Last Day: Walk with us – Every step is a new beginning

Nobody likes Mondays, people!

Today our amazing journey has come to an end…

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As daylight peered in over the mountains, four tough (crazy) guys took a last morning swim in the gorgeous Soča, as the rest of the group was emerging from the tarps. We finished the leftovers at breakfast and for one last time all of us helped out in doing the dishes, breaking down the tarps and getting ready to spread out and travel back home.

 

 

 

 

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Then we had our departure ceremony. We looked back at our initial hopes and worries posters and reflected on how far we were able to fulfill our wishes and overcome our troubles.

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, we lined up with our sticks high up in the air and one by one we walked through this “roof” accompanied by the wolfpack’s howling. With our last wishes in our minds we poured some drops of our mixed river waters (from the 1st day’s water ceremony) into the Soča. For us, this is not a “goodbye!” but rather a “see you again!”. Stay wild ~ and keep walking!  😀

Day 12: the final steps

“Life is not so much about beginnings and endings as it is about going on and on and on. It is about muddling through the middle.”

And as the waters in the river muddle through, so did the riverwalkers through these two weeks. Together we have laughed, cried, pooped, walked and shared some most amazing things together. As you could read on our blog, you were also a part of what was happening on a daily basis.

So finally as all the good things end quickly, the riverwalk came to its end as well. And as Einstein said it;

“When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That’s relativity.”

The last day was similar with all the other days in Slovenia, namely, it started with rain. But as we have had the luck on our side throughout the whole journey, this day was no exception, the showers passed us by quickly.

After the breakfast, we decided to take a tour up to the Tolmin gorges. Which were gorgeous. We have seen the famous Bear Head rock and many of the tunnels and smaller rivers that make the place so special and beautiful. After a nice walk back to the campgrounds, we ate lunch and started the preparations for the final event.

The final ceremony took place at the main square in the city centre. We tried to attract the people’s attention by howling. Since Tolmin is not right the biggest city in Slovenia, and it is a Sunday, you can imagine that there were not quite that many passers-by. But, the riverwalkers we are, we cheered up those five people we meet, and we did the final symbolic 150m of the walk together.

We arrived at the square, where we had a small presentation of our project, which finished with a projection of the picture slides.

Afterwards we again proceeded to the campgrounds to make dinner.

The final night is yet to follow, and what interesting stories it will carry, you will find out in the next blog. But until then I am leaving you with a poem;

 

River’s waters are quite deep

In it, her flow brings us all together,

Very happy to present here our steps of a path quite steep,

Every time easy as a feather.

Really good friends by now,

With many adventurous stories ready,

All missing each other already,

Luckily, without knowing how,

Key to it all was the current that was always steady.

 

 

 

Day 10: Something fishy is going on here!?

After a night of storms we woke up and had a slow morning. This day our schedule was different from others as we started our day with a meeting with Gasper at the hydro powerplant Zadlascica. We had the pleasure to talk in person with the water scientist Dr. Crivelli who told us many interesting facts about the Marble Trout population in Zadlascica. We even saw his colleagues catching some specimen, and they explained the monitoring of the fish. Four lucky volunteers had a chance to learn how to catch a fish in the bucket and throw them into the river. The secret is that it has to be done smoothly, catching the head first. According to Dr. Crivelli the more frequent flooding occurring at the mentioned river is a frightening indicator of the ongoing progression of climate change.

After a power nap in the bus there was a pleasant surprise waiting for us in the camp. It had rained and all of our backpacks and personal belongings were wet. We continued our walking in a good spirit just when the clouds started forming dark shapes in the sky. The walk today was slow, the flat paved path took us through small villages and picturesque scenery of foggy hills. During the pilgrimage we stopped at the church where a famous Slovenian poet Simon Gregorcic is buried.

Our day is finishing in Camp Gabrje, with a nice background of music from the bar and a tasty smell of cooking dinner… now I have to go get some food! Mjammmi  (Yummy!)

We fell asleep under our dry tents to the sound of falling rain and thunder in the background.  Good night!

Day 9: Hiking along and across the Soča

Our day started with very wet weather. However, by now we were already really used to the fast weather changes here in Slovenia. Right after the cooking crew had finished the preparations for breakfast and people began filling their bowls with porridge, it literally rained cats and dogs. First, the farmer’s cat showed up and attracted the attention of most of us. Later, when the farmer came down to us and wished us farewell, her dog was eager to catch the stick. By then, the sun was finally out and we were ready to hike downstream along the Soča to Kobarid.

