Yellow bellies

We left our campsite this morning at around 10, and drove off from Podbela to Breginj. In Breginj there were several marked parking lots, from where you could hike up the summit of Mt. Stol. We didn’t need to summit. My only goal today was to reach the treeline. Above the treeline is where my beloved vipers live. Above the treeline is where I want to be.

I think we parked at 11am, just below 600m asl. near a little church. From there, we decided to hike and aim for the treeline.

In the first three minutes, I found some yellow bellied toads (Bombina variegata). Very cool. I had never seen them before, even though they should occur close to home. About five minutes later we spotted a whip snake (Hierophis viridoflavus). These awesome large pitch black snakes are almost always too fast to grab your camera, so you’ll have to look back in this post to see a crappy picture.

About four hours of hiking later, we were getting awfully close to the treeline. I could see it at Google maps, being about 50 horizontal meters away. Unfortunately they also probably meant at least twice that in vertical meters, and we had reached what seemed to be the end of the path. We would have to Bear Grylls this one if we wanted to reach the open mountain slopes. It was clear that we would not reach the treeline. Not today. We were also completely exhausted from four hours of struggle. The hike up was alright. It was the kids that made it slow, even when they behaved like little angels almost the whole time. I’m also noticing that the 18 kilos of kiddo on my back are not making it any easier. I guess I’m getting old after all.

Of course, we didn’t see a snake after the first five minutes of the hike, nor any other interesting animals, but at least the views were nice.

The goal was clear in sight. We never made it.

The hike down was much faster. After a little over an hour of descent we had a nice ice coffee in Breginj, and were ready to go back to our site for the night in Podbela.

Very cool little bar in Breginj. Recommended.

Published by Robin Heinen

Father of two | Husband | Entomologist and Ecologist | Postdoctoral Researcher @ TUM | Traveler | Coffee Addict

2 thoughts on “Yellow bellies

  1. We use Organic Maps because it is designed for walkers and cyclists. But I totally sympathise. We’ve experienced this sort of set back in the Pyrenees. And we are a lot older and fatter than you two 🙂 but not having to worry about littlies. We had to carry a lot of water though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We’re also considering alternatives like maps me, but haven’t really made the leap just yet. Water was another limiting factor – we never carry enough, even if we do.


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