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!

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