Aug 26, 2013

Bulgaria - On the Day of Rila Mountains to the highest peak on the Balkans, Musala

I continue with the mountain series with a post about Musala peak (2,925 m/9,596 ft, the highest one in Bulgaria and on the Balkan Peninsula) on the Day of Rila Mountains, where the peak is situated. A few days before the weekend I and a friend of mine, with whom I will climb Kilimandjaro (the third in the group) talk about going to Musala peak. He comes with some friends, I come with some friends and 10-15 minutes after the appointed hour we gather in front of the gondola – a group of ten. Today and tomorrow happens to be the Day of Rila Mountains and of Musala peak, as well. The two way ticket is discounted and a lot of people have come to celebrate and to make use of the discount. But really, there is a lot of people, especially for the summer/low season for the Borovets resort. We get off at the last station of the gondola, get to know those who we don't know in our group, prepare ourselves and head out to the peak.
The first of many pictures with flowers on the front

We divide into smaller groups, each with different tempo and soon we get to the Musala hut and the Lake Musalensko. We sit down on the grass, around the lake, take out our sandwiches and hold an edible competition "What sandwich I made". I remember only the sandwich that I eat – mine, and it's made out of whatever I found in my fridge, and it's not much – eggs, cheese and guacamole. If you have a craving for guacamole don't come to look into my fridge though, because I make it rather rarely and most probably you will get to the fifth floor (no lift) for nothing, which is the most common thing you can find in my fridge.

The first stage of the competition ends and we continue with the first uphill section for the day. It is conquered successfully, regardless of the devoured sandwiches.
Irechek peak with an unknown for me lake

The stretched group gathers again at the Everest shelter before taking on the last uphill section toward the peak. Here, someone manages to hit a doggie shit and with his mighty shoe sole to activate its smell. We take a breath, but not through the nose and head upwards. As this is part of my preparation for my Kilimanjaro climb (get used to me mentioning Kilimanjaro, it won't be the last time), I start trekking a little bit slower than usual, with walking poles, breathing in and out as much as I can. Somewhere on the path I catch up with an elderly couple, who carry a small cassette player playing popular songs from the beginning of the 90's, the early period of the chalga music. As I am not a fan of this kind of music, I force myself to outwalk them, leaving me breathless for a moment. When the rest of the group caught up with the couple, their music time machine was playing the once very popular song "The stones are falling (from the sky)" (don't be mistaken, there is nothing in common with the Rolling Stones).
Flowers and the Lake Ledenoto (Icy Lake)
Again Lake Ledenoto, this time without flowers

I manage to achieve my goal, which is to trek this uphill section without stopping to rest. However, many people before me have succeeded in climbing the peak, as well. We barely find some space to sit down and rest, it's that crowded.
The crowded peak …
 and the next shift of crowd

We gather on our little patch of grass, and take out tea, beers, cucumbers, sandwiches, chocolates and rest. We lay our wet clothes to dry on the sun and soon we all get roasted on the strong sun. Some are prepared for the occasion and show their bathing suits.
For the record

We head down (God bless the walking poles) and new photos of flowers and lakes follow.
You know what
Dramatic portrait of one of the hundreds of people who decided to go for a walk to the peak in this beautiful day

We reach Musala Hut and stop for a rest alongside the lake. The second round of the eating contest is being held. One of the guys takes out a pack of caramelized macadamia nuts, direct import from Kenia, which is followed by 5-10 minutes of "mhmhm, they are very good" and "can I have some more". Somewhere in front of us is the couple with the cassette player and its inevitable chalga tunes.
Being done with the sandwiches and the tasty nuts we head back to the gondola.
Lake Musalenskoto and Irechek peak
As I said there were people everywhere
We end with what we started

At the other end of the gondola, some of the group, including me, decide to stay at Borovets (the resort where all is happening) and grab something to eat, since most of us are hungry again.

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