Sunday, March 31, 2019

Rila, Bistritza 2019

March was amazing this year - sunny and warm and the mountains were so inviting - we didn't miss a Saturday this month, probably our longest streak of hiking weekends. Yesterday we drove to Rila again, to walk along a new to us eco-trail, starting at the foot of Rila and gradually climbing up for 9 km to a formation of moraine rocks, winding along the bed of Bistritza river. (This is a different Bistritza, in the Rila mountain and not the one near Sofia we often visit. Etymologically the name Bistritza comes from "clear waters", so no wonder there are quite a few rivers named Bistritza).
The attraction of the eco-trail is the waterfall on the river, which was full-watered and truly beautiful. We started from the green meadows of the village of Bistritza and gradually reached the still snow-covered parts of the mountain, though the altitude was fairly low for Rila - only 1350 m. Rila is the highest mountain on the Balkans, with peak Musala at 2925 m above sea level.

:The trail starts from the end of the village

:After the recent renovation of the trail, there are rest stops with benches and pavilions at beauty spots

: A view to the village of Bistritza and the valley between Rila and Vitosha

: A glimpse of the snow covered higher peaks of Rila in the distance

: The Bistritza waterfall

:The river Bistritza

: Our picnic area was abundant with the iconic Rila crocuses

: The moraines at the end of the trail

: Back to the village. The whole hike was about 18 km long


Sunday, March 24, 2019

Lubash and Strazha 2019

Two years ago husband, Gaby and I took part in the mass hike on Strazha in support of an ecological protest in the region.We loved the region and decided to come back some day to hike the other small mountain there - Lubash. And so we did yesterday. The day was very warm and perfect for a hike. First we climbed Lubash (1399 m), then we went down and tried to climb Strazha along a different trail, which was present on both of our maps, but was absent in reality - the path to the top was overgrown by thick bushes and from what we read later in the evening, the mountain was considered unclimbable from any other side but the one we had already climbed two years ago. Still, it was a very long and very pleasant hike. The gorgeous views to all sides, the fresh air of early spring and the warm March sun were so worth our efforts!

:The village of Lyalintzi, from where we started the hike

: A brave bird we saw in the village

: Spring is early this year even in the mountains

: Ruy mountain in the distance

: The peaks of Lubash

: Strazha mountain across

: On the peak (1399 м)

: Strazha mountain

: The old church in the village from XVI century