Unless we were going walk up the narrow valley on the main road, the only way out of Idrija was up the steep forested side of the valley.
The via Alpina leaving the valley has been rerouted from the route marked on our map, confusing us for a while until we worked out where we were going. The new route looked on the map to be less steep than the old one. But it was still incredibly steep. And slippery. And a long way. And wet. When I count my blessings I can add to the list that I never have to walk that ‘path’ again.
We did see this fella though on the path…
And this one…
Later we saw deer and ospreys and a fox.
What wilderness was waiting for us when we finally reached the ridge?
It turned out that there were some high alpine pastures, little hamlets and lots of churches. We spent the next few hours walking through this beautiful Slovene scenery, sometimes on minor roads, sometimes on tracks, and sometimes on faint paths, with the weather gradually improving.
There was plenty of up and down (something like 4800 feet of ascent today), and some tricky navigation through farm land. One farmer in particular seemed unsympathetic to walkers, having laid flat a finger post and put electric fences up over all the possible paths (Judith can testify that the fences were live, having accidentally touched one). We tried to go a different way only to find more barriers. We managed in the end though.
Everything now feels very Alpine and not at all maritime, which means we have definitely made a lot of progress, even if we are walking to the Alps rather than crossing them, and we are not really doing so ‘with ease’.
The Via Alpina doesn’t go to Cerkno but because of our itinerary and because some places we might stay are now closed, it made sense for us to descend to Cerkno and rejoin the route tomorrow. Thankfully the descent was much easier than the ascent from Idryja this morning, and was actually very pleasant…
…but having been on the go for more than 9 hours, maybe we didn’t appreciate it as much as we might have.