After driving through the narrow Savinja valley in the late afternoon, I took the left turn for Logarska Dolina. The landscape opened, and I was overwhelmed by the view before my eyes. A chain of bare mountains rising high above me marked the end of the valley. The sun was still shining on them, while the valley ahead of me was already in the shade. I drove the last kilometres to a mountain hut where I fortunately found a place. I was very eager to go for a late walk, and was able to hike up to the foot of Rinka waterfall that tumbles down a vertical rock. A hearty local dish gave me a good layer for the night, and the next morning, I was out early to hike back to the waterfall. When I saw signposts to a trail higher up, I decided to go, even though I did not have breakfast. The going was easy, and I had enough water with me; I soon reached the Okrešelj hut, and saw other markers to different trails. I chose the shortest one, and after I passed a group of older people, worked my way up a steep rocky mountain face. It was only after a while that I realized there were no more markers, and as I would find out, in Logarska Dolina that means you have lost your trail. I continued up, either on loose stones, or working my way up with arms and legs on vertical cliffs, and was able to reach a saddle between Brana and Turska Gora. A strong wind was blowing between the bare mountains, and I now faced what I feared most: the descent on this treacherous part. To my welcome surprise, I found a sign again, and did not hesitate, and followed the trail.
Now, it was a matter not to leave the markers again. I sometimes had to stand still for a moment to spot the next one, but generally speaking, the marking was flawless and clear. Even though it was nowhere as tricky as the face I had climbed before, there frequently were assisting handles provided in the mountain, which made life so much easier. I saw what I knew would have to be Kamniško saddle. Before reaching it, I saw a trail to the right, signposted Brana. I could not resist, took the turn, and was on the summit of the 2253m mountain at the southern part of the Logarska Dolina before I knew it. Now, I took the time to enjoy the spectacular views. I could not only look into the valley below, the peaks around, but also saw Kamnik and other towns further down. Where the day had started without the smallest cloud in the sky, I could now see clouds forming over the naked mountain peaks around me. Once down at the Kamniško Sedlo, I took the path back to Okrešelj hut. I could see Rinka waterfall in the distance, and the switchbacks of the trail I had walked a few hours before. I saw where I had missed the indications that morning, and followed the path down to the hut. By now, I was starving, and had a well-filled goulash soup and a drink before descending into thr valley again. What was supposed to be a short pre-breakfast walk, had turned into an over 5 hour hike up to one of the highest peaks of Logarska Dolina.
After the long hike in the morning, and a short break at my mountain lodge, I was ready for more adventure. I asked at the information centre, who advised me to go up to Klemenča jama. When asked about climbing to the summit behind it, the guy told me that I was too late for that; it was past 2pm, and the one-way climb would take 4 hours, leaving me no time to descend. I decided to try it anyway, and reached Klemenča jama much faster than the indications. I pushed on, and was gaining altitude fast. When I reached an open spot in the forest, the sight of the majestic mountains high above me instilled awe in me. Was I really able to be on top of them within two hours? My planning was tight, yet I pushed on until I reached a saddle between two mountains. While the signposting had been perfect so far, I missed one here, and reached a point where I realized there could be no way up - unless equipped with proper climbing materials. Back at the saddle, I saw the red/white markers continue the other way, and it dawned on me that Ojstrica should be the other way. Indeed; I hiked further up, and reached a zone where I had to use the metal rails, hooks and handles to work my way up this steep, sometimes almost vertical, part of the mountain. The guy at the information booth had told me it would involve only hiking; according to me, when you have to use both arms, climbing is a more appropriate word. As soon as I crossed the ridge, I was in the sun again, where I had to cross a small snow field. There was another steep part where I had to carefully climb, until I reached the summit itself. Where I had been cursing before, and had worked hard to get to this spot, I now felt elated. There was no higher point directly around me; at 2350m, Ojstrica is the highest summit of this part of the Kamniško-Savinjske Alps. Yes, a bit further to the south, the peaks reach up to over 2500m. I sat down, had grapes and a drink, and savoured the sweet feeling of victory while looking over the valley below and beyond. It would have been great to stay for sunset, but I wanted to be down before dark, so I soon started my descent back into the valley. Once safe back, I felt a deep sense of satisfaction inside me, and headed back to the mountain lodge where I ate a copious meal before giving my legs a well-deserved rest. The next morning, I was back at the Rinka waterfall, and another one, before heading out of the valley, which I could now see properly from close to the entrance. I was heading west, but could have easily spent more time in this mountain wonderland.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Logarska Dolina (Slovenia). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Logarska Dolina.
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