#6. Hiking day - The blueberry pastries hunt on Dobrča (1634m)
Roses are red, Violets are blue ... spring has finally arrived but not in the mountains where winter conditions remains!
It was Tuesday morning, I was at work when my phone rang. It was a photo of a delicious blueberry Štruklji that a friend sent to me. It was one of those google "remember this day" - it was exactly one year when we had those on a mountain called Dobrča. Those were the best štruklji I ever had in my life. Third friend reading and seeing this on our common hangout chat responded immediately: "Let's go this Sunday! Weather forecast is nice - sunny without a cloud, -15°C and around half a meter of snow!". I was still drooling over that photo and I would go there even if it was summer! But the opportunity for another extreme winter hiking?! Yes, Yes, YES!! It was settled our next destination was Dobrča.
I immediately notified our hiking buddies to plan their Sunday. I did warn them about the cold that was predicted. To my sorrow the initial photo sender canceled - too cold for him, combined with a lot of snow - a no-go he said. But still we managed to get a nice company this time - a group of 5 snow and cold not fearing hikers!
Finally Sunday morning 5:30 AM. I ate my oatmeal - it's hard for me to eat instantly when I wake up, but a breakfast like this will keep me going for the entire hike! Well at least to the mountain hut - I could already see that blueberry delight! The starting place is only 30 minutes drive away from Ljubljana near city Tržič. Arriving at the parking, there were only 3 cars parked. At least some crazy hikers besides us, i thought to myself =) We didn't want to waste any time, so we dressed up, packed our backpacks and started walking up the mountain. There was some snow, but you could tell that some people walked the path before us. Soon we realized that my cold weather warnings fell on the wrong ears. My friends were all dressed like we'll be sleeping on -50°C. But walking uphill at -10°C or -15°C isn't actually a problem. Our body generates more than enough heat to keep us warm - they were dressed in ski jackets - lesson learned for next winter hike i guess. So everyone trying to do some winter hiking - dress like onion! Many thin layers. You can always put something on or off to regulate the temperature. Active underwear, warm shirt, this hoodie and this softshell jacket were more than enough for me. And i did have to unzip from time to time even tho it was really cold.
Anyway, only after 30 minutes of walking we reached the first view. A small bench with an opening towards the Bled lake. We took the opportunity to enjoy the view and take some breath. We still had plenty of walking ahead of us. The path lead us again into the woods but it was still easy for us to follow the path. The only distraction was some falling snow from the tree branches. Getting that behind your neck is a chilly surprise but it's good for company - nothing better than some laugh over the fellow hiker's misfortune :D
We didn't met a lot of people but i do remember one lady that walked past us like she's going to eat all the blueberry štruklji at the top! She was on fire even tho there was plenty of snow around her. We almost had to jump aside to not get in her way =) That was also the time when the friend that suggested visiting Dobrča remembered about the sweet delight that is waiting for us at the top. "Come on people let's go ... " =)
Our next break was at the spot where is a paragliding starting point in summer. Another opening in the forest with great view and time for me to take some shots.
We were getting close to the mountain summit and the view started to open on the other side of the mountain with Kosuta ridge and Kamnik-Savinja Alps in the distance. But we still wasn't on top. There was a small opening without trees. Usually in such area the hiking marks are drawn on the stones, to mark the path to the summit. But in this time of a year and more than 1 meter of snow - all we saw was a path in snow going downwards. Is this the right path? But after around 200 meters the path eventually turned from down to up.
"Is this a bull trap?!", commented a friend of mine. Being the time of the big crypto fall in the late February ... It was a perfect comment for the given situation :D Lucky for us it actually was the right path to the summit that we've reached shortly.
After having some fun in the snow and a short photo session, we decided that it's time to get our last reward (besides the view and amazing weather) - Štruklji! We almost ran down in the direction of the mountain hut. The snow was getting a bit softer by now, but it was a pleasure, because if you "slip" for a half a step while descending ... well you are still half a step lower =) And we were on fire like that lady from before, the only difference was that we were on fire while going down and she was going up the mountain!
Right before the hut, there is a small plateau with some shepherds huts and a lot of snow. This wooden pole is actually 2 meters high!
And here it was - our final destination for today with the prize waiting for us inside. We entered the hut and as it's common in the mountain huts, greeted everyone already inside. We occupied the first big enough table, and anxiously waited for the hut's caretaker. "What can i get you guys?". BLUEBERRY Štruklji please. And than ... those words, i can still remember them even almost 2 months later - Sorry guys we are out of Štruklji. You should see our sad faces. We were devastated - the reason why we choose this mountain. But what can you do, we ordered apple pies and were actually really surprised. It was as delicious as štruklji! Well almost, but it sure brought back happiness on our faces.
I just want to say something about the service and the hut owner. I absolutely adore him! He is living in the hut, and he isn't going anywhere and he knows it. So if you expect a speedy service - forget about it he's got all the time in the world!! And that's the most amazing thing. You are enjoying yourself in an absolutely lovely place, surrounded with nature, on a warm bench, waiting to order. Where's the hurry?! But he is not lazy if anyone got the perception like that, he is actually a real working bee, but with his own tempo. He is waking up really early, to bake the bread, prepare the pastries, heat the hut, prepare the daily menu etc. If you are lucky, you can even hear him sing. Did you ever had a chance to wait for your order while the waiter is slowly opening bottles of beer and singing with almost opera voice behind the counter top - PRICELESS! Just to witness this and try some of their delicious food is worth visiting Dobrča at any time of the year.
All we had to do now is descend back to our cars. Those of you that are hiking knows, that it can be a real pain to get back down to the valley. But this time, it was a real pleasure! We've put small crampons on our feet and ran down with a light tempo. We were down in no time!
And this is where i'll conclude my last longer winter hiking trip for this season. I had an amazing time and witnessed the nature in it's pristine winter's coating like never before. Nature is exploding right now in lower parts of Slovenia but we still have couple meters of snow in the higher parts and i wouldn't bet that this was my last winter hike and i am sure that snow will accompany us for the entire year - at least in some northern shady parts. Thank you for reading all the way through this long post. If you have any thoughts, please leave them in the comments bellow. If you have a similar hiking trip - let me know i love reading hiking posts.
If you missed my previous hiking days you can find them here:
#1. Kamnik–Savinja Alps
#2. Stol (surviving a thunderstorm on the peak of 2000m high mountain)
#3. Ledinski vrh (seeing how global warming is wiping the glacier. Flowers instead of ice!)
#4.a Triglav (climbing up the most important Slovenian mountain)
#4.b Triglav (lakes and wild alpine goats in natural habitat)
#4.c Triglav (an epic journey comes to an end!)
#5. Snežnik (Extreme cold weather)
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I'll upvote back every meaningful comment with few cents
!! Enjoy your hiking and stay safe !!
I'll upvote back every meaningful comment with few cents