Risk and potential reward are each others’ inverse. But as any sociologist knows, it’s uncertainty, not risk, that is the real problem. Risks are known; uncertainties are not.
Uncertainty is what I was facing yesterday when I chose the longer route over these mountains, instead of the more direct one I had planned. I had no idea (and will never know) what could have happened if I had stuck to the shorter way, and therefore now it feels better to have chosen the certainty of an extra day’s worth of walking over the uncertain dangers. I’m glad I chose the longer way.
Nature supporting the cause!
Nevertheless, after a good night’s rest the day started with a fairly tricky descent down the west face below the refuge; tricky because of the still frozen snow and the cliffs below. But my small crampons (Grödel) really helped make that descent safer and less stressful. From the village of Trenta there was the crystal clear river Soca to follow for a few kilometres, along a beautiful path with several suspension bridges. Yesterday’s snow will melt into the Danube and the Black Sea; the Soca drains into the Adriatic. The refuge lay on the watershed.
The beautiful Soca river
In the afternoon I crossed that same watershed again at the Vrsic Pass along a road built by 10,000 Russian prisoners of war during world war one, as I read at the top. But my route took me higher, to the Vratica col above Vrsic. Here, a moment of pure delight and ecstasy as I realise that from the top I can see Italy, and even Austria further away. So I’ve made it across these mountains!
Above Vrsic pass
A moment of concern on the way down, as I have to descend via the remnants of a massive avalanche, including all the trees and rubble it took down, which proved to be very slippery and steep.
An avalanche-destroyed forest
Then, a moment of anger, as for the second time in a few days I soak my boots on the inside; this time simply by stepping onto the wrong rock while crossing a completely harmless stream. It must have looked comical!
So this day, like the rest of the trek so far, has been full of ups and downs (literally and figuratively). But the ups are getting more, as the blisters are healing and I’m making good progress. Tonight I’m still camping in Slovenia, by a small stream in the Planica valley (the valley with the famous ski jumps), below the awe-inspiring north face of the Jalovec (and surrounding mountains). And tomorrow I shall be in Italy!
Wishing everyone a great day!