Day 10: Soca River and Bovec – Rest day
Jack Richards, August 7, 2011
The response to my blog over the last few days has been awesome. Thanks to all those who have left comments, I do pick them up and during the tougher moments they sure keep me going. So please, keep up the wee notes.
As I said, at times on this trip there have been difficult moments. On my rest day it seems a good time to reflect on the highs and lows of the cycle tourist. Lows usually occur around lunch time when I have little by way of company, still have a lot to ride in the afternoon and am already tired and hungry! Other incidents such as navigation issues, poor roads, bad weather, mechanical problems and aches and pains all cause anger. But, these moments are always out weighed by the extreme highs. The delight at reaching the top of a huge climb, the hooting of horns from impressed motorists as I slog up mountains, then the buzz of a fast decent. The smell of trees and clean air, the feeling that my body is working at its best and the miles are ticking by. The stunning views I look out over much of the way. The interest of varying cultures and people. The chats I have with strangers along the way and the kindness shown towards me by new friends at campsites. The satisfaction of arriving at camp. The hit of endorphins after a long day. I could go on..
My days are often fairly polar in terms of morale but I am learning to deal with these and keep in my mind that things will soon improve. For instance right now it is chucking it with rain and the weather forecast is indicating the same for tomorrow, however in 48 hours time, all going to plan, I will be on the Croatian Dalmatian coast in hot sun! Also I have had an awesome day upon which I can reflect, I’m in a warm, dry tent and I have just read some cool messages from friends and family. The fact that all my riding kit is outside and soaking wet, all my non-cycle clothes are soaked from today and my tent is getting drenched, is quite manageable.
Today I rode the 26km round trip to Bovec to get food before the shops shut at 12 and to book a canyoning trip for the afternoon. I also sat in the town and drank cheap coffee. I joined a French couple who I met here at Korita Camp in Soca for a three hour canyoning trip. The Karst limestone region here is renowned for its gorges and rivers. Canyoning, rafting and kayaking are all being carried out in a big way. My trip this afternoon was awesome, I loved it. After a 40 minute climb up a steep hill, using paths created by Italian soldiers during the First World War, we dropped into the gorge. A series of slides and jumps followed. The final slide was a 14m drop (4 stories) and near vertical. Following the strict instructions from our excellent guide, I plummeted into the deep pool at the bottom. An amazing trip and one I would thoroughly recommend.
Camping here just meters from the Soca river is very special. Huge deciduous forested mountains rise into the clouds in all directions and the water runs a bright emerald- blue colour. It looks like mouthwash, the colour due to magnesium from the underlying geology, so I am told.
Tomorrow it’s back on the bike as I head south through Slovenia. Out of the high mountains to Postojna, an area famed for its caves, which I hope to check out on Tuesday morning. Normal routine resumes tomorrow.