Cherga BG

Да яхнеш реката

It is the beginning of May. Only a month after the official opening of the new rafting season on the Struma River, we head towards that place. And the occasion is the first Media Rafting Cup organized by the telecom operator “Neterra” and “X-Club” Club. It is a sunny days, and it seems like the times when we used to boost our adrenalin along the steep and rough tracks is left far behind us. And since the ski and the snowboard are already tucked in our wardrobe, it is time for us to seek new breath-taking experiences. We choose rafting being also provoked by the invitation to take part in the media competition. The route is to the south of Sofia towards the Kresna Gorge. There the river cuts through the mountain and forms the swift currents and whirlpools that are so desired by all lovers of extreme adventures. While traveling we enjoy the unique natural scenes. Just before the town of Dupnitsa the impressive Rila Mountain rises up before our eyes, on the high peaks of which we can still see a snow blanket left. Downwards, the mountain ridge becomes dark green coloured by the coniferous trees, and down in the low the plain meadows spread covered with fresh light green grass. Thus, with our eyes at the heights, we reach the village of Mursalevo and we notice Struma River flowing in a spring mood parallel to the road. After another thirty or so minutes, during which the Rila Mountains remains left behind us and makes way to the Pirin Mountains, we see the exact place we are heading to. It is not difficult to recognize it – varicoloured inflatable boats and people already wait for us. We make a right turn and we are there. In a few minutes of resting, charming ladies from the National Rafting Team explain to us the rules and safety measures. We will compete in two disciplines – direct elimination between two boats with parallel starts, and a down-hill time race along an 8-kilometer track. It is obligatory for this kind of sport to wear neoprene costumes and boots, as well as a safety waistcoat and a helmet. We start the competition in teams of six people. Each team has a leader who in this particular case is the “steering wheel” of the boat. Due to the fast and adequate reaction to his commands, it is possible to make a trouble-free pass through sections characterized by foamy waters and bearing eloquent names, such as “The Washer”, “The Cauldron”, etc. Despite the preliminary instructions and training “in the dry” with the commands ”row”, “right”, “left” and “stop” it becomes clear once again that just like in the editor’s office team work here is also of prime importance. When you face the foamy waters of the Struma River resembling boiling milk, and you eyes see boulders along the riverbank and inside the river waters, it is only the absolute synchronization between the team members and the joint effort may keep you inside the boat and help you avoid the obstacles. Thus we unnoticeably pass the track of eight kilometers. Nearly 40 minutes pass without even noticing them, absorbed in the struggle with the water. After a minute of awakening we are all positive: the experience is incomparable. We promise ourselves to come again. Our leader, Sasha, tells us that the price for a down-hill, inclusive of the transportation, equipment and an instructor, is BGN 45. After so many emotions we get hungry and head towards the steaming grills. With a loaf of bread and a “kebabche” (grilled oblong rissole) roasted on fire we sit by the riverbank staring at the water. We are relaxed, stress-free and without a track of the city tension. It is now time for us to go back to Sofia. Imprint Rafting comes from the English word for raft. Its origin dates back in the 18th century originating in North America, when local woodcutters had to transport lodges over the river. The year of 1811 is deemed the official beginning of this sport. It was back then when the first attempt to head downstream the Snake River in the State of Wyoming was made. A few years later – approximately 1840, the rubber raft was created, which was used in the military, but not for entertaining purposes. Thus in the middle of the XX century, rafting established as a sport and gained popularity. In 1972 it was included in the Olympic Games in Munich.

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