Friday, 14 June 2013

Wonderful Nature of Pohorje

It was sunny Sunday, perfect for one day trip in the region of the Natural Park Pohorje. In the shadows of hundred old trees Lobnica stream runs through the center of the Pohorje primeval forest. Until the mid-19th century this area was unspoiled by human acts; now on 19 hectares beech, pine and fir trees found their secret refuge. The slopes are quite steep, in some places almost impassable and here some rare plants found their secret habitats. If the path takes you to Maribor you certainly should make a trip to canyon Lobnica where two picturesque waterfalls, Small and Big Šumik, will enchant you. From the direction of Maribor head along the river Drava valley to Ruše then head towards Smolnik. The last part of the macadam road is quite bumpy; however, you can choose to go through Hoče up to Areh, from where there leads a local path to Šumik.

Born and raised in Maribor it is almost a sin I’ve never visited one of the pearls of Pohorje. It is just 20 minutes’ walk from the parking lot through densely planted beech trees that raises high towards the sky. Jet, if you want to reach one of the most beautiful waterfalls, you definitely need suitable footwear as the path is quite dangerous. I’ve heard people talking how scared they were descending the rungs and walking on narrow path next to precipice. I never thought Pohorje hides such difficult pathways. But it does. However, it is worth all the way. The stunning surrounding nature, the rare sunbeams that breaks through dense treetops and light cold breeze that comes from the humming stream Lobnica captivates everyone with its beauty. After a challenging forest path, where first you have to cross over the stream by jumping on few stones that are jutting from the rushing water, you reach first and one of the mightiest waterfalls – Big (Veliki) Šumik. Water falls down numerous plaques that were formed after the tectonic break. Just a little further on is waterfall Small (Mali) Šumik.

For the ones who love hiking in embrace of a forest, the path that leads to another marvel in Pohorje is just perfect. From where you’ve parked your car to see waterfalls you can take another forest path that will lead you to Black Lake (Črno jezero). Through the tunnels of like an arrow straight deciduous trees, across the clearings in the middle of the woods, along many anthills you will in the distance notice shimmering lake. Two hour walk in the shades of forest is a nice way to escape summer heat. And the lake…the lake is magnificent. Unique ecosystem of high peat bog gives to water a specific black color. At the bottom of a Black Lake have organic waste accumulated for a centuries and eventually created a thick layer of silt that is almost black. The lake therefore looks as if it was filled with the ink, although the water is crystal clean. It is a great picnic site, so do not forget a blanket. 

As it is with almost every nature wonder that enchants the locals, there are also many wonderful folk tales regarding the creation of the lake. However, the true story is that the Count Windischgraetz, the owner of the greater part of the Pohorje forests, made a dam more than 150 years ago and thus create an artificial lake to harvest timber in the valley. 

If you prefer not to walk too much you can reach the lake also from Osankarica or Trije Kralji. For all nature lovers I advise to book Youth Hostel Videc that is situated 1050 m above sea level, in the hotel-apartment settlement Bolfenk on Maribor Pohorje. It is excellent starting point for numerous hiking tracks all around beautiful Pohorje. However, at the foot of Pohorje Youth Hostel Mlada lipa is situated.  Just five minutes’ walk up to foothills of Pohorje hill and ten minutes’ drive to the city center is perfect location for all travelers that like to sit down after the sunset and have a drink in the bustling streets of the town core. 

Anja Turk

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