BULHARSKO, DAY 7

Seventh day was supposed to be a rest day….Well, that didn’t exactly work out. „Let’s just quickly climb to one of the surrounding peaks and spend the rest of the day relaxing“, we thought. For that purpose we chose Rilets peak (2,713 m.a.s.l.) which quickly earned a nickname „Killer mountain“. It could have occurred to me that the hike might not be that easy peasy given that it will be the highest peak I have ever climbed so far. As well, I could have realized that an unmarked path and our „nonsense“ of orientation, might not go well together.

We depart from the Ribni Ezera Hut following a red marked path. But very soon we lose the mark. Sooner or later we were supposed to leave this path anyway and turn to an unmarked trail…so this happened rather sooner than later. Never mind. Both the destination and the direction are clear – up to the ridge!. Our trek begins adventurously – by randomly scrambling up across a steep slope.

When we finally reach the ridge we can see Mermersko Lake situated on the other side of the hillside. Cool! Seems like we’re on a right track after all.

View of Mermersko Lake

We continue via a narrow ridge path leading to Rilets. First we reach Kyoravitsa peak (2,612 m.n.m.). After that, the path disappears completely. But luckily it’s impossible to get lost here on the ridge. We keep jumping and climbing over big stones when a small notice board and a cairn appear in front of us. If it wasn’t for these signs, we would have had no idea that we have reached the Rilets peak. It does not exactly stand out.

Rilets peak

On the way back the „fun part“ begins. We don’t want to return the same way and therefore we decide to continue on the ridge and climb down to Smradlivoto Lake. The issue is, there is no ridge path anymore. Just a bunch of sharp stones. I always feel like I have found the way for a bit but then this wanna be trail turns into a pile of scree again. Well, whatever…the destination and the direction are clear – down to the lake!

Killer descent to Smradlivoto Ezero (=”Stinky Lake”)

But you know the descent tends to be harsher than the ascent…And so we suddenly find ourselves standing in the middle of the field of unstable scree. When one big rock slips under my feet and nearly hits Thomas (who is far below me)….Damn! I realize that this ain’t funny anymore. We lower the distance between us and carefully weigh each step.

The descent is super-exhausting…both physically and mentally. My knees are letting me know that they are not big fans. Furthermore, I’m still shaken by the previous incident. When we finally find ourselves at the Smradlivoto Lake after 2 hours of hell, I feel a huge relief. Smradlivoto Lake (= “Stinky Lake”) does not stink at all (just like Strashnoto Lake = “Terrible Lake” was not terrible whatsoever). that I’m a bit confused by the local naming convention, I have to admit 😊.

The hut is already quite near the lake. When we arrive, I plump to the mattress and keep reflecting on what we have just experienced (and survived). I’m worn-out. Completely. Only afterwards I read in the guide book that this climb to Rilets is „suitable only for experienced mountaineers with strong sense of orientation“ . Well, what a great rest hike we chose!


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