So, in addition to the ongoing (and boy is it going on…) coronavirus situation, in this part of Slovenia we have already had the highest snowfall in 43 years – and winter is far from over. I, for one, hope it’s also the last time for the next 43 years!
Regular readers of my blog will know I’m not a fan of snow, so this is by far, already, the hardest winter for me since moving here in 2007, and with the restrictions in place due to ‘the’ virus, there’s nowhere to escape, and no way of escaping, snow, so one just has to put on a brave face and plenty of winter clothing and get out there and ’embrace’ it.
Yesterday was the first day for around a month that it was due to be sunny, albeit it bitterly cold, so it was finally time to head out for a long hike to get some photos for my blog. Due to the restrictions in place, as well as the snow, there’s not a huge choice of places to go where a) we are allowed to go, b) the risks of avalanche are minimal, c) there are no problems with parking and no crowds – the latter turned out to be a particularly good move as the headlines on the news on Saturday were about the major traffic problems in the most popular winter sports areas. Thus, the obvious choice for us was the Jelovica plateau, which is right on our doorstep and which we can reach on foot from home. In fact, we’ve grown to love the wide choice of routes on the plateau so much, they are now likely to become a staple among our local hikes, even when we are allowed to go further from home!
We started from home in Radovljica at 8.30am, first down to Lancovo and then onwards towards the hamlet of Kolnica in Spodnja Lipnica.
From there we continued up to the Suharna viewpoint above the Lipnica valley. You can also read more here about my first hike to Suharna earlier in the year, which, believe me, was a lot easier than trudging through the snow now!
It usually takes around an hour to reach the viewpoint but you always need to allow about half as much time again when walking in snow, and even more if the snow is knee (or thigh!) deep.
After hiking up through the forest you reach a road (yes, that really is a road you can ‘see’ below!), where the ‘path’ to Suharna continues to the left. The path is well marked throughout, provided the signs are visible beneath the snow, that is!
From the viewpoint there are far-reaching views across the Radovljica plains, the Karavanke mountains, the Kamnik-Savinja Alps and towards the Ljubljana basin.
Just don’t get too close to the edge as there is a sheer drop beneath that snow behind me!
We decided not to take a seat on the bench – can’t think why! – and instead returned to the intersection of paths and began our way, slowly, towards the Vodiška planina mountain pasture.
There are numerous paths that lead to the mountain pasture. This one proved to be a good option as we met few people along the way and it allowed us to do an entirely circular hike. Fortunately someone – though it looked like only one person – had already hiked that way that morning, so the trudge through the snow was at least somewhat easier.
From Suharna it would usually take around 1.15 hours to reach the Partizanski dom mountain hut on Vodiška planina but, again, it took us quite a bit longer due to the snow and we finally reached the mountain hut at just after 12.30pm, thus four hours after leaving home.
A flask of tea is an essential in winter, and even more so now when the huts are closed.
From the hut there are numerous paths the lead down towards Kropa. We took the one that leads towards the Stočje – the lower part of Kropa – which brings you out near the swimming pool.
The mountain pasture is only 1,108m and there’s over a metre of snow, whereas in the higher mountains there is over 3 metres of snow this year already. So, if you do plan any winter hiking, please do ensure you only choose familiar and/or well-trodden paths that are low risk in terms of avalanches and, of course, you need the full gamut of winter gear including gaiters, crampons, an ice axe (if going higher) and not forgetting a flask of tea!
From there we returned along the pavement to Kamna Gorica and from there we took the path that leads over the Fuxova brv footbridge back to Radovljica. The total hiking time from door-to-door was around 7 hours, and two pleasantly tired hikers certainly enjoyed their (gluten free!) pizzas once home!
You can read more ideas for winter hiking in my previous blog ‘5 Great Winter Hikes in Radovljica’
© Adele in Slovenia
5 thoughts on “Winter Hikes on the Jelovica Plateau”
To begin with: I wish you a Happy and especially healthy 2021! And: thank you so much for your blogs – all of them are so informative! I was going to put your information to good use as I planned to visit Slovenia for my hikes on the Via Alpina last year, but as you know…: it was a “no-go”! – so I hope to be able to go this year (fingers crossed!)
For now keep safe and keep on blogging please!
Best regards for the Netherlands,
Hi Pauline, thanks for your lovely feedback and good wishes. It’s always lovely to hear from readers of my blog and to know that my blogs are of help. I, too, very much hope that you will be able to make it here this year, and that life returns to normal as soon as possible. With all this snow here, it makes the lockdown even harder so roll on spring! Best wishes to you too. Regards, Adele
A shame that the likes of Vogel, KG, and Kanin cannot make the most of what are, unusually for Slovenia, perfect ski conditions.
Indeed. Tbh, it’s been, and still is, a right mess. First they weren’t allowed to open the ski resorts, then they were, but only for those who could present a negative COVID test, then 5 days later they had to close again. It’s still hard to fathom how Slovenia has gone from being one of the best countries in dealing with the pandemic in spring 2020, to now being one of the worst – officially now with the 3rd highest death rate based on the percentage of the population.
Agreed. A contact of mine in the Bohinj area would often tell me how the whole area had had no COVID cases during the spring and summer, to a point where I had hoped to stay last October. Perhaps all those articles eulogizing that Slovenia was one of the safest places to visit in Europe perpetuated a stampede of asymptomatic visitors, but similar to neighbouring Austria and Italy, something, somewhere, has gone badly wrong.