“Leanne, I need you to go first and hook us into the anchor at the bottom of the waterfall” said our guide. And just like that I had been appointed assistant canyoning guide for the day.
With temperatures in the high 30‘s and trudging uphill wearing just bathers, wetsuit booties and shoes, it was hard to believe that 30 minutes later we would be dressed in full wetsuits, preparing for a day of getting wet in the best possible way.
Lowering over the edge through a 50 metre waterfall into the turquoise blue pool below was just one part of a fantastic day that included sliding down natural rockslides into crystal clear pools. My rope skills and canyoning experience were put to good use as our group made our way down Fratarica Canyon in the Soca Valley, exhilarated by being in such a special place.
I am in Slovenia which is heaven for anyone into nature and outdoor activities and packs a mighty punch in a small area. Bordered by Italy, Hungary, Austria and Croatia, it is sparsely developed and populated compared to the rest of Europe and comes as a welcome change.
Best reached by car, the region is home to the Soca River, a beautiful 96km long turquoise river which is the cleanest and clearest I have seen anywhere in the world. Surrounded by the Julian Alps and Triglav National Park, it is just perfect for rafting, climbing, hiking, biking, canyoning or just lying in the sun by the river soaking in the fresh mountain air. At the height of the summer dry season, the river was low but just whet my appetite for how spectacular it would be after the snow melts.
My weather gods are getting a bit carried away with the sunshine and warmth. There are only so many clear, sunny 35+ degree days one can take in a row. Luckily a visit to the Skocjan Caves Regional Park provided a cool 12 degree break. The Skocjan Caves network is the biggest I have ever seen (11 caves) and with a huge underground river and canyon, the magnitude of the caverns was quite mind-blowing.
With so much more to explore in this beautiful country, I will happily continue to go first.