On the Road: Pirin At Large

20 August 2015 photos Maya Kozarova
We reach for the map of Pirin Mountain and we draw three routes - each one offers different experience and level of difficulty but they are all worth the effort.

Climbing Bezbog Summit

If you want a day's walk into the mountain and a summit under your feet, head for Dobrinishte village and Gotse Delchev hut. There, catch the cable car to Bezbog hut (the cable car costs 13lv for a two-way ticket and operates from 08:30 till 16:30, the last ride is at 16:00). The hut itself with its blue lake is a sight to behold, but today our gaze is directed upwards towards the summit that is hovering above the lake. Ask for directions to the summit and after a half-hour climb you will be rewarded with the first beautiful view of the hut and lake from above. Continue on the same road and after a while you will see a well-outlined path that leads to your right and straight upwards. After half an hour you will reach the plateau and you will spot Bezbog summit with its huge cross on your right and Polezhan summit on your left. When we reach the summit there are only two things on our mind: inhale, exhale. After that head down following the same path. When you drive back to Dobrinishte from Gotse Delchev hut don't hesitate to stop at the fishpond and restaurant on the road - we guarantee, it will be the best fish you have ever tasted!

A Tour of the Banderishki Lakes

We head for the lakes with the desire to dip our hands and feet in the ice cold water. After you pass through Bansko, continue all the way up to Vihren hut and then follow the red and green marking. After 20 minutes watch out for a sign for the first lake The Eye (or Okoto) which is hidden from the main trail. It is called that way not only because of ts oval shape but also because of the way its smooth surface mirrors the sky. After that, get back to the main track and soon you will reach The Fish Lake (or Ribnoto lake). Its name is not in vain, it is indeed full of fish and after another 20 minutes your ears will be filled with the song of the frogs coming from the Frog Lake (or Zhabeshkoto lake). Next to it is the last of the large Banderishki lakes - namely The Long One (or Dalgoto lake). When you return to Vihren hut and start the car, stop for a delicios meal just several minutes down the road - the restaurant has no official name, but everyone calls it Na zavoya, so don't miss it.

Conquer The Horse (or Koncheto)

This route is only for the experienced mountaneers who crave the adrenaline rush, have at least a weekend  under their belt and a few obligatory items in their backpack - telescopic poles, comfy mountain shoes, warm clothes, food and water, first aid kit and charged phone. Our tried and tested route: we park two cars on Friday - one at Razlog, near the trail for Yavorov hut and one at Banderitsa hut above Bansko where we will descend the next day. After that, head straight to Yavorov hut and sleep there (save a bed at 0896 688 415 or 0896 688 413). After the rich breakfast, we leave the hut early - around 07:00. Because this route is a bit complicated, inform yourselves in the hut for the marking and always keep the map of Pirin close to you. The Horse (or Koncheto) is a carst edge that can be crossed if you catch firmly the metal rope and look at your feet - if you are careful enough, you should have no trouble at all. Be aware that mists do come swiftly and can be chased away by winds just as fast - wear warm clothes and gloves. Magnificent will be probably the word that you will seek when you contemplate awestruck the harsh beauty of it all. If you are lucky you will also spot soft edelweisses and wild goats scampering on the rocks. The whole of Pirin will be at your feet but instead of feeling masters of the world, part of you will feel complete humility. Dare to do it - it is a place you will long remember.


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