Gorge Zarica mystery – Today we are at the accumulation lake of the Mavčiče hydroelectric power plant. We will row from Mavčič towards Kranj. First across Lake Trboje, then through the gorge below the village of Jama to the widening of the valley at Breg ob Savi. We will end the trail in the gorge Zarica, where at 300 m above sea level grow flowers that grow only in the mountains, high above the forest border.
Gorge Zarica mystery
This inflatable kayak has been with us on our wanderings for many years. It works great as an auxiliary boat on a catamaran. It is also useful on rivers and lakes. Of course, this is not a wild water boat. At sea, it is flooded by a half-meter high wave. Also on the rivers. This boat is made for lakes and for calm waters.
The inflatable kayak is ready for rowing in 10 minutes. But you can also do it faster if you inflate it with an electric pump. Matjaz transformed the folding kayak oars into canoe oars. He made an extension out of cherry wood and attached it to a metal oar tube. He adjusted the length of the paddle to our heights. So now we each have our own paddle.
The boat is light. It weighs less than 20 kg, so it is easy to carry.
The Lake Trboje
Lake Trboje is located 15 km north of the Slovenian metropolis of Ljubljana in the direction of the city of Kranj.
They call the lake by several names. It is also called Mavcice Lake and Kranj Lake. It is most correctly called the “Accumulation Lake of the Mavčiče Hydroelectric Power Plant”. But, why complicate? We will also shorten the name and call it Lake Trboje.
The lake was formed in 1986 by damming the Sava River between the villages of Mavcice and Mose on the opposite bank.
There is almost no tourism on the lake. Near Trboje is a catering facility set in an idyllic environment of a steep bank. They offer drinks and sweets. However, their additional offer is gaining ground. Here you can rent a boat, sup or a small sailboat.
On the opposite side near the village of Mose, a log cabin built on the peninsula is known for its fried trout. The second log cabin is near the village of Breg. There is great cuisine there too.
That’s all. There is nothing else. The banks are steep and impassable. Access to water is only possible in a few places.
Lake Trboje has an area of 1 km2. It is up to 17 m deep. With the damming of the Sava river valley in 1986, the river rapids and wildlife of the Zarica gorge, the bridge, river gravels, fertile fields, and a football field were flooded.
What was it like before the damming of the Sava river
At one time, villages on both banks were connected by a bridge. People hung out, got married, had possessions on both banks. In 1986, everything changed. Now you are watching Moše across the water from Mavčiče. It is only 200m between the villages. But there is no connection. The bridges on one side or the other are several kilometers apart. That is why today people from both banks hardly know each other anymore.
Just as the landscape and living conditions for people have changed, so has the fauna and flora. Many things have disappeared, some have adapted, and much new has emerged.
Gorge Zarica mystery - 140 species of birds
Today, 140 species of birds nest by the lake. Among them also very rare. For example: here is the only known nesting site of the common merganser (Mergus merganser) in Slovenia.
The Zarica gorge is another special feature of that accumulation of the Sava river. Once a wild conglomerate gorge, impassable, full of rocks and river rapids, today it has become a flooded riverbed in which the water mass is slowly moving towards Mavčiče. All the beauty and charm of the former wilderness is gone. Only the upper part of the conglomerate precipices remained. Still 20m high.
Edelweiss at only 300 m above sea level
The Edelweiss (Leontopodium alpinum) is one of the most famous European mountain flowers. It grows in the raw rocky world at an altitude of 1500 to 3000m. This noble flower is considered a national symbol in Slovenia and other Alpine countries.
In the gorge Zarica Edelweiss grows at an altitude of 300m. Due to this special feature, Zarica is known as the lowest plantain habitat in Europe.
Edelweiss stems are up to 20 cm high. The sparse leaves are lanceolate in shape. They are greenish on the upper side and whitewashed on the lower side. The star flower has 5 to 8 small yellow flower heads. It blooms from June to September.
The Zois bellflower (Campanula zoysii) is a Slovenian endemic. Here, too, it is a high-altitude rose that grows only in the Julian and Kamnik-Savinja Alps. A smaller habitat in the Trnovo forest is also known. However, very few people know that Zois bellflower also adorns the precipices of the gorge Zarica mystery .
Walking paths above the Zarica gorge
Above the Zarice gorge between the villages of Breg and Kranj, footpaths run on both sides. On the west bank there is a well-kept and marked path, and on the east bank near the village of Hrastje there is a narrow forest belt between the gorge and the village interspersed with paths. There are no signs and signposts here.
The trail runs right at the edge of the gorge at all times. Due to the dense greenery, very little is seen in summer. So we went for this walk in the fall when the leaves had mostly fallen off.
It is only possible to get to the river in one place. Everywhere else the walls are impassable.
Although this beautiful piece of nature is located in the middle of urban surroundings, in the suburbs of Kranj, there are very few walkers. We didn’t meet anyone that day. We listened to the chirping of birds, the rustling of leaves, the sound of the wind… A real concert of magnificent nature…