We asked Kit and Court Richards, longtime Zephyr alums and very experienced hikers, to give “real” answers to some of the most frequently-asked questions we have been getting about our Slovenia: Julian Alps Trek. Kit and Court live in Red Lodge, where Zephyr is headquartered, and did a Julian Alps trek last September in some of the same areas we will be trekking in 2018.
We have some people concerned about the idea of shared rooms in our mountain huts for three nights (our dorm rooms will have two to six bunks in them). What was your experience like?
Kit & Court: In our case, they were much nicer than we expected and were newer than huts we have stayed in on other European treks we have done. Linens and blankets were included, although we brought our sleep sacks with us. If one is modest, it isn’t a problem to change into your sleeping clothes in the bathroom. If one is a light sleeper, we recommend earplugs. All in all, in our opinion, these are potential minor inconveniences for being able to be in fantastic places!
How are the meals in the mountain huts?
Kti & Court: Not gourmet, but certainly filling, hearty and adequate to fuel our active days. Soups, spaghetti, stews, and even desserts, were common. Usually beer and wine were available as well, which was an unexpected bonus.
You did a trek similar to ours last year, also in September. How was the weather?
Kit & Court: It varied. At higher elevations we ran into wild weather with very high winds, rain and sleet. But we also had beautiful sunny days. It was chilly in the evenings, but not bitter. As we descended, the weather was warmer, but it was definitely Fall. We recall that we didn’t wear shorts much during the trip and warmer running tights were well-used. Layers worked well! It was cold enough we wore long underwear to bed some nights. Other nights, gym shorts and a t-shirt worked fine.
You’ve also done Kilimanjaro, the Inca Trail and the Patagonia “W” trek. How does this trek compare in terms of difficulty level?
Kit & Court: It is hard to compare, but certainly not any more difficult. Altitude isn’t an issue here and elevation gains are perhaps not as dramatic. Trails were well-marked. But that isn’t to say this is an easy trek – these are good mountain hikes, and not without challenges. There were a couple difficult spots where cables are bolted in the mountainside to assist or steps carved into the rock. The terrain at the higher elevation was exposed limestone which can be rough and slippery if wet.
What did you need to carry with you each day in your backpack?
Kit & Court: Rain gear, extra layers for warmth, camera, lunch or snacks, toiletries, hat and gloves, tights to hike in and sleep in, a couple extra shirts. We wore the same clothes every day.
What was your overall impression of trekking in the Julian Alps?
Kit & Court: Wonderful hiking in the high country. The views were magnificent and the terrain was wild and rugged. At lower elevations the trails were just beautiful. Up high was like a moonscape, which has its own beauty. It was also very compact; Slovenia is a small country and the Julian Alps are a small mountain range so in that respect it was very different from other places we have trekked in Europe.
Any advice for someone considering joining our Slovenia trek?
Kit & Court: Go!!! The Julian Alps are not terribly crowded and are a stunning mountain range. Slovenia is magical – everyone is extremely friendly, helpful, and they love to speak English. Oh, and we recommend bringing trekking poles for hikes like these!
Kit says she is happy to speak with anybody who wants a bit more information about the Julian Alps or about traveling with Zephyr. Contact us at Zephyr and we can put you in touch.