After a while the guiding group of the day asked the others to make an important decision. There were two options at hand: either proceeding on the marked trail or crossing the river in order to reach the bike trail on the other side of the Soča. Due to the very strong wishes for one or the other option, most of us took the risk and dared to cross the river in the Alaskian style. In groups of 4 or 5, the people used their hiking sticks to hold the balance while walking through the water. An amazing experience!!!

Later the two groups reunited at the bridge in Srpenica and had lunch at the gorgeous rock formations in Trnovo. The turquoise water combined with the big rocks and the sandy beach kept us busy, even during the break 😀 Finally, the group reached Kobarid without any problems and once the tarps were put up and dinner was ready, the next thunderstorm came down on us. Anyways, we work well together!!!

Day 8 we all live in a yellow submarine

The morning awaits us without rain, the hope to get sunshine soon and a nice breakfast gathering. Our wild camping ground offers us a lot of benefits and also some complications. Some got the chance to ride the horses nearby our place and therefore had a really great start of the day. But wild camping also made us thinking about our basic needs. For example: getting water from the river for twenty people, or what to without the toilet.

 We were all looking forward to kayaking and being on the river. So we were picked up by a bus, that brought us to the river Soča. After a quick safety introducion we all jumped in our power ranger outfits and a few minutes later we were on the river. Some of us also made the great experience to be in the river. UPPALA 🙂 Especially the italians wanted to make this experience.

After returning to the camping place we were surprised by the rain, but that didn’t stop us from flyfishing in the fog. We had caught some fish, but we threw them back so that they could enjoy the river. In the evening, after a huge dinner we played a nice game. Because: all you need is love, ta ta tarata ta…

And it goes like this: one started with the energyball, where passing it to somebody else and saying something nice to him/her or something that makes this person special.

And now: everybody sing a song, duda duda dei… 🙂

 

And also: Good night, buona notte, lahko noč and gute Nacht!

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Day 7 goodbye Italy, hello Slovenia!

Today’s hike also took place following the street. Now we know what a pleasure there is walking on the forest paths, covered with stones and leaves. But the distance we had to cover (at least 8km) wasn’t too long and we took a long break at Učja river. The river flows into the Soča River and is actually threatened by a hydropower plant. We talked about politics and how to raise the awareness about the smaller stream which is not really useable for tourism because of its deep and shaded canyon. (Maybe you’ve got some good ideas?!)

After a short workshop how to work with the press, we arrived at the Soča river and our campsidt for the next 2 days. In the afternoon we had some free time (which was really needed) to go swimming, do a group massage and get to the only bar in the small village Žaga.

During supper we could already see the lightning and the thunderstorm and it arrived exactly after finishing eating. That caused a nice, warm and tight sit in the tarptents. Afterwards we had a good “council” listening circle which connected us as a group even more.

So we managed the “humpday” (the most challenging day for groups, Nate said) perfectly and went satisfied to bed.

 

Day 6 walking and waiting

 

After spending a very nice and comfortable sleep at the ex – military quarters, we kept the military spirit and woke up at 6:00. We had a long day in front of us. Eating our breakfast and warming up, we successfully left the military quarters at 8:00. Our walk mostly took place on a road, which we had to share with ocasionally passing cars, which resulted in our screaming to each other: ‘car!’ Which reminded me of the hals candies where the main star screams ‘hals!’ after eating a hals bonbon.

Surprisingly enough we reached our goal one hour faster than we estimated. This resulted in waiting for the van which held all the food needed for lunch. While waiting, we played a funny hide and seek game, which resulted in us running across the street and crouching down to the ground. This seemed quite funny to the motorbikers passing by up to the point where they stopped to grasp the meaning of the game. Which they did. In the end.

Afterwards we had a lovely lunch of some broken tortillas, beans, smoked tofu and cheese. After that we proceeded to our final destination, which was reached in late afternoon hours. There we found the car nicely parked very close to the river. Almost in the river actually.

We also discovered that the camp ground was quite wet. And stoney. But in the end we all squeezed inside.

Before we went to sleep we made an epic campfire, where we sang campfire songs and played the Werewolf game. But more about the game next time… it’s quite late and watery here. Nighty night folks.