Saturday, September 12, 2009

Maliovitsa Hike

The hike to Maliovitsa Peak involved a series of grassy terraces, the last one of which contained the lake in the entry below. After this gentle start, the climb began in earnest, with a steep ascent to gain the ridge. Once on the ridge, we were exposed to some pretty fierce winds, and each one of us used all of our layers to stay warm. Annie the dog was especially brave. Despite the conditions, the ridge walk was by far the most spectacular part of the hike, as we could see Lake Iskur to the east, Vitosha far to the north, and the angled walls of Rila Monastery deep in the valley below. Bare ridgeways splayed around us, and miles of walking trails revealed themselves, leading to, among other places, the Seven Lakes, where we hiked a year ago this weekend (if you find September of '08 in the sidebar, you can look at those pictures as well). This sense of being above it all, yet perfectly in it, is one of the things I love most about hiking.

About an hour after starting, we passed by the Hija (hut). The peak in the background on the right is where we're heading. We approached from behind it, so it wasn't nearly as steep as it looks.
On the way from Terrace 1 to Terrace 2. On the left is Sam, our friend from the Embassy. Then John Cowley, the U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria, and Alex, who also works at the Embassy and was our master guide for the day.
A stream on the second terrace
Sam and Super Annie
Finally on the ridge line. The poles are used as trail markers during the winter, when snow obscures the marks on rocks (and the otherwise obvious trail).
Looking back on the ridge line from the peak, you can barely see the poles that mark the way.
Behind me, you can see the lake and the valley we walked .
At the peak

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