The Ever-changing Lake

Yes, we do visit the intermittent Lake Cerknica often. And for a good reason; it is one of the natural wonders of this part of Europe, and it’s a changeling. Every season – no, every month, every week, sometimes even during one day! – it shows a different face. A new, wondrous, unknown, beautful face.

The meanders of Stržen creek.

The northwestern part of the lake is where its waters finally touch the limestone rocks. Those are permeable, and here the lake goes underground in a typical karstic way, These kite aerial photos were shot at the Rešeto sinkholes area, where part of Stržen creek disappears only to emerge 20 km away (as the crow flies, much more as the proteus swims) in the springs of Mocilnik and Bistra on Ljubljana Marshes. The rest of it flows a bit further and sinks into Karlovica cave system and comes out in Rakov Škocjan.

Stržen entering the broad Rešeto sinkholes area. The sinkholes of Rešeto were dammed decades ago in a rather vain effort to stop the lake from disappearing completely and to “boost tourism”. Meddling in the Nature’s business never brings any good, and while the water stays here a little longer (sometimes even through the whole summer) which helps the fish population, it creates other problems that we are dealing with only now. But alas, swimming and boating is at least possible here in the height of the summer, when all the other parts of the lakebed are dry.

Boats parked on the shore of the last remaining substantial waters at Rešeto.

The dynamics of Lake Cerknica are complex. Slow flowing creeks meander through in the late spring and early autumn, only to be overwhelmed by autumn rains and spring snowmelt when the lake fills up. The rush of water is powerful enough to destroy the meanders, and when the lake is full everything is submerged and slowly silts up. So when the waters start to fall in the early summer, the creeks and rivers carve new meanders in the soft lake bed.

Three generations of meanders – the active one, the oxbow lake, the fossil one.

This constant metamorphosis of Lake Cerknica is amazing. So if you find yourself in Slovenia, it is really not to be missed. It doesn’t matter if it’s winter or summer, if it snows or it’s a rainy day … The vistas and the experience will be unique: when you come back again, the lake will be different.

The meanders of Stržen are full of yellow water-lilies (Nuphar lutea). All kite aerial photos shot with Canon A810 on a Rokkaku kite.

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