02-May-2008 -- This is the 6th out of 7 confluence points that we visited during a week-end trip to Italy, Slovenia and Croatia. Story starts from 45°N 9°E.
We set off from 46°N 13°E at 4:50 pm without any haste. We would have 4 hours of daylight ahead – enough to cover 78 km by car. So we first filled our stomachs to get new energy for our last confluence that day. Then we crossed the border to Slovenia at Goriza. At the town Ajdovščina (12 km beeline from the confluence) we left the highway.
From Ajdovščina, our further progress towards the confluence turned out to be extremely slow. The rugged area has a couple of 1000 m altitude differences. The windy roads have many serpentines. At a village Črni Vrh I let Elionora (who was driving) take one of my famous “short cuts”. Taking this short cut we had only 7 km instead of 13 km to Idrija. Of course one should be alerted when the signposts are all directed towards the longer road. However, first we made good progress, but after we left the last village called Idrijski Log, the track was gravelled and not signposted anymore. Soon we found ourselves deep in the forest with various tracks going up- and down in various directions. GPS direction is not much of a help in such steep terrain. Over an hour we strayed around with Elionora getting angry about the navigator, which was myself.
When we finally reached Idrija town, it was half past seven. Now we had to hurry. In our hurry we did not take the optimal road out of Idrija town and ended in a dead end about 900 m beeline from the confluence. Instead of further driving around, I opted to start hiking from that place. Since we were not in the right valley, we first had to cross through a deep canyon. Meanwhile dark clouds brought us rain and early darkness. When we finally reached a point in 250 m distance where we had to leave the track and start climbing – the conditions for taking pictures where already too bad. So we had to quit.
We stayed the night in a guesthouse in Idrija – just 1.3 km from the confluence point. The next morning we set off again at 6 am. This time on foot. We took a little path up the ridge and climbed it all the way up to a height of 710 m. Then, we approached the confluence coming from the top – surely not the easiest route since the grade was very steep. The last track that we crossed was only 134 m from the confluence, but still 20 minutes of a challenging hike away.
The confluence itself is directly in a ravine. With both sides of it being steep and forested, the GPS reception is low. Our receiver let us fool around for half an hour until we finally got enough zeros lined up..
We left the spot by following the ravine further down, which was the by far easier route then the one we had come. In 350 m distance we got back to a road.
Idrija is a beautiful but remote town with a couple of attractions. First of all, it has been a centre of lace making for women. High above the old town stands out the majestic Gewerkenegg Castle. Inside, the renovated courtyard is ornamented with murals. It now accommodates the Idrija Muncipal Museum. Here you can find what the mining town Idrija is famous for: mercury ores. In fact you can see a steel ball floating in fluid mercury. And all this only 1.2 km from the confluence!
CP visit details:
- Time at the CP: 7:11 am
- Driving time: 3 hours 10 min
- Driving distance: 132 km
- Hiking time: 1 hour (one way)
- Hiking distance: 1.62 km (beeline)
- Distance to a road: 350 m
- Distance to a track: 134 m
- Distance to houses: 420 m
- Topography: steep grade, partially more then 45° grades, in a ravine, half way up at the south side of a ridge
- Minimal distance according to GPS: 0 m
- Position accuracy at the CP: 10 m
- GPS height: 523 m
- Vegetation: beech grove, lower layer covered with ramson (wild garlic)
- Weather: light rain, 12° C (felt temperature)
- Description of the CP: In Slovenia’s municipality Idrija, 1 km east of the same-named town. In the foothills of the Alps. Steep, forested terrain with a low population density.
- Given Name: The Lace and Mercury Confluence
Story continues at 45°N 15°E.