Sunday, September 28, 2014

Plana Mountain - Mt. Manastirishte

The aim of our hiking trip today was the highest peak of Plana Mountain - Mt. Manastirishte (1338 м). Plana, it seems, is not a very popular mountain, although it is quite near Sofia - only 30 km from home, 40 min. of careful mountain driving. But unlike Vitosha and other popular destinations, where most of the tracks are well marked and kept, there were no signs or marks on Plana and if it hadn't been for the detailed description of the route I found on the bghiking site, we wouldn't have known where to go and where we were. We followed in the steps of the author of the site and are extremely grateful for the helpful information.
However the unpopularity of the place meant almost no tourists. Actually we met no one on our way until we reached the top of the mountain and there we passed only a few couples. Silence, solitude, beautiful scenery and sunny weather - total bliss.

The goal of today's hiking - Mt. Manastirishte (to the right) and Mt. Duralia (to the left)
Behind them - the high snow covered peaks of Vitosha

One of the scenes that amazed us today after a week of cold and rain - there's snow on Vitosha! Only last Saturday husband and I were on Cherni vrah - the highest peak on Vitosha and even picked raspberries - and today the high ridges are covered with snow. Yesterday I went out in my winter jacket and boots, it was so cold in Sofia. But we were lucky today - Sunday was sunny and quite warm, we even felt a bit overdressed for this hiking.

The first of Plana's peak to be mounted - Marchin Kamak. We left the track and climbed it directly up through the grasses and ferns - a steep but short climb.

And here we are on Marchin Kamak

The view to the fields and the road we came along

Mt. Muhchel in the distance - the second in height on Plana Mountain

Down we went from Marchin Kamak in the direction of Mt. Duralia

We reached a crossroad with an old and abandoned house. Before we could caution her, Gaby was up the stairs, over-excited to explore the ruin.

The grassy slopes of Mt. Duralia

We reach a meadow at the base of Mt. Manastirishte - our primary goal. There are two main tracks ahead - a steep road and a roundabout serpentine. We choose the steep direct approach.

A view from the top of the steep track

A small chapel, built over the ruins of an old church, marks the highest peak of Plana Mountain. There we meet the only other tourists, who had chosen Plana this Sunday.

Another mountain top climbed this year - Manastirishte - 1338 m

A view to Sofia in the distance and Stara Planina behind

Vitosha and the village of Zheleznitza

The plains of Plana, the peaks of Verila and right under the clouds - the snow covered peaks of Rila - so high, so venerable. We admire the view all the way down the roundabout track.

Our next goal - the almost indiscernible Mt. Duralia

We follow a track in the grass and easily climb the peak. The place is so sunny, warm and pleasant, that we regret we've already had our late lunch on Mt. Manastirishte, as Mt. Duralia is just the ideal place for a picnic.

And back to the village of Plana. What a satisfying hiking day!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Black Maluka Cardigan

I've finished Gaby's cotton black cardigan, incorporating the Maluka shawl pattern. It's a fairly simple cardigan, intended for summer evening and early September school days. The yarn - Drops Muskat, is nice to work with, but attracts dust and threads, which are rather visible on the black texture, so I don't think I'll use it again.

Pattern: Maluka Cardigan (personal pattern) incorporating Maluka Shawl,
inspired by Carolyn's fitted cardigan
Yarn: Drops Muskat 100% mercerized cotton, color 18, 400 g
Needle: 3.5 mm (Maluka border), 4 mm stockinette body
Time to knit: 10 days

Things I would do differently:
1) Add 3-4 cm length to the body;
2) Front and back curve fitting (probably, I'm not quite sure about that);
3) The seamless body tends to twist, it would probably be better if the fronts and back were knitted separately with provisional cast on and the Maluka border added afterwards.
4) The stitches of the beginning and the end of the Maluka border could have been left live (provisional cast on) and then incorporated in the buttonbands. There were too many ends to be weaved in and cotton is not very pliable.

We were so very lucky to photo shoot the cardigan in the morning, while the sun was out. Only an hour later it's pouring again ... :(

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Cherni Vruh - September 2014

It was a very nice warm Saturday today after a cold and rainy week and quite spontaneously husband and I decided to go on Cherni Vruh - the highest peak of Vitosha. Although it is a decently high peak (2291 м), I've climbed it so many times during all seasons that it feels like a backyard mountain climbing.

Because there were only the two of us, we switched to higher gear and speed climbing - only an hour and 15 min from Goli Vruh to Cherni Vruh.

There were quite a few people on the way to the peak, lots of children too. This year the weather is so cold and rainy, that one has to take advantage of every rare sunny day, especially when it is a holiday. A curious coincidence - right on top of the mountain we met a friends' family, who live in the neighborhood, but who we hadn't seen for months. What are the chances!

The landscape on top of the mountain is quite different from the forest covered paths we usually walk - rocks, grass and small flowers.

The plateau and a view to Sofia in the distance.

Because of the altitude, the wild raspberries were still ripe. We stopped for half an hour and gathered a few handfuls. Now I have two more jars of homemade wild raspberry jam - the aroma is really unique.