Via Alpina, yellow trail, B07, 23. 03. 2019

Time flies, but hills and Via Alpina trails await. Experience from less than two years back have taught us that you can't bump into things head first and that we need to check the conditions. Of course we have with us Žiga, whom we can easily leave with the family so we can go back on longer walks. Lovely spring and a good weather forecast - it wasn't difficult to think of some treks for saturday. We decided to follow the yellow trail of Via Alpina. In 2017 we finished with B06 that ended at Solarij (952 m) at the Kolovrat range, so that was our new startig point. The German guidebook that we are using says that B07 is 8.45 h long with 1600 m of uphill walking. Of course, that is due to the highest point, Matajur with its 1642 m of height, with 450 m at the lowest point. The trail with some breaks took us 8.30 h plus 2 h for the return trip to the village Avsa. A stroak of luck gave us a ride back, since we met an acquaitance of ours, a fellow mountaineer. This saved us at least 2 h of asphalt, so thank you!
Six differently coloured trails of the Via Alpina stretch across Europe. We chose the yellow one and decided to experience the world in this way. We started with stage labeled B07.  Starting point at Solari at the Kolovrat range at 950 m. The goal is mount Matajur (1650 m), with ups and downs.  We left the car on the Slovene side since we planned to return there, but it wan's long to the starting point of B07. At this crossroads we go right and follow the asphalt for 45 min.  The bar at Solari.  A slight steady incline on the asphalt  Don't be fooled by this sign for Topolo because it is an alternative route to the one where Via Alpina is headed. We need to emphasize that we saw only one sign for the trail and even that one was washed out.  Only in Italian, something about some tunnels.  Probably a tunnel from World War I.  Looking at Matajur. At 6.45 it was still far away.  Gorgeous morning sights along the trek to the biouvac under Kolovrat.  This church was above us when we passed it on B06.  After about half an hour we reach a level part of the road.  We can still see remnants from 100 years ago.  Biouvac under Kolovrat. We didn't check if someone was sleeping there so we don't spook them.  At the end of the level part of the road we turn left and down. 
We follow marks 746 towards the Lase village.  A very steep descent.  After the very steep descent the path goes slightly left.  Zig-zagging through the woods.  A bad sign is better than no sign.  On the way.  We reach Lase after about half an hour from the asphalt road. We missed the correct path, since we turned towards the road.  ....and tried to find the path in villgae, but we had to ask for directions how to reach Topolo. Here we need to stay on the path to the village and not on the asphalt.  The sign in the village gave us the correct directions.  Caution! For the first couple of 100 m there are no markings or they are barely visible. Just keep right.  A wide path takes us through the woods and past a gorgeous double waterfall.  The path through the woods is lovely and not too difficult, but it lacks visibility.  A historical tree.  First crossing on a log bridge. There are a couple of these on this track. Caution is welcome since they seem quite old.  The navigation through Topolo was bad but I still remembered a church from the preparations. 
We didn't go to the church immediately, but we went through the village that has wonderful narrow streets and typical architectureMidva nisva šla takoj do cerkve, ampak sva stopila v vas, ki zopet navdušuje z ozkimi ulicami ter značilno arhitekturo.  Apparentry this is where Štefan lives...  This sign baffles us. What is an embassy for the deleted doing here?  As we already mentioned, we need to go to the church above the village.  Right at the church we follow the marked path.  We don't need much navigation here, since we are going towards Matajur anyway. We still follow mark 745.  On the way.  We can easily miss this one! Go left towards the village Polava.  From Topolo onward we have a lot of climbing towards a pass.  It's like in the middle of a city.  Don't go this way.  Not this way eather.  Dear, this path isn't close, but it isn't for Matajur.  Oh dear, almost 5 hours in front of us. But we are still fresh and in a good mood.  We need to mention several historical remnants that are slowly disappearing. 
Some is crumbling down, some is growing. A lovely weekend hut.  We can already see Polava through the woods.  This bridge was crossed with ease.  The village Polava consists of a couple of interesting houses.  The praying flags let us know that this is the home of a buddhist center.  From Polava we go left towards Cepletischis. About 10 minutes.  In Cepletischis there is a church with a separate belltower.  A couple of meters past the church (on the picture left) the sign takes us towards Matajur and 1100 , of ascending.  This is the only marking for Via Alpina that an untrained eye wouldn't recognise it, since it is all washed away. The important thing is to follow path 736.  Through the village we go on sensations alone. There is a mark in the middle of the village that shows up, so we need to be cautious.  If we end up here, we need to go back a couple of meters and to the other side of the water stream.  It takes some imagination to see the markings. We were mad since the markings are missing on crucial points of the trail.  Since this weekend hosted the finale in ski jumping in Planica, we listened to the event on radio. This is the point when the last jump was made by Robert Kranjec in the length of 213 m and thus concluded his rich ski jumping carreer. Yup, 212 jumps over 200 m is nothing to sneaze at. Good job, Robi and thank you for all the wonderful moments! Of course we rooted for you even when the results weren't so great.  Up, up and up.  We follow the marks so that we don't miss the correct path to Matajur. This part is otherwise marked really well. 
About half way from the village below towards Matajur we started to feel tired, since we were already 7 hours on the way.  When we reach a certain altitude we can enjoy the curves of the environment.  On the lovely pasture we had our second snack stop, lying in the warm grass.  The climb is still steep. We don't know how far is still to the summit of Matajur, since we can't see it.  The path connects to a wider path that we follow for quite some time. In the summer it must be scorching hot, since we were quite warmed already in March.  Bojana's sophisticated cooling system  An interesting change of environment. Rocks.  Wow, what a view on the Slovene mountains. The most known of them all: Krn.  A close-up of Krn with no visitors.  The path curves towards the north-east part of the hill. The snow here really slows us down and drains our energy.  The observatory on Matajur.  Matajur isn't so far away, but it drags. About an hour of walking was still in front of us.  This building seemed familiar and we believe we passed it once in the past already.  The Kolovrat range and the resting place of our car. So far away!  Ascending Matajur. 
We reached the summit at two o'clock with 8.40 on the way, just 5 min less than in the guidebook.  Beautiful view of Slovene mountains.  Even more slovenian mountains.  Snow-capped Kanin range with the Kobariški stol range in front, crossed by the next stage of the yellow trail Via Alpina, marked B08. We don't know when and how we will plan it, since the conditions for planing becomes more difficult. Perhaps we will start walking from the valley and not from Matajur itself, or we leave the car below Matajur and go from there. The next trek is 10 hours long.  Good-natured about completing the stretch, but not the trek itself.  Dropping to the Slovene side towards village Avsa and Livek.  Matajur is already high above us.  Bojana on the way.  The steep roof of Krn.  Spring is in the air.  Kolovrat range.  The last picture from the trek. We have no idea what this sign is doing here, slightly above the village Avsa. We must confess that we met an acquaintance of ours a little above Avsa who picked us up and drove to our car, saving at least 2 hours of asphalt walking after 10 hours under our belt. The stretch was a little difficult, with all the ascending parts, but filled with environmental, architectural and historical delights.