Next day I walked back down through the forest to the valley. Before I left the big party of young Italians from an alpine club set out. Deterred from the long high walk they had planned by the weather, they had spent the previous day inside, although it only rained in the morning. But today, early, off they went, they raised their sticks and shouted hurrah! hurrah! hurrah! And marched briskly off down the step path to Velo Polje. Their route would then take them up the valley and far away across a pass and higher again to another refuge. Their whole attention would be fixed on the trajectory of their journey, an hour for the valley, an hour for the scree, lunchtime in the middle of the day half way, eyes concentrating on feet, or a glance up to see how far to the horizon. Going quite fast over mountainous country you need to look at your feet nearly all the time. So that obviously has a big effect on what you see. When you stop for a moment, you look up and see a view, and take a quick snap. Would they stay in military file?
Before the forest came rocky slopes where Clematis alpina grew through Pinus mugo. They are both common in Slovenia at around 1400 to 1600 metres:
In the early afternoon it started raining again, really hard. In the forest I squeezed under a rocky ledge and lay there until big drips began to come through the cracked and porous limestone. The Italians would just have been at the highest, roughest part of their journey, unless they’d stormed on so fast they’d got past it. In the forest there grew what is called in French a ‘megaphorbiaie’, it would be a good word for gardens, meaning a place of tall herbaceous plants, sometimes found in the mountains where there are pockets of deeper soil which don’t dry out too fast, and shelter.
and right by the path a group of the amazing ladies’ slipper orchid, the sabot de Venus, the Frauenschuh, which is found here and there across the frontiers, all through the Alps: (there’s even one in Yorkshire, but it’s not happy)
And this delicate, starry saxifrage, and many umbellifers, my grip on names seem to be weakening:
Down in the valley on the edge of the village, at dusk, this wonderful helleborine:
Big swags of Clematis recta hanging from bushes:
So many different little worlds, and each one gets bigger and bigger when you look inside it. Sometimes my eye is taken by a flower and when I look through the lens of the camera I notice an insect which I hadn’t seen before. Sometimes it’s the same cunning yellow spider – this is in France: