To me, Kočevski Rog means a way to get in touch with my inner self. In the depths of these mighty woods, there are no irritating elements of the modern world. The GSM and therefore every internet signal is non-existent and there is no signal to be found in most places of the forest. And if there is any, it’s very bad. This can be a block in the road, or an opportunity. And me, I use this place to relax. To breathe. To gather my strength for my everyday activities. Even if I have to drive here for my job frequently, I never get bored of it. It is just so mysterious and it attracts you with all of its force. And in the seasons, the forest speaks to you in its own very special way. Even if you walk the same path each day, the road changes, every time. Luckily that is mostly because of other local inhabitants, such as bears, wolves and deer.
In the winter time, when many roads become impassable, covered in a thick layer of snow, you can smell the trees having a different aroma. You see different shapes, structures, which are hidden to the naked eye during spring and summer. Something similar that Natalie Fobes said for Alaska, I could say for Kočevski Rog: the memory will reside in one’s heart, even if you leave this place. I can feel this being true when returning from the many visits of the forest during my lifetime.
In the winter times, Stane and I like to visit the place a lot. We are hiking through the snow each and every time and observing the pure white beauty all around, how the first sunlight lets the snow fall from the heavy branches… They glisten like pearls, which are priceless in the given moment. And in the next, another site to see anew. In these brief moments we are truly aware of ourselves and the world around us.
We are following some bear footsteps along the way. These markings on the path followed us for nearly 60 km, which the forester Tone Prelesnik set up as a path. A very big man who I, even till this day, meet many times in his beloved Kočevski Rog.
Even when there is no need for the whole 60 km long walk of the path, there are still some places along the way that especially speak to you. And those are the places I like to return to. To the mighty 500 year old fir tree. To hear the beat of the prehistoric times. To meet myself.
Petra Draškovič Pelc
Born in the Slovene Štajerska, she chose to live in Kočevje and the mere thought of adventures in the wild nature of Alaska gets her heart racing like a wild animal. She enjoys silence, peace and the beauty of the light-flooded wilds of all the untouched corners of the world, as well as the beauty of her local Kočevje-area and Slovenia. She is an enthusiastic traveler, a curious admirer of nature, a tourist guide, author of countless articles in Slovenia as well as abroad and a doctor in biomedical science, who found her calling in (natural scientific) photography. Throughout her work with ARS NATURAE she tries to express love towards nature and its preservation.