Taiano from Podgorje
April 17, 2014
It is a clear, crisp and cool day. With the slice of a view that I have from the balcony I can see the snow covered mountains behind Monfalcone and on the left I can see the campanile in Piran, clear and distinct against the blue sky.
It is the perfect weather to be up high looking at the Panorama.
We head to Podgorje for a walk up to Taiano-Slavnik. A short walk up and back I am told. We park the car in a designated parking area that also has a map board with the sights and trails in this area. The abandoned castle at Crni-Kal is pictured with its map location. Also for the first time I see Go-huts in the parking lot. We start out at 10:10.
We walk along the road through the small town with pretty pastel stuccoed houses, stone walls enclosing the small gardens filled with spring flowers and flowering fruit trees.
Then onto the trail – the sign post says 1 hour to Slavnic. Straight up hill it is a rocky, carsic trail and all in the woods. I am told it keeps climbing until we reach the “prato” under the rifugio. I remember seeing the people coming up to the rifugio from this trail. As we head up, a lone walker dressed for trekking passes us and heads up the trail. It is straight up and the capo gito sets a slow but deliberate pace. To start it is shrubby trees which then change to the silvery beech tree forest.
I do have to stop a few times to catch my breath. The last bit is across the open field and the wind is blustery and cold. We pullout the jackets and put the arms in the sleeves basically backwards so that the back packs do not have to come off. I just put my head down and watch the heels of the boots in front of me and keep walking while that “will we ever get to the summit” thought keeps tugging at my brain. The last 100 metres are tough! The hiker we met is now coming down and he has his tuque on and his gloves too. We get to the rifugio – no one else there as it is a week day and the rifugio is closed. The long varnished picnic tables and benches by the stone wall of the rifugio are the perfect spot to take off the back-pack and warm up a bit from the effects of the icy wind. I am sweaty and it takes a good 10 minutes for the body temperature to feel right. The climb – 400 metres dislivello – took 1 hour and twenty minutes. Longer than the 1 hour on the sign post so it tells me I am still not quite conditioned for these up hill climbs.
The view is stunning in all directions because of course the icy north wind makes the air clear and light. We can see all the way to the Austrian Alps. I am happy to say that when the peaks are pointed out to me they now actually look familiar – M.te Krn with it’s angled summit and the Canine range that we saw from the Lungo Isonzo walk, M t.e Nevosa snow capped of course, Mt.e Maggiore with its tower and communications antenna. Maybe because the uphill is done with, maybe it is the clean crisp air, maybe it is the stunning view and sunny day, maybe it is”la compagnia” of the capaogita– I feel exhilarated.
We have lunch and I have to have my hoodie up and I need to put on gloves – that is how icy and strong the wind is.
The decision, I am happy to say, is to take the easier trail back down to avoid those slippery rocks that were part of the climb up. It is actually a one car, very rudimentary stone road, with lots of spots washed out and eroded by rain water and run off. After about 10 minutes, the air temperature warms up and we are shielded from the wind. Off comes the hoodie and the gloves. This part of the walk is the perfect spring day, sunny cuckoo and other birds chirping, the first salamanders scampering in the dry leaves, flowers blooming. As we round a bend, on the horizon are snow capped mountains. I did not expect to see that (given my lack of sense of direction) and it is a real jolt of excitement. We start to see the red tiled roofs of Podgorje below us. As we enter the town I can hear a dog barking. Then in the yard of the first house we see a capriolo –roe deer– a young buck, with small horns and still with its dark winter fur. It jumps across the road infront of us and into the woods. In one garden we spot a large tortoise – it’s shell camouflage color like an army helmet. Back at the car and it is 2:30.