High Chicken Summit / by Žiga Lovšin

There is a mountain is Slovenia that goes by the name Visoki Kurji vrh, which translates into High Chicken Summit. Isn’t it awesome? It’s situated in the Western Karawanks, between the villages Belca and Gozd Martuljek. It’s a wilderness with only unmarked paths crisscrossing the somewhat steep slopes.

When we drove towards the starting point we encountered a closed road due to a large rockfall. Not intimidated by it we left the car and went on by foot. As we came to the rockfall we spotted a small path in the forest. At first the slope was steep, but after roughly half an hour it became easier to walk. The path was visible most of the time, but in some places it just vanished. Well, going straight up the hill is always an option, but using an app like Europe 3D is even better. As expected, orientation was the only problem, though not a really difficult one. At least during the ascent. On the descent, however, we quickly made a false turn and almost went in the opposite direction. Realizing the error, we made our way back on track, mostly in moist slippery grass. The ridge between mounts Visoki Kurji vrh and Mojstrovica is deforested and offers great views upon Mt. Kepa, the third highest summit in the Karawanks. Further down we crossed a number of mountain streams and filled up our water bottles. As we came to the Belca stream, we were in for a surprise: the seemingly benign brook has a lot of big floodgates. Why? Sometimes the water flows in narrow deep canyons, sometimes in wide shallow river-beds, but as you’ll see, there isn’t a huge quantitiy of water there. Well, not right now. But during extensive rainfalls, the harmless creek turns into an unstoppable destructive force. Just earlier this year we’ve had some heavy storms that damaged mountain roads, probably also the one in the pictures below. Anyway, we made some bad decisions and had to cross the stream a couple of times … until I’ve had enough of it and just started walking in water. Mojca did the same. We also had to climb some wet and crumbling rocks, but eventually arrived in the valley, though a couple of hours later than planned.