Aug 15, 2013

Bulgaria - The weather in the montain is female or trip to Botev peak

As you might have noticed in the last couple of months I have barely posted anything. Here are some of the reasons, if not all of them. First, the protests against the current Bulgarian government started, and although I was regularly participating in the beginning, I admit that now I go rarely. Second, I started researching about my upcoming trip to Africa (there are less than two months remaining, as of 15.08.2013). Third, I started to prepare myself for part of my African adventure, and more specifically the Kilimanjaro climb by trekking the Bulgarian mountains, which in the best case are two times lower, but still it is some kind of preparation. You can expect in the next posts mainly mountain sceneries. Fourth, my summer laziness has started, not that I have categorized the different kinds of laziness I get, as all of them are the same, but the current one reveals itself in the summer. Fifth, I started, not that I have stopped, to read more. Everybody needs time off my writings, even I. Sixth, I don't want to make up any more reasons.

After I explained why I didn't post lately, let me explain the title of the post, before somebody takes it seriously. In my opinion, generalizing is always wrong (although, what I am doing just now is generalizing as well, but I use it to explain why it is not good to generalize), that's why I hope that the ladies won't be offended by the title, but rather will think "hm, I understand what he means, it had happened before once or twice or N times to change my mind a couple of times over a day. The guys will probably agree with the title (new generalization), but nobody asks their opinion. Not, that somebody asks me, but either way I am sharing it. And the experienced mountaineers will probably say that the weather in the mountain is mountain weather – rapidly changing.

After this not so short justification it is time to say something about Botev peak (2,376 m./7,795 ft., named after one of the most famous Bulgarian revolutionaries), which supposedly is the subject of this post. I guess. For the non-Bulgarian followers of my blog, here is some info about it.
Even the sunrays point at it
The flowers are here so that I collect some of their pollen and fly away like a bee. (It seems that I may have collected something with alcohol in it)

Stara planina or the Balkans mountain, which although is the largest one in Bulgaria, is among the ones that I have rarely visited. Some years ago I was close to Botev peak, when we trekked to the nearby highest Bulgarian waterfall, the Raiskoto praskalo (or the Paradise waterfall) and the Rai hut (or Paradise hut), but we didn't try to climb it. Some day I will show you those pictures as well. I and two of my friends organized quickly and on the appointed day at about 11 o'clock we are standing at our starting point, the Mazaneto area. Kind of late, but nevertheless we are determined to do it. While we are walking on the forest path to Pleven hut, which takes 45-60 min to reach, I am trying to get used to my just bought walking poles, as well as to get along with them while I shoot with my camera or when it just hangs around my neck. Probably if you look at me, it will seem as I am controlled by a clumsy and uncertain of his actions puppet master, as I constantly rattle with the poles and when I try taking a photo they are always in my way, limiting the movement of my hands. We reach the Pleven hut all in a sweat, as the weather is extremely sunny, without a single cloud and as we have prepared for being cold at the peak. I wear long trousers, some thick wool socks, high trekking shoes and three layers of clothes north of my waist. The hoodie and the track jacket are sent around my waist, over my elastic belt, which I wear because of my waist problems, and the sauna is guaranteed for me. While we reorganize our clothing we chat with a nice young lady, who gives us some useful advices regarding the route, since she is coming from Botev peak.
Another faraway picture of the peak
It is good to look at it and remember it, so we won't get mistaken and climb another one.
And a nice panorama
Enveloping our route.

We start again slowly, so I can take a picture of every flower around.
Pleven Hut
The mountain rescue office
Time for break (but not for us)

We climb the second uphill section (the first being the path to Pleven hut), which is a ski track and get surprised by the "no entry for vehicles or something like that, not something like vehicles, but similar to that meaning" traffic sign, which waits for us at the upper end of the track. I shoot other representatives of the flora, since there is nobody from the fauna, it's only us, but we are not local species.
The ski track next to Pleven hut

We look to the left, then to the right to be sure that we won't get run over by some vehicle that should not enter according to the sign and continue walking through a pleasant, broad-leaved or deciduous forest (now I sound like David Attenborough, I like when he says "virgin conifer woods"), which is called Murgata area (long live the (don't try to read the name of the area, even in Bulgarian it sounds strange and I have no idea what it means). And if this is not the Murgata area, "short" live the or at least someone fix it. According to the same Wikimapia after the forest we are passing through the Peshtta area (or Furnace area), after which somebody got lazy and stopped naming the areas.
Flowers for Botev

Entering in unchartered territories, we follow the nice path or more like we make a nice path, because we are the first to go around. We refuse to name them letting somebody else do the hard work. We discover unknown lands and then we cover them back with the veil of lack of knowledge. I have taken myself very seriously. We cross several gullies who still keep the memories of the past winter. (I won't tell you what these memories are.) (I couldn't refrain myself: look at the pictures.)
Rivers of snow 1
Here, we notice that somebody has changed his/her opinion and has started gathering clouds behind our backs.
Rivers of snow 2
For the fans of Game of thrones and the other books from the series, who remember the Red, Blue and Green forks, well, this is the White fork.

We discover a waterfall, which nobody has named (you know where) and which is not the nearby Vidimsko praskalo waterfall, but is beautiful enough to rest, while enjoying it. While I look for the proper place to take a picture, I drop my lens hood and as I watch it going down (like Frodo watches Gollum going down whit ze Ring), I manage to exclaim the typical Bulgarian "opa" (which is "oops", but we use it mostly for "sorry"), to curse at my dexterity and to accept the loss, and all of that in a single second. Luckily, the hood gets stuck in some conifer bushes and I rescue it. We are all happy of the reunion and celebrate it with mineral water, soleti or salt sticks and dates. What a feast.
The waterfall, which is not the Vidimsko praskalo waterfall
Here, we can see that clouds are gathering in front of us, as well, as if they are trying to surround us. (like a 7.1 Dolby Surround Sound System, for example)
Hidden advertisement of mineral water and even more hidden advertisement of salt sticks
The dates are not advertised as they are long assimilated by the advertisers.
That one, the unknown
Crocuses, crocuses … I want to make some focuses

We get to the last uphill section and I in a sportsmanlike manner leave my co-trekkers and head toward the peak on my own. I am already rather tired and I start relying heavily on my poles. Soon I reach the peak, where I am amazed and not in a positive way by the level of construction. Well, there aren't any private buildings, but the state have constructed enough things – two tall retranslating towers, one of which has gone down during the past winter, three-four storey TV and radio station building, weather station of the same height, some strange dome (but not like the one in TV series "Under the dome"), and some smaller buildings, concrete foundations and wagons. During the climb of the last uphill section, as well as on the top, there is very strong and chilly wind, and I haven't taken my windstopper jacket. I find shelter at the entrance of the meteo station, while I wait for the others. I try to check-in myself, but I don't want to go out to look for a mobile coverage.
The overconstucted peak of Botev

The others come, take some photos and we head backwards. We see that the weather has changed completely its opinion about … well, about itself, because when we look towards Pleven hut, which is still lit by the sun, behind it there is no boundary between land and sky.
Waterfall among the clouds

After 10 minutes we lose visual connection with Pleven hut and with everything, which is more than 10-15 m./30-50 ft. away from us. Congratulations. However, we don't despond and I pose for my signature pose, AKA Trinity from the Matrix.
Somewhere in the clouds
Flowers and Pleven h… and clouds

Although the visibility is very limited, at least the humidity hasn't increased significantly and it's not raining yet. In the disorientating setting I lose my questionable mind and came up with my dream work position – no, it's not Manager of an unknown waterfall, but CBO – Chief Braindamage Officer.

We pass the forest happy that we are still dry and when we get to the upper part of the ski track, we are not so happy anymore – it starts raining. My shoes are waterproof, my trousers are somewhat waterproof, but everything above is rather watersoakable. Again, my windstopper jacket, which is also waterproof, is hanging in my dry car. I pass my camera to the storage of the only waterproof backpack in our expedition and continue onto the slippery track downwards.
Through the forest, there is no rain coming down on us 1
Through the forest, there is no rain coming down on us 2
Out of the forest, here is the rain coming down on us

We choose the other path towards the finish, which goes through another forest and it almost doesn't rains on us. The rain itself is very humble, as it doesn't want to get us wet. I try to use my walking poles on the downhill path, but I could barely use my hands anymore, not mentioning the legs. The only animal that we meet today or at least the largest are some salamanders in the last forest. We reach our starting point and there is almost no rain. We get to our car, change our clothes, hit the road and it starts pouring down, no cats and dogs, just salamanders. We can't complain about the bad weather we had today, it took pity on us.

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