnic table but it is now a hunter’s cabin, was occupied and there was a rather high power looking rifle hanging at the doorway so we did not stick around. Don’t count on that water source either! After the right hand turn, the path traverses the slope to meet up with the old trail and climbs up the slope.
Page 166 – rocks were dry, definitely not dripping with water. About 5 minutes below the shepherd buildings on Planina na Kalu there was a pipe dripping water, even in September. Also lots of very yummy raspberries !!!!! And a plethora of wild flowers, even this late in the season. Planina Razor has cold running water and flush toilets and spaghetti bolognaise with a lettuce SALAD. Not sure which was more exciting!
The wild flowers for the entire section from Trzic to here were amazing. We were not expecting so many in September – they must be incredible in the early summer!
If descending at Vogel, stay on the main trail to Sija – either the crest trail or the one which runs along the northern side (personally, I’d take the one NOT on the ridge, but then I didn’t like the look of the steps on the climb up to the ridge!). Don’t take the trail that signs you to Orlava Glava (the top of the chairlift) as it goes down too far and then you have an extremely tedious climb up a steep ski run (yuck!). On our return back up to the trail, we took the gondola and chairlift, and then the trail which goes straight up to Sija, which was much nicer, turning left to Crna Prst just before the peak.
We had a very windy, cloud swirling day along the ridge to Crna Prst but luckily did not get blown off, and had good intermittent views although Triglav remained shrouded in mystery. From here to Porezen, via the koca at Petrovo brdo for a very good lunch, departing to cries of “goodbye Canada”.
Page 172 – “Within 10m a sign on a tree says “Porezen” – actually it is now just a bullseye however, it is obviously the main path which goes to the left at the fork in the grassy path, so not hard to find now.
Tourist office in Ribcev Lav has two computers you can use.
The koca at Porezen is really nice. Lots of rooms and a long balcony on the second floor and picnic tables out front to take in the view. It was sunny and was our first view of Triglav from the south – could also see almost to Stol. They have a really good horizon signboard in front of the koca naming all the peaks.
Page 175- bottom – route leading to Porezen. Turn left and climb steeply up through the woods on a narrow path, through a gate then along the righthand side of an electric fence, another gate, then the path goes between two fences for a ways. You suddenly arrive at some old military buidings, which are behind the fence and are obviously now sheep folds, then it’s about 10 minutes to the koca.
Leaving Porezen, we went to Ermanocu in one day. The long downhill gully to Dolenji is dreadful, as you note in the book! Likewise the climb up from Dolenji up the “steep, sunken, leaf covered path” – nice way of describing a vertical ditch you two – you get full marks for that one! It was nice up on top though, going through the forest. Bolnica Franja is open, and is most definitely worth the visit – it was fascinating. There is a cantina on the main road where the side road goes up to the hospital entry. We had lunch there – nothing fancy, but certainly adequate.
Next day got us to Idrija. A lot of small logging activity during the forested sections, which has made a bit of a mess of the trail in some spots, but it’s still easy to follow. We got onto the wrong trail after Ledine. There is a “zimmer, chambres, room, soba” just past Ledine, with a restaurant by the way. Just by it is a marked trail – bullseye, no number 1 but often there isn’t – signposted Idrija, so we took that. We should have paid more attention to your directions because it started out fine, then disintegrated into a fairly horrible, steep, uphill climb, then along a wooded ridge, then DOWN to Idrija. It’s all very well signposted, but definitely was not your route, which sounds much better! There’s been some changes around the south end of Ledine so it was hard to know where we were vis a vis your route. Also we had no map for this section. There are no maps available for the onward route after Petrovo Brdo in Ribcek, any of the kocas …. We had a bicycle route map for a while (free at one of the kocas) but it had run out by Ledine.
Anyway, spent three nights in Idrija – fascinating place. Stayed at an apartment just past the tourist office, a signposted green house on the right – Apartma Pod Gradom – 2 bdrm, 30 euros for the two of us per night, www.pod-gradom.sloveniaholidays.com 003-865-3771-732. Excellent.
The library in Idrija are happy to let you access the internet on their computers. The tourist office had a map which got us to Col – KartoGrafija 1:50,000 Idrijsko in Cerkljansko. It covers from just north of Porezen actually.
Uneventful walk up to Vojsko, very nice though. More small logging operations along the way. The gostilna you mention is no longer in existence but there is another called Grosel, which the tourist office in Idrija booked for us. Grosel is to the right past the church so it must be in the same area (or the same place under a different name!).
