Sep 4, 2013

Bulgaria - Pirin Mountains (Part 1)

It is time to go for a walk in the Pirin Mountains, which differ from the other Bulgarian mountains with their rocky landscape. Together with my father and two family friends, Dilyan and Natalia, we head to Dobrinishte and Gotse Delchev Hut, where we get on the ski lift to Bezbog Hut (or Godless Hut). For some time I want to visit this hut and its near ski track, as many of my friends have mentioned it and I nodded positively, as if I know it (I have heard of it), but in fact I don't know it (since I've never been here). The track looks pleasantly long, just the way I like my ski tracks. I'll have to come in the winter to check it, for sure. Under the lift, there are lots of people gathering blueberries using some strange devices. They are strange, as I have never seen them, but they are logical in their design – wooden/metal box with open on one of the sides, onto which is attached something like a comb that combs the bushes and picks the lice, oops, the blueberries, my bad.
Bezbog Hut and the adjacent Lake Bezbojko

As our friends rarely go for mountain treks, we decide to go to the Lake Popovo, which takes an hour and a half to get to. For me, this route is too short and I would prefer to go to Demyanitsa Hut, which takes 4-4.30 hours. We leave at 12 o'clock from our starting point, which is kind of late for the route that I want, since there is at least another 2 hours after Demyanitsa Hut to the road to Bansko resort (where we are staying) from where some of our friends can pick us. That's why I give up the idea of a longer walk. At least we can go to the near Bezbog Peak.

We take some pictures at the lake and take on the path, which right after the lake goes very uphill.
Cotton/Scotch thistle in front of Bezbog Hut
Mullein and Thistle

We are surprised by the many people on the path, in the Rila Mountains I've seen lots of people, but not here, probably because I haven't hiked much in Pirin. Later, I read that this is one of the most popular routes of the mountain. As our tempo differs much from that of our friends, my father and I speed forward.
A view of Polejan, Sivriya, Momin dvor, Kralev dvor and Djangal Peaks (some of them might not be in the picture, but they should be in this are)
The surprising color palette of the mountain flowers 1
The surprising color palette of the mountain flowers 2
Polejan (2,851 m/9,353 ftand Maluk Polejan (2,820 m/9,252 ft) Peaks

We pass the path for Demyanitsa Hut, but I have already given it up, so there is no problem. Soon we get to Lake Popovo and stop for a rest. Now, let's see who read carefully Wikipedia – Lake Popovo is the largest in Pirin Mountains and the fourth largest in Bulgaria with its 12.4 ha/30.5 acres. The two most popular legends about its name are connected with the drowning of a priest and from the emerged from the water kamelaukion (hat that is worn by Christian priests) formed the island, called by the same name. We find a place next to some blueberry bushes, put our clothes to dry out in the sun, and start eating blueberries while admiring the view. Suddenly, the sun shows up behind all of the clouds and the lake becomes quite colorful.
The colorful Lake Popovo and Kalimavka Island

After an hour of rest we head back and decide to go along the Lakes Ribnite. And then we spot our friends, who just now reach the Lake Popovo, so we turn around to meet them at the lake shore. My father and I decide to go the Demyanitsa Hut, and as we came with one car, we hand our friends the keys and split once again.
Polejan and Maluk Polejan Peaks
Water lilies in one of the Lakes Banski
A view to one of the Lakes Banski and Sivriya Peak (2,590 m/8,497 ft)

We head to Djangalska Gate, but somewhere in the middle it starts raining. Soon it starts hailing. We put on our rain coats and sit under some dwarf pines. After 10-15 minutes the dwarf pines start making us wetter than the rain, which have almost stopped and continue hiking. Soon we reach Djangalska Gate and get amazed by the wonderful view towards the LakesValyavishki. When we get down to the Lake Golyamo Valyavishko we turn back and see the even better sight of the Djangal Peak (2,730 m/ 8,957 ft).
Djangal Peak and Lake Golyamo Valyavishko
Lake hair
Flora and fauna

Somewhere after the lakes we find a herd of high mountain cattle, which want to get even higher heading towards the lakes.
Most probably the Valyavishki chukar Peak (2,664 m/8,740 ft)

Soon it starts raining again, this time without hail, but more severely. And we put the rain coats once more. We come across even more cattle going uphill, without raincoats. From time to time a thunder hits and some of the animals get scared. We note that most of the cows have different mooing, some moo with more bass, other thicker.
Voyeur behind the bushes
A calf 1
A calf 2 (in front of Gazey Peak (2,761 m/9,058 ft))
Kaimakchal Peak (2,753 m/9,032 ft)

We are already a bit tired, count the poles to Demyanitsa Hut and soon we reach our (middle) destination. We sit to rest at the hut and order some soups – a beans one and a meat one. I order one meatball as well, as I am quite hungry, but it is being cooked very slowly. When it finally gets done I put it in between some bread and take on the dirt road to Bansko resort. We phoned our friends to meet us where the dirt road meets the asphalt one, because it would take us another 4 hours to get to Bansko and it's already too late and we are already quite tired. After an hour and 20-30 minutes we reach the asphalt road and after another 10 minutes our friends come and we are glad to get in the car and finish our long hike.

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