Sunday, September 22, 2013

Planina Zaprikraj MTB

A couple of years ago I reached the summit of Kolovrat and ogled the luscious Soča  River valley.  I noticed a beautiful church half way up a mountain above Kobarid and always have wanted to go visit.  Today was my chance.

I drove to Ponte San Quirino in Val Natisone and biked across the Slovenian border to Kobarid.  Immediately after you cross the Soča on Ponte di Napoleone turn left and head up hill.  This is a wide smooth road with well-engineered switchbacks for an easy gradient.  At 530 meters you reach the little town of Drežnica with its spectacular church, Sacro Cuore.  Somehow this escaped the artillery bombardments from both sides during World War I.  After crossing a forested ridge you enter a gorgeous grassy meadowland surrounding the village Drežniške Ravne around 600 meters.   Take a right onto the road marked Planina Predolina.

This is a narrow paved road and quite steep.  It reminded me of the road from cimitero di Mezzomonte to Col de Palse.  The difference being the pavement here ends at 700-800 meters, and you're climbing a dirt road.  Not too bad because any time the gradient gets up over 10% they've concreted the road so you have few traction problems.  When I say over 10% sometimes it's way over, like 16-17%.  I stayed seated on almost all of this thanks to the easy mountain bike gearing.

Finally around 1100 meters the dirt road levels out some.  You cross through a gate, then cruise downhill over a cattle grate near a farm.  A hiking path to the left goes to Krasji Vhr, 1773 meters.  The right road goes up and to the left above the farm, through a gate, then continues to Planina Zaprikraj around 1250 meters, and further down to Planina Predolina at 1190 meters. These are meadowy areas with many World War I ruins.  I saw a tunnel entrance and some very cool trench type fortifications.  They were a bit dark for my camera so please look at the professional pics at .

The ride back downhill was quite fun.  Disc brakes are excellent- maybe I'll get them on my next road bike (in the year 2020).  Kobarid was pretty crowded with tourists now but I eventually made it through there.  Then a good "cool down" on the road back through Val Natisone.  I want to return here soon and try some variations of this ride.

Sacro Cuore at Drežnica 

Close-up Sacro Cuore

Hay drying rack at Drežniške Ravne

Meadows around Drežniške Ravne

Looking back at  some of th grasslands I crossed on the climb,
with mountains across Soča River in background

Adorable baby asino at 1000 meters 

Friendly dark chocolate horse sharing her paddock with asini

High up the slope a flock of grazing sheep

The farm on the way to Planina Zaprikraj

Monte Krn (2244m) above on the right

Planina Predolina, with Monte Javoršček (1557m)

Cappelletto with musical staff showing the tune to the hymn

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