From here went over Mali Golak, each with our own personal 500 favorite hiking companions (flies) who luckily disappeared after 10 minutes’ rain! It wasn’t the weekend, so Koca pod Golaki was closed, as was Antona Bavcerja na Cavnu. We’d booked an apartment in Predmeja (thanks to Idrija tourist office) so detoured off the #1 and took the path from Koca pod Golaki to Predmeja. This is an immediate left turn as soon as you come out onto the dirt roads from the Koca (no sign), then follow the signs which lead you off the road and down to Predmeja. Apartment Zonta is at the top of Predmeja and is also an “Autocamp” so it’s a camping possibility as well.
There was a koca at the top of Predmeja – Planinska koca Edmunda Cibeja – no idea if they had rooms or not – it was closed but had a water tap and picnic tables. 386-41-617-866 386-536-49-300.
Sinji Vrh was fully booked with a german group (we think this was the hanggliding group we saw later) and Col is rather uninspiring (although it luckily still has an ATM and grocery store) so we camped that night at the Javornik Koca, which was closed, but luckily set on gravel because it started to rain torrentially about an hour before we got there and the gravel meant the ground was drained – our “tent” had no floor.
Note on page 202 – the descent to Col has changed
From the summit of Kovk, take a left track across the grassy field which descends to an opening in the woods. Shortly after this it is signed with our friendly markes, and makes a long, gentle, straight, easy descent to a gravel road. Go down, then onto another track at the bend (signed). Continue through a clearing, under power lines and meet a tarmac road which leads right to Col.
The escarpment was fabulous!!!!
Next morning at Javornik it quit raining long enough to cook our “Shanghai noodles” for breakfast, then rained off and on all morning and poured in the afternoon as we trudged through soaked cow pastures and up endless dark forests with more logging. Saw a red fox!!!! Stayed at Abram Tourist Farm where they found us an electric heater so we could try to dry our belongings. There was a wedding there the next day so people were arriving all evening, which was fun. We’d booked this one from Idrija as well – the tourist office in Idrija was so helpful! The poor bear is still there.
Page 209 – Bar in Podkraj was closed for renovations, no shop, no water. We missed a turn somewhere on the descent to Podkraj and ended up about 3 km PAST Podkraj and turned right to return to it – there were no markings so luckily we found a house that was inhabited and the lady there helped us with our directions.
Rain and mist all morning up to Koca at Nanos – we came out of the woods into the clearing with all the picnic tables and couldn’t even see the koca in the mist! Had tea, descended to Razdrto where the Mercator no longer exists. There is, however, a camping at the wellness center and a small bar which has reheated pizzas and pre-packaged chocolate croissants, which we were very happy to gobble down! We would have stayed but it was still really wet, although not still raining so we continued on to Senezoce – a lovely, easy walk (it quit raining as well!!!!) – and Gostisce Stari Grad. Couldn’t find the small store (it was late Saturday) but the gas station just before the goslilna has a small convenience store so we could stock up on the Fruitabelas! Stari Grad even had some old newspapers we could stuff in our boots to get them dry!
Weather cleared up a bit the next day and we hiked to Skocje Caves. The trail is not well marked as you approach the airport so just head towards the buildings, as it goes between the runway and the airport building. There seem to be two places to stay this late in the season – the gostilna up at the top, and a lemon coloured building at the far end of town which has apartments and rooms. There is also nowhere to eat on Mondays, except at the restaurant at the caves, where the kitchen closes at 4 or 4.30, depending on how they feel – but the beer still flows and there are submarine-type sandwiches. The shuttle bus does run to Divaca however, so we went into the Mercator there. In retrospect, we should have stayed in an apartment and bought food to cook, but we didn’t know that at the time. There is another restaurant and another place to stay in the village, but they were both closed by the middle of September.
Three nights at the caves. The rain quit, the sun came out, and the caves and surrounding area are pretty spectacular! Thanks to the recent rain, there was water in the river – apparently a week earlier there was very little! Can get online at the library in Divaca.
Next day had a wonderful lunch at the gostilna in Markovscina – yea!!!! Then on to Slavnik (closed) where we experienced the bora but managed to find a sheltered spot to pitch the tent.
Then to Osp. The routing has changed at the bottom of page 228. There is now a new path that leads you to a road and a new underpass of the railway. It is well marked and goes a very short way to the left before going under the RR, then you go along the road to the right and hence into Presnica. Petrinje gets full marks for the “best rest stop on the route”. It’s new, has a roof, benches, water fountain, welcome sign …. I’ll attach a photo!
