Still full of memories from our last – Sage hike, which happened only a week before, we again took a trip to Kras on Sunday 14th, 2019, but this time somewhat lower. We joined an organized Traditional hike along the abyss of river Reka, which this year was already 24th in a row.

Beautiful landscape of Karst! — Travel-Slovenia

The map of the hike

The path took us to a small village named Matavun, if we are precise, to its beginning. The entire route of the hike runs along with the Regional Park Škocjan caves, which is very diverse. This hike was individual, so each hiker could start upon arrival. The start of the hike was foreseen between 8. and 12. a.m.. As there was not much space for parking at the beginning of the hike, the organizer redirected all the visitors to a parking lot in business zone Risnik, from where a small bus drove us to the starting point and at the end took us back from the village Matavun. A nice gesture from the organizer was that they did not forget about four-legged friends, who could join the ride on the bus.

Slovene version

The contribution for the hike was 4 euro for adults and 2 euro for children. The contribution included insurance of the hikers and tea along the way. The entire hike was well marked, around 10 kilometers long, which took us for hours to complete, including all the stops and sightseeing along the path.

Once we got out of the bus, the first thing we saw was the map of the entire hike, which was kind of special surprise, as until now we have not noticed that in previous hikes. When we arrived, there were not many hikers yet, but slowly they started gathering and more have come when we started our hike. At the starting point, we got some snacks, and as always, almost required aperitif. After we paid our contribution we continued along macadam road, and soon some ascend awaited us towards village Dane. The only thing that disturbed us at the beginning was that there was no toilet, as our hike started 2 hours before with a start from Ljubljana.

Time to go

Once we reached the top of the road, the sign directed us left on meadow towards the forest, where we followed a narrow path, which runs along the edge of collapse valley Sokolak. Soon we reached lookout point with a beautiful view on surroundings, we saw village Matavun, Škocjan and at the back Gradišče and Brežec. Further at the back, we saw elevations Čebulovica, Nanos and Vremščica. At this point, the organizer placed a transparent, which helped us define what we see. Once we have taken in all the view, we continued along the path, which later changed to a wider karstic road between lower stoned walls.

Soon we reached the village Naklo, where we had to cross the road, the path leads us through the village and back to the forest. At the descend after the village Naklo we could hear the sounds of the river Reka in the distance. Somewhat lower, we saw it. We followed the river towards the remains of the old mill “U Uknah”. There are two more mills along the river, “U malni” and “U Loki”.

The old mill “U Uknah”

River Reka originates at the foot of Snežnik and runs on the surface for 55 kilometers, but when it reaches Karst it starts to deepen its riverbed and disappears in Škocjan Caves. The valley of Reka, in the part where we also walked, they also named “valley of mills” and as already mentioned, there is not much preserved.

At the remains of the mill, the path slightly ascends, towards the first abyss of Reka into Mahorčičeva cave. We could see the part of this cave, and here was also a first control point, where we got our first stamp. The view towards the cave was beautiful, the cave definitely hides more beauties in the dark. After the short stop, we continued on a steeper part of the route, which leads out of the cave. With that, we crossed the river and continued along its right bank towards the stream.

Along the path, we could see more remains of the mills, which used to work here. Slightly lower along the path we saw improvised volleyball court. Soon, a steep ascend awaited us towards plain below Vremščica, named Gabrk. Somewhat in the middle of the ascend was another lookout point, with a beautiful view on the valley of river Reka and slightly higher located village Gradišče.

There was some more ascend in front of us, and at the top, the path turned right along the pasture. After a longer walk, we reached the remains of the castle Školj, which stands above steep cliffs of the canyon. Once we came to the castle, we steep through what was most likely the main gate on the courtyard of the castle. We took a short break, eat something and drink water. After this short break, we continued along the arranged path. Just a few meters away from the castle we could see a sprout.

The tower

Along the way, we meet a dog (Karst shepherd), who watched all the hikers with a watchful eye, while passing his pasture. Further, up the road, we saw a hunting observatory, and here a sign directed us on left into oak and pine forest towards village Brežec, where a banquet awaited us with hot tea, aperitif, and potato. We could choose from boiled or fried potato. The organizer also placed some benches and tables, so the hikers could sit down and eat in peace and rest a bit.

Karst shepherd

Short descent towards narrow valley Dol awaited us behind the village, pass the lavender plantation, and then ascend towards the village Gradišče. At the church of Saint Helen, there was a second control point. The church is known by its frescoes, which were painted by Janez from Kastava, more known after Hrastovlje frescoes – Dead dance. Few minutes of walk from the church was another lookout point, which we visited and a beautiful view opened on surroundings. After village Gradišče we had the final stage of our hike towards the finish.

After the village, a steep descent followed towards the Big valley, which is the biggest active collapse valley on Karst. Its height exceeds the height of Cheop’s pyramids (148 meters) and is 164 meters. After followed the descent into the valley, crossing the Big and Small valley. After admiring of the caves and hollows, which were made by the river we came to the big stairs. While ascending we felt like Frodo, Samuel, and Gollum only that on top no mysterious cave awaited us, but a beautiful view back on the Small valley.

The stairs

Afterward, we reached the village of Betanja. We stopped at gallery Pr’ K’ščaki, where we saw the exhibition of Cveto Vidovič. When finished, we continued along the road all the way to finish in the village Škocjan. At the finish line, we registered and then walked around the stands in the center of the village. The ensemble Lisjaki took care for good music. We sat in front of the church, took some time to rest, meanwhile we watched how other hikers walked their final meters.

After a short break, a walk towards the neighboring village Matavun awaited us, which we also viewed and photographed. Afterward, it was time to head home. Right at that time a bus came, which took us back to the parking lot. Followed by the drive towards home and with that, we completed our day.

Matavun village

The entire hike was well organized and prepared; signs along the path were places suitable so that no hikers could get lost. We had great weather, and was perfect for a hike like this and to see karst caves and hollows and once again to admire Karst landscape. The hike was in every perspective nice and day definitely well-spent. Only nice memories remain about this beautiful region, and with that, we finished another story, which we had to share.

As usual, we invite you to see the entire route of the hike on Sports-Tracker, to see photos below, share this post or follow our new photo impressions on Instagram. We would be grateful for any share of this or other posts.

Travel-Slovenia | Ultimate travel guide for Slovenia | www.travel-slovenia.si/


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