The sun was shining bright, there was no wind, and in Sofia the temperatures were way above zero (Celsius, not Fahrenheit;-) – so we decided to go out with friends and see Vitosha mountain.
So, how do you write a post about how you went to the zmountain, and how beautiful it all was? I don’t know. I confess that Dan Cederholm’s post post about how he climbed a mountain inspired me a bit.
So, here I present humbly to you some outline of this day’s adventure, and a couple of photos to enhance the story. I’m sure that this is not the perfect style, that some things could be told better, some omitted, and others – added. But this is how I did it. Enjoy:)
Since a short (but very adventurous and interesting trip) to Rila Mountains and the Seven Rila Lakes last October (I’ll write about this adventure later, maybe), we didn’t see any mountains. Work caught us up and so until this Saturday, we stayed mostly in the city, when friends have invited us to pay a short visit to Vitosha mountain, which is very near Sofia.
We accepted the invitation. We started at around 10 in the morning, had to change a tram and a bus to get to a point where we could continue by walk. We also used a chair lift to get to Bay Krystyu châlet [pronounced: …] easier and then continued on foot. Air became colder and colder, as we moved up, although the sun was shining. I am a pretty good walker, but I took very inapropriate shoes this day, for a couple of reasons:
- First, we were told that this wil be a casual walk, nothing extra-fatiguing or long, and
- second, I do not have any appropriate shoes for winter;-)
Soon my legs were wet and cold, but I bravely continued with my wife to climb up, to Kominite peak (the Chimneys peak, height above sea level: ~ 1620 m).
It was snowy, temperatures dropped below zero, the sun was still shining and the air was incredibly pure and transparent. I felt very well going higher and higher.
Soon we reached a place, which is known for its avalanches, but at this time of the year it was relatively safe. After that, some 15 minutes more and we were at the top, looking down at the city of Sofia below us. Kominite peak offers really splendid view of Sofia.
At this time, suddenly the sun disappeared behind clouds, fog enveloped us and as we started to go down, the cold began to bite harder. Soon we were again at the châlet, and we had outside a very good lunch – the inside of the châlet was overcrowded, plus there were lots of people smoking cigarettes (which is a thing I never accepted to be done inside of a house).
After that, we returned by foot to the bus station, instead of taking the lift.
When at home, a hot shower saved us from catching a cold, and a pizza and a couple of Kamenitza pilsner beers made the evening perfect, not to mention the DVD with the concert of U2 live in Boston from 2001, which I was very curious to watch:)
As a bottom line, let me make my own observations as to the mountains in general, basing on Dan’s original notes:
- Mountains are tall.
- Mountains are cold and cloudy at the top.
Yes, and not always at the top, especially in winter!
- It seems that people generally enjoy walking up a mountain, then walking back down.
- You should wait to eat your lunch on the way back down, rather than at the top, where it’s cold and windy.
Fact established as well
- The first 20 minutes of walking up an incline are the worst.
Well, no, sometimes the whole climb from the start could be fun.
- Hiking up a mountain with dress shoes and a tucked in button-down shirt is insane (I did witness this).
I agree; hiking up a snowy mountain with low shoes could be even more insane, but in depends whether you can afford better ones;-)
- Water. Yes.
Water and some whiskey is a good idea, especially when not wearing winter shoes (see note above)
- When you reach the bottom of the mountain, the feeling is so great that you forget how hard it was going up. There is even a casual mention of “doing this again”.
Three words: Yes. Yes. Yes.
And I could add here some of my own general observations:
- If you try to smoke a pipe on the go, while climbing or descending the mountain, the whole pleasure could be most certainly dubious, and you’ll have to spend at least 2 packs of matches to keep it lit for at least 10 minutes, not to mention the difficult process of filling and preparing the pipe, trying to keep yourself in balance while going through the snow and slipping from time to time:-)
- The view from the top is worth all the climbing, falling in the snow, cold feet and freezing face, subject to the high-speed wind
- No matter how much pictures you will try to take with your small digital camera, and no matter what words you’ll try to find for the feeling of being there after all the efforts, you most certainly will be not able to describe even one tenth of it all:-)
And yes, I’ll do this again, I am sure of it! :)))