The very faint path running alongside the road etc is now very well marked (bottom page 230). The path from here goes BETWEEN stone walls as you mention, not along a single stone wall which comes a bit earlier! The path from here is very evident at all times now.
…. Before taking a tarmac lane on the left. This is a road and is marked with yellow paint on the tarmac, plus a red/white stripe on the stop sign post.
The appallingly overgrown trail is now a good trail. The turn, however, is not marked except for yellow paint on the road, but there is an immediate waymark on a tree.
…. Follow the waymark, not the arrow – the arrow says to turn left in 30 metres, to the broad track and the left hand turn.
… come to a broad, gravel tack and turn left – just keep going on this, there are few waymarks. After about 15 min walking, pass beneath power lines and almost immediately veer left (as opposed to turn), staying on the same dirt road you are on and keeping straight on to a sign post, which leads you to a tarmac road. Turn right onto the tarmac road and follow it as it bends …… etc. This area has obviously been much changed since you were there. There is no crossing of rough fields or overgrown paths. We never would have found Sveta jama without your directions as there is no sign for it heading in this direction. However, should one miss it and continue along the tarmac road, you will come to a sign at the castle end of the track to the chapel.
Socerb castle was closed for a wedding, but by not being able to understand the waiter telling us that in Italian (ahem!), we did walk in and see the courtyard! The drinking fountain shortly after that is still there.
The campsite at Osp also has 2 cabins now and you can buy wine from a vintner on the main street, who will fill your water bottle with his finest. This also gives you a chance to see inside his operation, all gleaming stainless steel.
Next day to Ankaran. The stamp and book at Tinjan is on the stone wall to the left of the church steps.
Bottom of page 236, …. Right onto a side-road for about 50 m. Just before the T junction there is a shady stone picnic table and a water fountain.
Page 237 – the guard dogs. Path is routed to the left just before the property so it is detoured – no sign of the guard dogs.
Ankaran – the camp ground here is quite wonderful and we stayed three nights. There is now a sign for the Slovenska Planinska Pot in the park between Korta’s and the main road. We actually found it before we found Korta’s, which now has a sign high on the building which says “Bar Number One” or something like that – but it’s still called Korta’s and has the ground level sign.
Our 20-day trek on the Slovenian High Level Alpine Route, or Transverzala, was from Maribor to Mojstrana. We started walking on 8 September 2016 and finished on 27 September, using the Cicerone guidebook as our inspiration and touchstone.
Two of us did the whole trip, Stages 1 through 5. We are 60 and 65 and have a lot of experience trekking and in the mountains generally. We were joined by one other for Stages 1 and 2 and then three others for Stages 3 and 4.
What follows is a series of general points and then a day-by-day breakdown covering some of the highlights and difficulties encountered.
The Route: Great folk, great views. We had a very good time, it was a real challenge and we will be back.
The route is a materially different experience to walking in other parts of the Alps. Key differences include booking huts (many have no email or English, yet they often have great Wi-Fi); food (limited choice really and – crucially – a lack of carbs); no camping culture (we took tents as a standby on Stages 1 and 2, but they were sent home; there is also no water to camp); not many facilities/little choice in the valleys; tourist information is often closed; and odd things generally.
Trekking in September: The weather was very good/excellent, save on Stage 3. So in this respect early through later September is a good time to do this walk. Indeed, save for weekends in more accessible places which were busy, the whole route was very quiet (great!) and in some places the path – although generally well-marked – seemed as though it is not walked much. Walking late in the season did cause some difficulties with accommodation however (see below).
Difficulty: The walking is quite tough compared to other routes we have walked (for example, we regarded it as harder than say the GR20 and GR54 which are reputed to be the hardest GR routes). There are a lot of short tough days. The guidebook’s split of the days was really helpful in this respect as our inclination is to push on for longer days. When we had to do this and do longer days, they were hard and it would have been a mistake.
Route grading: The grading in the guidebook is excellent. When the guidebook says 'steep' or 'exposed', it is. We learnt to pay attention to it! It is a very good book all round.
Maps: Maps were bought in advance from Stanfords (with a long lead time of several months for 2 of the 4 as they had to be ordered). Not so easy to pick them up otherwise in our part of Slovenia, but they were available in one out-of-the-way shop in Maribor, Tourist Information in Trzic and the Alpine Museum in Mojstrana. The maps are generally pretty good, but on some route finding is not as accurate as UK OS maps.
Waymarking: On the whole the route is well-marked, although in the woods one has to be careful where small paths run off bigger forest trails. The guidebook was really helpful on route-finding, particularly coming out of small villages etc.
