15 days in Gozd Martuljek: hiking, biking, via ferrata, and other excitement

Ferda and I had heard there was a lot to do in the Kranjska Gora area. When we finished our via ferrata in Mojstrana, we looked for a place to stay there for a few days. Everything seemed full. On the internet I found Boršt Apartments in Gozd Martuljek and booked an apartment for a few nights. It said the room had a “mountain view”. Ferda and I laughed because everywhere we turned in this area had a mountain view.

Well, uh, they weren’t kidding. This was the view from our room:

IMG_20220604_165750 by bryandkeith on flickr

They also weren’t kidding about the things to do. We kept extending our stay. Here’s a list of our excursions while we were there:

  • visit Jansa Lake by bicycle
  • climb the Jerm’n via ferrata
  • a 60 km 3-country (Slovenia, Austria, Italy) bicycle loop
  • climb the ferrata Hvadnik
  • visit Fusine Lakes (in Italy) by bicycle
  • watch ski jumpers at Planica
  • explore the Vrata Valley by bicycle, then on foot
  • climb Jalovec
  • explore the Krma Valley by bicycle
  • walk to the lower Murtuljški waterfall (there’s an upper one as well)

Here’s a short list of some of the things we thought we might do but didn’t have time for:

  • climb Triglav
  • climb Špik
  • explore the Kot Valley
  • explore the network of trails below the mountains that we looked at everyday from our room

Yes, it’s a great part of Slovenia to spend a few days. Note that it’s all about sport and mountain scenery. There’s not much in the way of culture and history. Also, it seems difficult to get around if you don’t have a bicycle.

This is how we started most of our excursions, heading straight toward the mountains to access the bicycle path that heads up and down the main valley (Sava Dolinka):

IMG_20220606_083631 by bryandkeith on flickr

The steep pyramidal peak (above) is Špik, supposedly easily accessed by a trail from the other side.

IMG_20220605_124148 by bryandkeith on flickr
Jasna Lake

Of the two via ferrata just a short walk from our Boršt Apartment, Jerm’n is the harder one with this slightly overhanging start:

IMG_20220605_152847 by bryandkeith on flickr

via ferrata Hvadnik:

IMG_20220607_115915 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20220607_120817 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20220607_122912 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20220607_125155 by bryandkeith on flickr

We climbed Wurzen Pass to cross from Slovenia to Austria. It’s easy from the Slovenian side but very steep and narrow on the Austrian side. I felt sorry for the all touring cyclists we saw struggling up that pass in the heavy traffic.

IMG_20220606_092054 by bryandkeith on flickr

I love the way there are no border controls in the Schengen area. Now we’re in Italy:

IMG_20220606_134810 by bryandkeith on flickr

Now we’re back in Slovenia:

IMG_20220606_145202 by bryandkeith on flickr

We missed the lakes at Fusine that day, but it was worth riding back to Italy on another day to see them:

IMG_20220608_123419 by bryandkeith on flickr

As if hiking, biking, and climbing isn’t enough, Planica above Rateče is famous for ski jumping. I didn’t realize you could do this without snow. See the jumper?

IMG_20220608_151738 by bryandkeith on flickr

On another day we headed down the main valley back to Mojstrana to check the out Vrata Valley which leads to the base of the north side of Triglav, the highest mountain in ex-Yugoslavia.

IMG_20220610_094738 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20220610_103713 by bryandkeith on flickr
Zgornji Peričnikov slap
IMG_20220610_113331 by bryandkeith on flickr

The day I climbed Jalovec was our most exciting day in Gozd Martuljek. Ferda didn’t want such a long day so we decided to meet at Planinski dom Tamar (like a refugio in the Dolomites; aka hut) in the middle of the day. I got up at 3:30am, bicycled to Tamar, started walking at 6am, and was on the summit about 9:30am. That was not early enough to beat the clouds. I did get this nice view of the peak on the way up:

IMG_20220611_081625 by bryandkeith on flickr

The crux of the route was crossing this snow without crampons or an ice axe.

The crux of the route when I climbed Jalovec by bryandkeith on flickr

I walked up, over the top, and down the side of the snow. Those are not my footprints. It perhaps looks a bit less intimidating from the top.

IMG_20220611_091038 by bryandkeith on flickr

I don’t have good photos from the summit because of the clouds. I was careful on the descent which had some steep sections and met Ferda as planned about 1pm at the crowded (it was the weekend) Tamar Hut.

IMG_20220611_131824 by bryandkeith on flickr

The gravel road down from Tamar was very steep in places so were quite careful. From Planica it’s a steep, paved, very fast downhill on the bikes. Be careful, we said. From there we had a few kms cruising along the wide bicycle path, slightly downhill at times, back to Gozd Martuljek. No problem.

We crashed into each other as we passed Podkoren, almost in Kranjska Gora. Ferda got up right away, but I was taken in an ambulance to the hospital in Jesenice. It was just some bruises and stitches for my knee. We extended our stay in Gozd Martuljek again.

We’re still not sure exactly what we happened, but we were clearly going too fast. We had been riding side by side, and I got a little ahead of Ferda as pedestrians were walking toward us on our side of the path. Then something went wrong.

After about a week of resting we did a test run up the Krma Valley to see how the bicycle felt. Wow, another beautiful valley!

IMG_20220618_121655 by bryandkeith on flickr

Is my knee ready for the 900m climb with a loaded bicycle up Vršič Pass? Stay tuned.

This entry was posted in Austria, Bicycle touring, Italy, Slovenia and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to 15 days in Gozd Martuljek: hiking, biking, via ferrata, and other excitement

  1. Mike Painter says:

    I missed this one somehow, but what beautiful scenery again! Hope you’ve fully recovered by now.

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