One of my favorite all time quotes comes from a Wildland Adventures Alumni in regards to her family's summer hut-to-hut trek in Slovenia:
"The beauty of the Julian Alps is amazing as well as the Soča Valley. We loved the fact that one day we didn't pass anyone on the trail for hours until we got to the cows and summer cabins. We are always looking for trips less traveled. We all vowed, though, not to tell too many people about Slovenia. It is perfect the way it is."
"We are always looking for trips less traveled." Indeed, aren't we all? When you combine a high alpine trail with rugged peaks piercing a bluebird sky, emerald green valleys framing a turquoise river – the beautiful Soča – it just doesn't get any better. In this "wired" age of constant connectivity, constant incoming information and dissonance, many of us are left feeling more isolated and more fragmented than ever before. Perhaps the obvious cure lies in hiking those wide open trails to the soundtrack of cow bells and the occasional shepherd or farmer in his/her field. That simple act feels somehow MORE in tune, MORE connected with the planet and our place in it.
This same family, on a modified version of our Hut to Hut Trek, celebrated their completion of the trek with a rafting adventure down the Class III-IV Soča River, something they had set as a challenge for the two sons, ages 14 & 17. Finishing that challenge led one of the sons to proclaim "It was one of our all time favorite trips." That, to me, is ultimately successful "Adventure Therapy," the kind that will carry over, propelling this young man to his next challenge, whatever it may be.
When I visited Slovenia in March/April of 2018, I found myself constantly agape…the spectacular beauty was overwhelming, as if I couldn't really process what I was seeing, from the immense, snow-capped mountains to the tiniest, most perfect primrose. It's an exhilarating, dizzying feeling that has nothing to do with altitude! The citizens of this lovely country seem to understand that very well and a quiet pride and welcoming smile greet visitors at every turn. The landscape invites those visitors to unplug their cell phones, breath in the pure alpine air, listen to the cowbells and the buzzing of honeybees returning to their brightly painted hive boxes in the warm sunshine. It's a reminder from every direction that we fit very well – indeed, we belong – in this natural world. It's the best "therapy" we can hope for.