Weather Forecasts: As well as speaking to guardians, we used several different websites for forecasting, including the BBC and yr Norway. They were sufficiently accurate.
Accommodation and Food: Because the route was quiet, we had real difficulty as regards some of the huts (see below). We were often the only people staying in the huts. We seemed to be getting just too late in the season.
What made it more complex was that we had been in touch with the PZS a long time before we arrived to establish we had the correct email addresses for the huts in Stages 3 and 4 so we could contact them. Despite knowing our proposed dates, the PZS told us not to worry about booking as there would be space everywhere, even in summer! It is a good job we didn't rely on this in the long run. (At this point, we relied on the guidebook which told us accommodation was plentiful in Stages 1 and 2 – not really as it turned out! – see below.)
The huts were similar in style and range to other parts of the Alps – some had hot showers/bathrooms and linen. There was not much food available in them to buy for hill lunches so stock up at the start of each stage. On average we spent about 30-40 Euros per person on half board, including beer, wine etc.
Passes: The helpful guardian at Koca na Loki (Stage2, Day 3) told us to buy PZS passes – but Plan B (€25) as opposed to Plan A(€55) – at the Petrol station in Solcava. When we got there at 2.50pm, it turned out the station closed for the day at 3pm. The guy was helpful: he had the silver stickers but not the licence/form to go with it. So he sold us the stickers and gave us a manuscript note to show the guardians. This worked. The stickers proved a great aid as in all of the subsequent huts we received significant discounts on accommodation – they had paid for themselves after three huts. However, given that we had contacted the PZS before we went, couldn't some of this inaccessible information be more readily at hand!
Bookings and the Language Barrier: We think we would recommend booking huts in advance, particularly if going in September. One can try sending emails – we did, but only a couple responded. Telephone calls did work to some others, but not all by any means, and calls are not easy. Even had we used Google Translate, we are not sure it would have solved the issue. We needed indulgence from several guardians, which was far better coming from a request in the local language and with appropriate knowledge. Should the numbers of English-speaking visitors increase, there is a need for someone local who, if paid, could help with arrangements. Almost all young people speak good English (and want to practice), but older folk don't. We should have taken a lightweight phrasebook as the glossary in the guidebook is more limited than we had anticipated.
Local hospitality: We were enthused by many of the people we met who seemed genuinely pleased that British folk were in Slovenia and in the hills, where there is a great local culture of hill-walking. Sharing local schnapps is a great icebreaker, but take care!
Indeed, without the help of some locals in particular we would not have been able to get as far as we did, given the vital help we got with bookings etc. We would single out Irena in Dom na Smrekovcu (Stage 2, Day 2) and Tanya in Stara Posta Hostel in Zgornje Jezersko, who was brilliant and, frankly, without whom stages 4 and 5 would have been at grave risk of being abandoned.
Day-to-Day: Specific Points
Stage 1, Day 1: The guidebook says there is 'no shortage of places to stay'. This gave us the wrong impression! Arriving at Mariborska Koca after the big climb with heavy packs, we were told by the guardian that she would open for six but not for the three of us. We were the only folk there. At our request, a friend of the guardian's there, who spoke some English, called Ruska Koca to establish whether they were open. It was. We went on to Ruska Koca. We were the only people staying and were well looked after by the lovely guardian, Azra.
Stage 1, Day 2: A similar story: Koca na Klopnem, the hut recommended by the guidebook, was serving food but not offering overnight accommodation. We went on to Koca na Pesku. Delicious wild mushroom soup, salad and double strudel! A good move!
A bit of explanation about some of the various monuments to partisans would be interesting, and also the US/Slovenian monument on Stage 5, Day 3 or 4.
Stage 1, Day 3: This was becoming a pattern. Grmovskov Dom not taking guests (there was a wedding) so, after much worry, a kind elderly gentleman sent us 500m down the road to a ski hotel. Good place.
Stage 1, Day 4: We called at the Koca pod Kremzarjevim for drinks/snacks. A delightful guardian. A stay here would have been most welcome, but we pressed on to spend a night in a hotel bed in Slovenj Gradec. From there on, we made an effort to ensure we were booked in advance, given our experience to date.
Slovenj Gradec had few facilities for a place of its size – really just one pizza place to eat. Great ice cream! We soon discovered that in the helpful bakers everywhere, they will sell half (or less) of a large loaf.
Stage 2, Day 1: A tough walk up to Dom na Urslji. This was one of only two places on our entire journey where we felt we had been taken advantage of or not made welcome.
