Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Pirins...finally!

Bulgaria has four distinct mountain ranges: the Rilas, home of Rila Monastery, Maliovitsa Peak, and the Seven Lakes, which we've blogged about in the past; the Rhodopes, an old mountain range dotted with villages and the occasional mosque, great for ambles, where we spent part of Spring Break; the Stara Planina, a long chain of mountains draped across central Bulgaria; and the Pirins, the youngest and therefore most rugged of the mountains in Bulgaria. This weekend, I finally got to see this storied range, as Georgi and I hiked past alpine lakes into deep snow (yes, still in June). We were eventually forced to turn back because the snow was so soft and I had already fallen in over my waist. That, combined with my outing on Vitosha with Jeff a few weeks ago, convinced me that hiking higher into soft snow was not a good idea. So we backtracked to an alpine lake that caught my eye on the way up. There was basically no way to go wrong on this trip. We enjoyed a peaceful evening by the lake, framed by a cirque of snowy mountains, and bordered by crocuses popping up everywhere. The Pirins were everything I expected. I only regret that I am only now discovering them.

The hike started by following a stream, heading slowly into the mountains ahead.

Georgi crosses a pasture greened by recent snowmelt.

The first lake we passed, about which I remarked to Georgi, "This would make a GREAT camp spot!"

After zig-zagging up some steep snow banks, we passed a second lake.

And then the snow just got too deep and soft, so, lo and behold, we set up shop by the first lake. This shot was taken the next morning.

This was right behind our tents. Not a bad way to spend the afternoon.

Georgi heading down into the valley.


Anonymous said...

No wonder you're sorry to discover these sights/sites at the end of your time in Eastern Europe; they're glorious. JM

judy baker said...

Picture postcards! I love these hiking pics as well as the peonies and poppies - 2 of my favorites.

Mimi said...

Nice pictures!
very lush shades of green ;)

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Anonymous said...

Beautiful! I wish I could get into the mountains more here...

TheTravelBug said...

Stunning scenery.