Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Snow? Snow! @%$#!

Jeff and I spent a good part of Sunday on Mt. Vitosha, and a good part of Sunday evening in the emergency room. But more on that in a second. We've had 70 and sunny for about a solid week now, so we decided to head to the snow-covered flanks of Vitosha. Given the weather and the popularity of hiking here, we were glad we took a less-traveled route to the top. Just the drive to the trailhead saw us wade through several traffic jams on the mountain as the hordes of Sofians headed to various areas for hikes. Once we got above tree line, however, the crowd thinned out. We picked our steps carefully as the snow was melting, and a false landing could plunge us to our thighs, or, as Jeff discovered, into a stream. As he said right afterward, "And I thought my feet were as wet as they could get." After a three-hour ascent, we spent some time enjoying the quietude at the top, and then began picking our way down in even softer snow. About an hour from the car, I heard Jeff scream in pain behind me, and turned to see his leg sunk into a deep hole. Jeff is rather stoic, so to see the look on his face (and to hear the words streaming from his mouth) meant that something was not right. I was relieved to see Jeff pull his leg out with no dangling pieces, but concerned when I saw that blood had already seeped through his pants. It turns out that a jagged stone was hiding right next to a deep hole, and Jeff basically ran his shin along it as he fell. There was a gaping wound that we promptly dressed with a bandana. I personally did not want to look at it for any length of time, given my predilection for passing out at the sight of major wounds, and the fact that one glance was enough to establish that this would require a hospital. Jeff decided he would try and walk. Which he could do, slowly. I urged him on, stopping only once to let blood flow to my head again. It's good that Jeff isn't as faint-of-heart as I am. This was easily the worst flesh wound I've ever had the pleasure of seeing. Very deep, very red, and even a little white. But Jeff was strong, and we made it to the car with no further obstacles. The surgeon's face when he saw the wound was enough to convince Jeff that this was indeed serious. Two hours and nine stitches later, we finally left the hospital.

A not-so-hazardous creek crossing

Though this guy would have jumped over it more gracefully than I did

The peak is up and to the left.

Jeff surveying the world, with a healthy shin.

One of the holes I found on the way down. Luckily, no rocks blocking the way to the ground.

On the way down, we met a man named Stoyan who was following a strange but not unusual Bulgarian custom of hiking in his speedo. Stoyan was a lively, talkative fellow who didn't seem to care that we didn't understand him. He told us all about the beauty around us, though we (for some reason) were focused mostly on him.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Brett, What a fun series of pictures!
I had a great time coming along on the trek with you, Jeff and Speedo-man. I was a bit low after a few days of disappointments and mistakes, but now I'm shiny from the chuckles you provided. Give Joe and your mom the wonderful time I know you've honed, and may it give you all many wonderful flashbacks through the years. Love from Joan