Sep 16, 2013

Bulgaria - Pirin Mountains (Part 2)

Two days after the rather long hike according to my standards, my father and I head to climb the second highest peak in Bulgaria, Vihren Peak (2,914 m/9,560 ft). I've been waiting for a long time to conquest it. We come near the Vihren Hut and cannot believe our eyes – there is almost a traffic jam of cars, even though it is the first working day of the week. I thought Vihren wasn't one of the easiest to climb, so why are these hordes of people here? We find a free spot to park, prepare ourselves and head uphill. And the uphill starts right away, there isn't a flat section to warm up. At least we are relieved to see that 90% of the people are going in another direction – most probably to the Lakes Banderishki. As the total displacement of the climb is about 1,000 m/3,280 ft, just after 30 minutes of walking the hut is quite small.
View towards Vihren Hut

The vistas upwards are very impressive not only with their heights, but also with their vivid colors – green grass, white rocks and blue sky.
Green with pale pink, white and blue
Green with saturated pink, white and blue
One of the Lakes Vlahinski

We reach the Kabata area, where we stop for a rest before the final push. From here one could easily see what it will be – one bare, huge rock. The near sign promise us that we will be on top after 40-45 minutes.
An ordinary grasshopper before the inordinary Vihren
The huge rocky mass ending with Vihren
The sign points it

My father's phone interrupts our climb a couple of times and we agree to separate and meet on the top, as the non-stop ringing breaks the rhythm of both of us. I succeed to fit in the indicated time and I am awarded on the top with amazing views and chilly wind.
From Vihren Peak to the Koncheto (Horsie) Ridge
The Koncheto Ridge with a bunch of clouds above it
And Vihren Peak

Meanwhile, my father has climbed to the top and he also cannot believe the beauties that uncover in front of him. We recharge with some nuts and chocolates, while we take a walk on the summit. It is so difficult to believe that we have started from the Vihren Hut, which from here is a little spec.
For the photo album in front of Todorka peak
A panorama view toward Todorka peak, Lakes Banderishki and Lake Gorno Vlahinsko (to the very right)
Here is our starting point – Vihren Hut
And our even more starting point – Bansko resort

We grab our backpacks, I make a couple of pictures of some flowers nestled between the rocks and against all weather odds are burst into blossom, and head downwards.
The flowers of Vihren 1
The flowers of Vihren 2

The descent takes us 1 hour and 50 minutes which is with an hour less than the ascent. Happy with our achievement we park ourselves on a sunny bench on the hut's terrace drinking freshly squeezed orange juice. However, the couple next to us is eating some salad and steaks and I understand that I am hungry as well. While I order some food, I see that they are selling a small green booklet that I have been looking for some time – Conqueror of the 10 highest peaks of the Bulgarian mountains and buy one.

While I eat, one Garfield comes near us, but I couldn't lure him with piece of my tasty meatballs. I'm sorry that I don't have any Whiskas or something similar.
Orange tiger

On the parking among the many cars I find an Albanian Land Rover equipped to the roof and beyond for adventures. A small pink bike is also attached to the spare tire for the adventures of the youngest.
Ready for adventures

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