words: Carmen Kuntz
photos: Rok Rozman

In Slovenia, we are spoiled. We are used to paddling on water so clear you can see the bottom of the river or sea. But looking down and seeing dandelions, clover, and grass dancing in the current… is a whole new water world to discover.

This is an intermittent lake, a rare phenomenon worldwide, but a common occurrence in Slovenia. This isn’t a flood event or any reason to panic. This happens a couple of times a year when the underwater aquifers fill up and overflow, covering the farm fields with a layer of clear, clean spring water. Locals have been living with these hide-and-seek lakes for centuries, and they are wise. They don’t live too close to the ‘lake’ even when it’s just green grass. And they pay close attention to Mother Nature’s cues and get livestock and tractors off the fields before they fill up with water.

Fall in Slovenia is always rainy, and this year we decided to leave the swollen Soča for an afternoon and get to know these wild little lakes. Planinsko Polje is located near the village of Unec, about a 30-minute drive southwest of Ljubljana. Her sister lake is much more famous, called Lake Cerknica, but we were drawn in by the beauty of the sun bouncing off the smaller Planinsko Polje and the Unica River that gets lost in the lake’s volume and decided to save Cerknica for another day.

We put on and found the flow of the river by following the direction of the grass flowing under our boats. Drifting over wildflowers, cow patties, and farm fences, we got caught in the current and drifted along, stopping to explore all the little bays along the way.

We were bird-watching from under raincoat hoods. Sipping tea from a thermos while floating under massive oak trees. And paddling over gravel roads – we had full freedom to drift wherever we wanted.

It was an afternoon spent reiterating the freedom a kayak and paddle gives us and served as an aquatic reminder to take time to explore water, in all her moods and forms. In all weather and seasons. Flat, flowing and everything in between.

Carmen and Rok are both pictured here paddling the P&H Leo; at 16′ in length, it’s an excellent choice for such inland waterway adventures.