Sunday, August 11, 2013

Gorenja Trebuša MTB

Western Slovenia has some of the prettiest, wildest scenery I've ever seen.  Trebuša valley east of Čepovan is a good example: scarcely populated, rugged mountainsides covered in spruce forest.  The back roads here are mostly dirt, with some exceptions.  Even in the height of tourist season there's hardly anyone here.

I drove very early to Tolmin on the Soča River.  Started warming up by riding my mountain bike to the lakeside town of Most na Soči, then at Postaja turned toward beautiful pastures of Čepovan.  This is a great starter climb, with a constant gradient gaining 470 meters in 13 km.  Here you turn left toward Dolenja Trebuša and the road turns to dirt before heading moderately upward.  At 761 meters you reach a small pass Preval Drnulk and then arrive at a spectacular panorama of the Gorenja Trebuša gorge and surrounding mountains.  It's a vertical drop with no handrails so be careful if you stop to look/take pictures.

Soon you reach a junction with one road going to Dolenja Trebuša to the north and the other down the gorge to Gorenja Trebuša.  I'd like to come back and try this Dolenja Trebuša because the map shows a paved road from there down the opposite side of the torrente.  That might be fun.  Instead I took the dirt road, which is slow but very pretty  At the bottom the road becomes paved, you cross a little bridge and  begin the big ascent, roughly 600 meters in 7 km up to Mrzla Rupa, most of it steepish dirt road.  It's nice and shady under big spruce trees though, so I just motored on up.  Here begins some level to rolling terrain, then you head steeply (around 11% average) up a nice paved road past Hudo Polje to ridgeline at 1227 meters.   The ridge is in gorgeous forest with views of the Julian Alps to the north, and a huge collapsed karst sinkhole that looks like an extinct volcano vent (Smrekova Draga).  Now you descend on dirt road to Mala Lazna, big wide meadows with picnic grounds, and a rifugio with Slovenian specialties.  

I got lost leaving here (saw a sign for Lokve but got confused which road it was referring to). So I rode about 5km down the wrong road, asked some guys and rode 5 km back to Mala Lazna.  Before I headed down the steep descent I double checked and asked some guys on horseback who confirmed it's the road to Lokve.   After plummeting down the dirt road to Lokve, I continued steeply down the dirt road to Čepovan.  From here a beautiful cruise down the paved road to Postaja, and a rolling stretch to Tolmin.  Fantastic ride- must go back and explore the area further.

Turn left here at Čepovan 
The panorama south from Preval Drnulk

The view northeast

Close up of northeast

Turn right here

Pretty farmhouse on pasture edge

Goats enjoying brunch

The ridgeline we'll be crossing in an hour or two 

Meadows to northeast

Torrente Trebuša at ponte 329m

At Mrzla Rupa, follow this sign

From the high ridge near Smerkova Draga (1236m) looking north


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