Stage 2, Day 2: Page 57, second para: take care on the route here. We missed the left turn and wandered down the forest track until we lost the Route 1 marks.
Dom na Smrekovcu was just great. Irena was really helpful organising things, and the choice of food at dinner and at breakfast was very good. Comfortable, hot showers at a fair price.
Stage 2, Day 3: The guardian at Koca na Loki was the one who, despite language issues, explained the PZS system to us (see above). A very helpful lady. Again, we were the only people in the hut.
Stage 2, Day 4: A wonderful day! And good accommodation and food at Bevesk Osep on the main road at the start of the Robanov Kot valley. Highly recommended.
Stage 3, Day1: The first grade 3, and as such, well-described by the guidebook. We would reiterate that having a harness and appropriate via ferrata kit is essential. This is a step up from the GR20, for example.
It is difficult to comment on the Kocbekov dom na Korosici, or rather its guardian: we found a lack of food and general unwelcoming nature and atmosphere without being rude. It was poor and pretty much unacceptable. Indeed, we left the following morning in poor weather so we didn't have to stay longer.
Stage 3, Day2: In contrast, the welcome at the Kamniska koca Sedlu could not have been better. (Our point is not about the relative age/facilities of these huts but rather the welcome and whether they really wanted us there at all). Note here that the waymarking is far better than stated in the guidebook and it has probably been re-marked.
Stage 3, Day 3: At Kranjska koca na Ledinah the guardian was terrific. Again, however, he stayed open only because we had booked. He was closing up behind us as we left and heading down to the valley. The weather here was against us, as was the guardian's opinion of it, so we missed out the hard stages and went down to Zgorne Jezersko. (A return to be planned!)
Again, luck was with us in Zgornje Jezersko. We stayed two nights in the Hostel Stara Posta about 1km out of town. Tanya, who owns and runs it, was quite superb (see above). Highly recommended. Otherwise, pretty much nowhere else was open. We ate at the good restaurant about 500m away on the lake. There is a small supermarket in the post office in town, but no bar or café. Tourist information is open for a few hours only on Saturday and Sunday.
Stage 4, Day1: Goran, the helpful guardian at the Planinski dom na Kaliscuhad, only opened because we were five. Had there been only two of us he would not have done. We might have pressed on if need be to the next hut, but it would have been a long day, and the weather was clearing so the following morning would have missed the views off Storzic.
Actually, there was a general weather pattern which also applies to the shorter days. Clear in the mornings and – even in good weather – clouding over in the afternoons. Not surprising really, given the amount of moisture rising from the forests.
Stage 4, Day2: One of those short, hard walking days, but tremendous and it would have been a pity to combine it with Day 1 or Day 3. Here the Dom pod Storzicem was open even though the guidebook says it closes at the beginning of September, save for weekends. This had been a worry for us in our planning for days.
Stage 4, Day3: A wonderful day! Cloud inversion, sunshine, terrific walking.
Since the guidebook was published a hotel has opened in Trzic, called Hotel Sluga. So there is more accommodation than the guidebook says. We took advantage. However, there are very few places to eat – one only we think, but lovely folk and good food near the castle. The people in the tourist office were very helpful, finding us accommodation in Dvoje.
Stage 5, Day1: We got lucky again here. Now there were two of us. It just happened to be a weekend, so the Koca na Dobrci was open. The guidebook was very helpful here in helping us get out of town. Very accurate. However, we did laugh at the bottom of page 104 looking for the sign. No sign. As we thought about the direction, we rooted around in bushes and there was the rusty sign lying hidden in a tangle of weeds! We left it propped up!
Stage 5, Day 2: The hut at the top of Stol was closed, so we had to do three guidebook stages in two. This is where we particularly came to understand why the guidebook stages are set out as they are. Our route was hard. Again, we were lucky with the Dom na Zelenici: we arrived on a Sunday night. In contrast to pretty much everywhere else we had been, the hut had been full on the Saturday night! Very kind people and we would have been put on airbeds if necessary, but this just goes to show how unpredictable the accommodation situation can be.
Stage 5, Day 3: Over Stol and to the Koca na Golici. Apart from short stretches, the Stage 4 in the guidebook is about the first typical alpine balcony walking we had come across – which says a lot about the up-and-down nature of the route. Again, we were lucky: the guardian was closing the hut in 5 days' time.
Stage 5, Day4: A great walk to finish: ridges, a summit, mountain views and beautiful Dovje. Care is needed here as the sign at the top of Klek has been turned around and faces the wrong way – uphill. This, together with the many well-defined animal tracks, caused us to walk.