As the world makes another trip around the sun and I move more into my late-50’s, (is that considered middle aged anymore, I wonder?) I’ve become obsessed with the sheer number of trails available to hike and the limited time I have to check them all off my list. It’s always a delight to hear from avid walkers living in far-flung countries who want to share their passion. Tadej Kožar is one of them. Founder of CampingValley.com he asked if I might share his favorite hike with you as well as his passion for going to places where our hearts and souls feel at home.
Hiking to Veliki Spiček by Tadej Kožar
Have you ever been to Slovenia? Do you love to hike? If you like to hike and would love to visit European trails, I invite you to come to my country that has lots of beautiful trails for hiking.
Slovenia is very diverse. It has a sea, mountains, and valleys that are worth seeing. Slovenia belongs among the greenest countries in Europe. You can opt among 10,000 marked hiking trails all across the country. Most Slovenians and tourists like to visit the Gorenjska region which has magnificent mountains, with our highest mountain, Triglav at 2864 meters.
In addition to so many trails for an active vacation, you will also have a chance to spend the night and eat in one of many mountain huts to recuperate after a long walk. The trails that are the most famous are Via Bela Krajina, Zasavje Long-Distance Trail, Koroška Mountain Trail, Soča Trail, Pohorje Hills, Logar Valley, The Loka Mountain Trail.
To give you a taste of my life as a hiker, I’ll share a story of the trail that leads to the Špiček. It is a daily hike so you won’t need to have a tent no matter if you go alone, with a friend or in a group. My girlfriend and I hike regularly on Veliki Špiček since it is close to our home. It is the highest hill in the Brežice municipality at 686 meters. There are a few paths to reach it, and we opt to start at the the Pišece castle next to the lake.
The castle was firstly mentioned in the 14th century but we assume that it existed in the 13th century when the knights of Pišece lived. There is a beautiful English park with a 50 meters high sequoia and a lake that gives the place an aristocratic feel. The castle is not open to the public but I still advise you to look at its magnificence from the outside. We proceeded to the forest path that will lead us to our destination.
This is the gear that we usually use when hiking on Špiček.
Hiking shoes or sports footwear
You will start to walk on a rocky path that is meant for hikers and lumberjacks. The most appropriate footwear is a hiking shoe that is durable enough to handle those sharp rocks. However, if you will hike in ordinary sport’s shoes it will be fine as well.
Backpack for storage
We took a backpack with us. It is recommendable to have since you can store a water bottle, food, wipes, first aid kit, and bug repellent inside.
Oh, and the flies! You will not be alone at the start. If you will hike in the warm weather there will be annoying flies that will try to break your nerves.
Sunglasses and a bug repellent
Sunglasses are perfect to stop those flies from getting into your eyes. They are persistent, believe me, so put sunglasses on or a natural bug-repellent on your face. Don’t spray the face, just put some repellent on your hands and spread it on your cheeks, forehead, chin, and nose careful to avoid the eyes.
Vanja also uses hiking poles that help her to overcome the hill due to occasional knee pain from broken bone after a bike accident.
The path of pine cones, flowers and greenery
We hike on the demanding path that is far more beautiful than the ordinary path that most hikers choose. The more you ascend, the more rocks there will be on the trail. So you must be careful where you place your feet.
I recommend that you go at your own speed, that you breathe normally, and lift your legs high enough so you won’t get injured. The most important thing to remember is to walk as you can no matter if your partner or a friend is ahead of you.
Hiking poles are of great help here since you will be like a goat with four legs. The regular use of the poles will strengthen up your arms and the upper body.
If you will hike in the spring and summer months you will see cyclamen and saffron. Pines are more at the top of the hill where you will see pine cones all over the trail. Vanja likes to pick them as she likes to decorate them for Christmas.
We had a special assignment yesterday as I lost my sunglasses when we were picking cones in a bag. Our goal was to find them and we were lucky that no one found them before us. I must say that some people even pick lost items and put them in a visible place so you can find them easier. This is a kind gesture!
We have our own log where we sit a little bit, drink some water, and talk. The top hill is near, you will need about 15-20 minutes to reach it.
A few up’s and down’s and you will be on the crossing where the two paths join. You will see a sign that tells you how much time you will spend to accomplish the summit. At that point, it’s only about 3 minutes to reach your goal.
On the top, you will see a little house with a bell and a book where you can sign. There is a signpost of different cities as Brussels, München, Slovenian places and kilometers to reach them.
We signed in the book and sit on the bench to eat our meal and drink some water.
The end of our daily trip
We were happy that we hiked our trail successfully and that we found my sunglasses. The hike on the Špiček is not so demanding. All you have to have is a good pair of shoes, sporty clothes, some food and water (food is not necessary) and the right attitude to reach the top.
I hope you enjoyed my story and wish for you to come to experience the hill by yourself!
I hope Slovenia is a place that I’ll be able to visit in the future and hike some trails, too.
yes! so many places to go.
Delightful description, Tadej! I appreciate the tips on footwear and gear. I would love to visit and hike Slovenia! It sounds like a beautiful country.
me too! ♥️