We spent a week in the Julian Alps and Triglav National Park in the Soca Valley. This is a place of incredible beauty and tragedy. The Soca flows out of a crack in the rock near the high mountain passes of the Alps, and flows turquoise through limestone, cutting channels 100 feet deep and only 20 feet wide.
The valley was the site of horrendous battles between the Italians and the Austro-Hungarians from 1915-17. Half a million men died, and 1.5 million were wounded. There wasn't a male between 15 and 75 in the whole valley after the war. Incredibly rugged terrain for a fight. You could see fortifications from valley to ridge top, and spectacular views of snow-capped mountains, with graveyards, memorials, and church steeples in the foreground.
Slovenia is an undiscovered gem in my book. We went to fish for Marble Trout in the Soca, but stayed for the wonderful hiking, the beautiful views, the good food, very good wine and welcoming people. Enjoy the pics.
This is Karst country, limestone with underground caverns cut by the underground rivers. Water dissolves limestone, then redeposits it in stalagmites and stalactites.
Visiting the last week of May, we were ahead of the big summer crowds.
We signed up to take the subterranean railway trip through the caverns. It was like a roller coaster in a tunnel.
Guided tours begin with a train ride into the heart of the caves, followed by a walk through a series of halls with intricate rock formations.
At one point, they led us through a tunnel and turned out the lights. Can't see your hand in front of your head. Momentary panic as you wonder if this is intentional or not.
Drip, Drip, Drip. The stalactite hanging from the ceiling eventually merges with the stalagtite growing from the ground to make a column.
See the tour walking up the trail.
The lighting strung throughout the caverns was key to the experience. Flash photography isn't allowed. My Leica digital camera shoots very fast, so it could capture stills and video in low light.
The Stalactite has made contact with the Stalagmite.
You could look in from the outside of this tiny cave, a fractal of the larger caverns we were exploring.
They have created a great experience in the cave tour.
Just up the road from the Postojna Caves is this castle built at the mouth of a cave. Under siege for a year, Erasmus Lueger, a Robin Hood like figure, was hit by a cannonball as he sat in the privy and killed in 1484.
Marit and Morten, with Genie and Gregg.
Looking out from the porch of our Penzion apartment over the town of Tolmin, in the Soca Valley.
The fastest way to Lake Bohinj from Tolmin requires driving on to the car train, and sitting in your car while the train ascends through a dark tunnel up to the lake.
Beautiful gem in Triglav National Park
The ski lifts operate for hikers in the summer. Genie and Marit went hiking off the lifts.
Looking into the heart of Triglav National Park, the Julian Alps
The Russian Road takes motorists up and over the summit on the way to Kranska Gora. They call it the Russian Road because it was built by 10,000 Russian prisoners of war in World War I.
This view of a mountain lake is just a crop of the reflection in the lake of the previous picture
Remind us of the World War One battles here.
Overlooking Soca Lake
We picked up fishing licenses at the Sterk Lodge, and saw Soca Lake, where the Idrijca, the Baca and the Soca come together behind a dam. The beautiful color of the water drew us here.
These World War I fortification on both sides of the bridge over the Idrijca River
Millions dead and wounded
Our first morning we fished the Idrijca River, just out of Tolmin.
For the afternoon, we went out on the Soca. It was running 20 CM higher than last week with the snowmelt. Hard to get lures down where the fish are in the current
I sit on a rock changing a fly, taking a sip of water, in the shadows of the snow-capped Alps, in the beautiful Soca River.
The Soca flows out of a crack in the rock near the pass high in the Julian Alps in Slovenia. It is running fast and clear this day.
from our Penzion balcony
Our second morning, we were fishing the Tolminka, a much smaller river running through gravel bars.
We could spot the trout laying in the current from up on the river bank. Catching them was another matter.
After a midday thunderstorm, we found another spot on the Idrijca, a big slow curve with trout feeding on the far bank.
Idrija River, Slovenia. Saw a big trout sipping dry flies right against the far bank. Trying to spot a fly right on the bank and get a natural looking drift was quite a challenge
Low light through the truck window with my iPhone. Rare sighting of an Ibex.
She and Marit went up above Bovec and hiked the Soca Trail.
Springing forth from underground, the headwaters of the Soca carve through limestone, picking up color against the white rock.
You can see the up and down nature of the trail, when it is at river level here, and the bridge is eighty of a hundred feet higher.
Soca River, Triglav National Park, Slovenia
Looking out on the Soca and the bridge
These bridges had wood slats that were starting to crack and rot, and the bridge itself sways as you walk. Sketchy,
This is one of the narrower places in the Gorges of the Soca
These two have hiked together in Alaska, Norway, Colorado and Slovenia. Sharing passion for nature.
seeing the effects of water cutting through rock is amazing.
depending on the season of the year
reminding us of the tragedy of World War I, and the conflicts of the Balkans since the fall of the Iron Curtain
Slovenians love to show off the natural wonders of this place, and have created trails, opportunities to kayak, raft, hang glide, ski and fish these mountains.
Memorializing over 7000 Italians whose remains are buried at this site.
Dedicated by Mussolini in 1938, just as they were starting the craziness all over again. This Charnel House sits atop a hill in the Soca River Valley near Tobarid. They have constructed the 14 Stations of the Cross along the road up to the top of the hill where the church and memorial stand.
See the Italian Charnel House in the foreground.
The first Station of the Cross on the road up to the Charnel House.
We saw several people parasailing here. I took this picture of a poster showing a plethora of gliders.
We met some Germans who travel all over to do this.
Looking over Soca Lake
where we had a good Slovenian dinner one night
We had two rental cars for our holiday, and followed each other all over Slovenia and Croatia
Bluebird day, snow on the peaks, breathtaking.
High in Triglav National Park arises the Soca River, which flows mightily down the valley it has carved. It emerges from a crack in the rock as a cascade. There are many underground caverns in this limestone. Some rivers disappear only to reappear some distance downstream.
Which wasn't 15 minutes or easy. The last third you held to a steel cable on a ledge over the creek.
Water emerges blue from the crack in the rock.
Notice the cable is about waist high to me, out of my comfort zone.
There are 31 switchbacks up and over the pass on what they call the Russian Road. So named because it was built by Russian prisoners of war during World War I.
We watched a guy strap his skies on his back, and take off up the snow couloir behind me. Last we saw of him, he was climbing through the notch at the far left at the top of the snowfield. Planning to ski down the other side to the road back down.
Triglav National Park-Slovenia
on Bled Island