Rogla is a place we'd visit twice in Slovenia. The first time it was a wild and windy place atop the mountain, where we spent a few free nights and had tobatten down the hatches when heavy thunderstorms rolled in. Unable to enjoy what it had to offer and with the weather being so poor, we decide to move onto Kope, a ski resort above Slovenj Gradec.
As we usually find on our travels, google maps is very creative with the routes it chooses for us. More often than not we ignore the sat nav's primary choice and pick the secondary, slower and usually safer route. Unfortunately on this journey, there was one road and it was a tasty road at that. With a surface potholed like a teenagers face, we seriously considered the sanity of our adventure as we continued to drive up this rickety road. More than once I'm sure we announced "this can't be the right way"…
Eventually we arrived, a very quiet and small ski resort, with a camping area for vans. The owners looked most perplexed that we'd arrived, maybe people usually only stay in winter, but here we were. After an exchange with a nice Slovenian gent, we found our water and disposal points, picked our spot and parked up. Dusk was setting in and we decided to take a short walk, an hour and a half later after exploring we'd made it back to the van. The next day we'd get up early (by van standards) and go for a hike as we were most impressed by the scenery.
We opted to follow route one. We'd found details of this on our trusty Slovenia Trails app. I would recommend this to anybody visiting Slovenia!
Route one as we'd find out carried on right through the entire mountain range we'd found ourselves on. The paths are great here, highlighted with blue and red circles and signs at each junction. There were also information books on route (made out of wood) explaining the change in scenery and providing an insight into what we were seeing.
Hiking in Slovenia has been some of the easiest to follow. That said, we did meet a couple on route asking us for directions who had put too much faith in their gps and failed to notice the clearly marked signs. We remembered the wife's face drop as we explained that the only way back was the way they'd come, they looked broken. I digress…
Our walk took us out of Kope, in the direction of Rogla. A fine warm day for walking, without being sweltering. We'd opted for a circular route that took us back towards Rogla. The total route was 30km, a tall ask for Chief but he's an experienced hiker now and with sufficient water and snacks packed, he'd be fine. The soft sand and peaty earth was ideal for his paws, he has a habit of jumping on the spongy ground with excitement, even after a days walking.
The first hour took us up to a small wooden hut overlooking a beautiful view of the opposing mountains and valleys (Črni Vhr – 1543 m). Here we found a traditional wooden hut built to show how people used to live in the mountains, which mainly revolved around logging and the production of charcoal.
Nowadays, the deforested areas and pastures that have been created from years of use are preserved as industrial heritage (even though it's mainly fields). We wrote our names in the visitors book and headed off towards our first stop, Ribniško Pohorje. Here we found a cafe we could have a quick drink before heading out on towards Rogla. We were only a 6th of the way so now wasn't a time for stopping too long.
We climbed up adjacent to the little cafe towards a monument on top of the mountain, Jezerski Vhr (1537), descending for 3 km towards Šiklarica (1300 m). The rain that had been looming on the horizon appeared, spitting lightly as we walked. It was pleasant reprieve from the warm midday sun. We opened our into a pasture full of beautiful wild flowers, Chief using it as an opportunity to show us his acrobatic skills with a stick he'd found.
We continued on through the pasture until we found our first junction, for here we had to depart from route number one onto a green path (that's what it's called) towards Rogla.
Walking across, up and down the top of the ridge, we finally saw Rogla on the horizon. We commented "why wasn't it this nice when we came", the sun was shining and a small music festival was underway. But the moment we arrived in Rogla, the heavens opened and the wind picked up, bashing and wetting our cold unprepared figures. Despite feeling hungry, we decided to make a quick dash for the shops, get some essentials and make our way back towards the trees where we could find shelter for some lunch.
As soon as we'd departed, the sun shone once again and we found a bench for some lunch. The walk back was pleasant, it's nice walking back as the sun starts slowly to descend, it gives the mountains a bit of atmosphere. We made it back to Kope tired, but jolly from our day out walking.
A hasty tea was prepared before we quickly took ourselves off to bed. The weather was threatening again and we were very tired.