BootsnAll Travel Network

Bohinj: I said, higher.

We arrived at the bottom of the cable car run around 10am, all stocked up with food and water, ready for a good days hiking. The morning fog was just starting to lift, and the sun was warming the fresh air. The cash for the tickets was ready in our hands as we approached the ticket window, curious to see if the cable car was running at all after yesterday’s smoky display, and preparing ourselves to be disappointed.

“Two return tickets please”, Bec requested hopefully.

“4200 Sit.”

We handed over the money. Looked like today was the day. Buggered if I know what the hell happened the day before, but apparently all was good today. Along with about 20 others, we crammed in to the cable car, and before we had time to even contemplate what that smoke might have been yesterday, we were off, hanging by a thin wire in an oversized phone both (sans phones) being transported 1000 metres up the side of a mountain. A few short minutes later (you know, short minutes, as opposed to those long ones you get when standing in a queue), and we were out, standing way up above Lake Bohinj, looking down into the beautiful valley, and across to the towering Mount Triglav rising up amongst the mountains opposite like the snowy haired tall kid in a school photo.

Ahead of us from here was a two-and-a-half hour hike to the top of Mount Vogel, at 1922 metres, the finer details of which we knew little about. In my head, I think I was expected a hiking path like those in Australia, or the one we did in Scotland going up Ben Lomond – dirt, with the odd rock, and stairs built in to the path when a quicker ascent was needed. All we knew was we had to get about 450 metres higher than we were now. Signs pointed us to the path leading to the top of Mount Vogel, and we followed the wide track into the colourful forest. Autumn was taking hold. Reds, burnt oranges, rusted browns; the colours exploded through the treetops and out into the sunshine.

Looking at the peaks rising up in front of us, the first 20 minutes of the hike led us not up into the mountains, but down, down a steep steep road covered in rocks that left us slipping on our heels every other step. Weren’t we meant to be going up? All I could think was that at the end of the hike, we’d have to get back up this bloody road. The road mercifully levelled out, and after half an hour, we walked into and across a grassed valley at the bottom of Mount Vogel, leading us to the base of the mountain. From here, the next two hours consisted of walking, no, no, not walking, uh, I think improvising is the best way to put it. We improvised our way up extremely steep rocky crags. This was no walking path. It was simply the route most taken by hikers over rocks, the way shown by the odd red and white dot, reassuring us that we were still on track.

We got higher up the mountain, and were faced with a steep ridge, barely a metre wide, and crawled up on hands and feet. Two feet to the right; a huge drop at about 80 degrees down into the valley below. One foot to the left; the same, a steep, rocky cliff falling way way down. At this point in the climb, I was actually a little scared. This didn’t feel like hiking, this felt like mountain climbing. And I’m no mountain climber. The views were stunning, but it was hard to look when a slip of your foot, a foot wearing not hiking boots, but simple low cut everyday shoes, could send you down to, at the least, the hospital. I shuddered to think how Bec was feeling. Scrambling our way to the top as carefully as we could, we stopped for a few deep breaths, and continued going higher, walking along the side of the mountain, on a path no wider than a foot, the slope of the mountain not abating at all.

Two hours after setting off, we climbed up the final ridge, and made it to the summit. This was as high as it went. To the West, we could see into Italy, to the East, we looked back into the Julian Alps, and Mount Triglav off in the distance. It was amazing. We sat down to eat some well-earned food. About 10 or so other hikers were already there, although we’d seen only two other people on the entire hike up. As my eyes scanned around, I noticed that every single other person up there looked like they’d just stepped out of a Kathmandu catalogue. Technically advanced hiking boots, zip-off hiking pants, they even had, every single one, a set of hiking poles, like miniature ski poles they were.

It made me smile – here I was, a simple redhead, wearing a Bonds t-shirt, a terry-towelling hat, and some everyday shoes sitting at the top of a mountain with these serious hikers. I felt like the coolest guy in the world. For about five seconds. Because five seconds after thinking I was the coolest guy in the world, that’s when I saw the old man. He had to have been in his seventies, wearing dress slacks, a collared shirt, and a suit jacket. He came calmy walking up over the ridge, hands behind his back, like a priest walking through the congregation. Now that guy, he was the coolest guy in the world, and I was back to being some schmuck redhead.

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3 Responses to “Bohinj: I said, higher.”

  1. Steve and Andrea Says:

    You guys just got lucky.
    we only got as far as the top station of the cable car before the weather closed in with cloud and rain.
    Made it to the waterfall though.

  2. Posted from Australia Australia
  3. Mark Hogan Says:

    The coolest guy in the world. Are you sure it wasn’t George Costanza’s old man? sounds just like him.

  4. Posted from Australia Australia
  5. Mark Hogan Says:

    Hey, me again. Forget Costanza’s old man, I was just looking at Flickr to see if you had added any pics (great shot at the top of the mountain Bec!) and I saw that pic you posted the other week of the crazy old guy trying to fill you full of home made slivovic on the ferry. I can just picture him strolling to the top of the mountain. Surely he is “The Coolest Guy in the World”

  6. Posted from Australia Australia

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