Everything is better with friends – that's a fact, but I never thought that it would get me going on a three-day hike, on Triglav. The fact that my dad's a mountain guide, would probably make people think that I was born with the love for jumping around the hills, but the truth is completely different. Well, at least that's what I thought. Moreover, I never really thought about mountaineering before.
But then, family friends visited us from California, and one of their goals in our little Slovenia was, of course, hiking Triglav, our 2864 m summit. When I got the chance to join that „expedition“, I accepted it with mixed feelings. I wasn't sure I made a right decision, but I conforted myself, that I'd at least become a “real Slovenian as a saying goes, if nothing else. Even when we already started walking, I had doubts about keeping up with the “proffesionals”, struggling breathless somewhere at the back of the group. Howerver, I surprised myself and walked at the front. What other surprises are there waiting for me? When you see, or at least when I see a big, steep slope, my reaction isn't exactly euphoric running. In most cases it feels like an endless suffering...but when we were walking in succession focused on the trail right in fornt of us for a few hours, I settled into it, believe me. My eyes weren't looking up the hill anymore, they were looking to the ground, to my feet, and I was managing to walk as fast and effective as possible. “Left, right, left, right, ...” was ringing in my head, but my mind was set on the rocks, and the ground, on which I was planning to step.
Even though the way wasn't as hard as I imagined it would be, the short breaks were still the most welcomed parts. Scenic mountain huts made out of stone and covered with special wooden skodle always gave us a perfect spot to rest for a while, and fill our bottles with fresh water. The hunger was was taken care of as well, mostly with soups, dishes with sauerkraut, homemade Carnolian sausages, sour milk, and buckwheat polenta. Those were excellent, especially on an empty stomach. We slept on narrow bunk beds, in a room full of snoring strangers, but those mattresses felt as the most comfortable in the world.
I know that everyone wants to know how it feels when you finally climb the summit, and proudly take a picture in front of the famous tower, but let me explain some things first. On Firday, 7th of August 2015, a day after the end of our journey, we were celebrating 120th anniversary of Aljaž tower on Triglav. The weather was lovely and sunny, which meant hords of alpine climbers or the tourists without proper gear were trying to reach the top. Even though the hike isn't terribly hard, it still requires at least a climbing harness, a helmet and some reliable shoes. However, a lot of people didn't have the basic safety equipment which led to some very scary situations. Only half an hour under the summit, we saw a group of young amateurs coming down – without proper gear, some even in their jeans. We heard a cracking sound, and froze in place, because they accidentally kicked rocks, the size of ostrich eggs, so they were now rolling and bouncing down the hill towards us. Thank god for the helmet, because I felt pretty uncomfortable at that moment. One incorrect step, and they could be rolling towards the foot of the mountain, together with those unfortunate rocks. If you're thinking about hiking to Triglav, I recommend – from a completely subjective point of view – hire a guide.
A little bit tired, but generally alive and well, we of course reached the 2864 m summit. Just a look at the famous Aljaž tower, and a breathtaking landscape all around us told me that the effort certainly paid off. It felt like I could see the whole world underneath us. Tiny trees, paths, huts, and little people, still coming, or already returning from Triglav. A helicopter bringing the fresh supplies. Black birds, flying over the skies under us. Even a man, selling cans of beers and sodas next to us was fascinating.
When we took a group photo at the front, and some seperate ones inside the Aljaž tower, I felt like my journey has ended already, even though I still had a long, hard hike to the hut on Triglav lakes, and a 3-hour way to the valley the next day. I'll guess everyone feels that way when reaching the goal, and how to explain … becomes a “real Slovenian”. Yes, this is this unbelievable feeling I've heard of!