alpine canyoning – the wild side of slovenia’s pure nature

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‘Unforgettable views from our starting point high above the village’

The gift of adventure and new experiences will last a lifetime and expand the horizons and future travel ideas. Often it means stepping outside one’s comfort zone when trying out something new, but the outcome also can be rewarding, of new achievements.

‘Ready for new adventures [Photo courtesy of Ales Peklenik]
Personally, I’ve always been a bit of a careful person, avoiding rough waters, high, tight, dark places, the list goes. This past year has been a year of transformation for me with with two weeks without the rest of the family in India’s amazing Kerala, followed by exploring dark caves and mines and a hot air ballooning in Spain, whitewater rafting in Bosnia, bear watching, canyoning and treetop roping in Slovenia. And after every time I got bolder, more excited and more inspired to try out something new the next time.

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‘After a mountain-top drop-off we are eagerly heading to our starting point’

One of the best adventures of the year for me was trying canyoning in the pristine mountains of Slovenia – right by the gorgeous Lake Bohinj. It all took place on a perfect autumn day; an afternoon spent with a group of fun explorers, surrounded by breathtaking scenery (and followed by a nice spa session at the village hotel). The water was cool, but not cold and felt good as the 4-hour adventure included some pulse-raising sections!

Canyoning – the sport of jumping into a fast-flowing mountain stream and allowing oneself to be carried downstream at high speed.

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‘The start of the route – peeking down with shaky legs wondering if I could still turn around…’

Canyoning requires a bit of fitness, but it’s not as extreme or dangerous as it first looks like (you do need to know how to swim though, as you’ll plunging into small rock pools) – the company accept kids in the group from the age of 8 onwards. The bigger the group, the longer the ascend is going to take as security is foremost important during the activities.

So what can you expect from canyoning? There’ll be sliding, jumping (sometimes over a ledge into a blind spot), ascending with ropes, zip lines (depending on the course) and of course lots of water – getting wet, or rather being submerged completely into the refreshing pools!

‘Getting ready for the first slide… and I can second to the claim that it gets easier every time’

The technique really isn’t difficult – with the slides you need to keep your arms crossed to avoid hitting them on the sides and when jumping into the water knees need to remain bent in case you hit the bottom. Other than that, watch where you step and don’t hit your head in small spaces.

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‘Don’t look down is my advice! First section of a rope ascend being conquered’

The beginning is the toughest when you do your very first canyoning – you need to trust your guide, the ropes and yourself and just let it go. The first slide seemed so long and steep for me, but an adrenaline rush quickly takes over and leaves you wanting for more.

The rappelling with ropes is bit more challenging that indoors because the water makes some of the surfaces mossy, and therefore slippery, and you’ll end up in water every time when taking the ropes off – nevertheless it’s still tons of fun!

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‘The first brave volunteer for a fast slide down into a deep(ish) pool’

The biggest challenge for the group ended up being a sort of leap of faith into a rock pool – not because of the height but because you had to leap forward over a little ledge, meaning that one couldn’t quite see where to end up – and we were told to target more to the left where the water was deeper. In the end everyone managed to clear this hurdle with glowing honours…

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‘Some sections require using a bit tighter underpasses and caves’

Personally I’m not a huge fan of water unless it’s a hot bath and warm beach we are talking about, but considering the warm weather, the dives under water were rather refreshing and continuous moving down the mountain kept us warm all the way.

I was also initially concerned about my knees being able to handle the terrain, but I came out of the experience without any additional injuries, so all was well from injury point of view too.

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‘We’ve found a rest stop underneath a large boulder’

So what’s my final verdict? After the initial hesitation I absolutely loved this experience and would love to go again and bring my children also. Four hours went by quickly and at the end we were rewarded with a local blueberry schnapps and tasty biscuits.

You’ll feel the thrill of speed of the slides and the expectation of unknown, the ascend with ropes on slippery surfaces with water pouring on you – all senses just go on overdrive while enjoying the sunshine, fresh mountain air and the pure sounds of the nature.

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‘This time the smile is relaxed despite the steep decline’

The organizer, Sport4Fun in our case, normally will provide all the necessary wetsuit gear and helmets and will take photos of the group throughout (most images here courtesy of Sport4Fun also) the journey (don’t bring your phone, camera or other valuables, GoPro is of course ok) and provide the celebratory snacks too – all just for 79 euros for the long tour. This is pure fun surrounded by the pure nature!

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‘Canyoning is a perfect team exercise, as the group needs to work together with the ascends – and it’s also more fun to pose for the photos together too!’
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‘A leap of faith into a pool, especially when one gets instructions to target more to the left where it’s deeper. Still, lots of fun!’
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‘Smaller crevices and waist-height water. Smiles are getting broader as we approach the finish line’
‘Zip into the green water, under the boulder…’
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‘One more – the final push and dive awaits in a cave. Keep your arms together and aim to the right. Hmmm… how?’

If you have been canyoning I’d love to hear about your experience and get recommendations of places you loved, especially those surrounded by beautiful nature!

Disclosure: This experience was made possible by Sport4Fun and was part of the Pure Nature trip with Best Press Story. As always, all opinions expressed are my own. 

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