White water in Slovenia

By Joanne Kuzma
This item appears on page 54 of the February 2013 issue.

For a variety of water-based activities, I took a trip to Slovenia, Aug. 12-19, 2012, with Exodus (In the US, contact Adventure Center, Emeryville, CA; 800/843-4272).

Our group of 16 flew from London Luton Airport to Ljubljana via Adria Airways. We did not arrive until midnight, then had a 2-hour drive to the Guesthouse Jazbec. With lovely rooms, this was a nice little guest house about a mile outside Kobarid.

Joanne Kuzma (front center) and group canyoning in Slovenia.

On Monday, our first activity was “tubing” down the Soča River. I had done some tame tubing in Belize but nothing like these rapids. We all had paddles and various tubes and did our best to avoid rocks and not tip over or run into each other, which happened often.

The neoprene wetsuits we wore covered our legs and torsos, but our arms were bare. As the water that week was 51°-54°F, I definitely felt it sting every time I got wet.

On Tuesday, after a lesson on how to paddle and capsize, we had kayaking all day. The rapids were thrilling and I managed not to fall over at all, but a lot of upper-body strength was needed.

Besides planned activities, we had options: advanced kayaking ($50), zipline ($60), high wire ($15), advanced canyoning ($100), horseback riding ($50), tandem paragliding ($140), hiking and more.

Looking back, the most difficult part of the activities was trying to get the wetsuits on. Another was carrying the kayaks, rafts and other equipment on very steep long walks to get in or out. It was exhausting. Each night our group had a dinner with huge portions.

Joanne Kuzma ziplining in Bovec, Slovenia.

Some of us went ziplining at a place just opened in July 2012 — four lines over 1.5 miles, with speeds of 25-37 mph. On the first and slowest line, I stopped about 10 feet before reaching the platform, so the poor guide had to come out and pull me (plus another zipliner after me) back in. But it was just so exhilarating zipping between mountains and trees — definitely an adrenaline rush!

Canyoning was my favorite activity. We walked through the river, jumped off small waterfalls and slid down rocks. It was slippery and took a bit of balance, especially in our neoprene shoes. Wearing full wetsuits, we did manage to stay rather warm in the freezing water.

Since I enjoyed the basic canyoning so much, I signed up for the advanced course, which was quite a step up in difficulty. There were few “slides” but five very high jumps from waterfalls as well as rappelling down slippery canyons. I managed all but the third jump, where the height didn’t bother me as much as jumping blind into a very narrow canyon space. If we did not manage a jump, the guide helped us rappel down the fall.

The last jump was 33 feet into the Kozjak Waterfall. There were families and children watching at the bottom, so I didn’t want to chicken out. I really pushed myself that day and it was an excellent way to end the week.

I flew from Luton, and the trip and flight cost $1,580 plus a single supplement of $150. I spent about $240 more on four optional activities plus more on tips to guides and staff. It was a wonderful, adrenline-packed week but definitely not one for the faint of heart!

Erie, PA