Winter adventure in the heart of the Rila Mountain
Everyone who loves Bulgarian mountains and conquers their tops in summertime has most likely been tempted to do so in the wintertime, too. Ardent tourists know from personal experience that wading in 2-3 meters deep mountain snow is not merely a test to one’s will and good physical shape but that it is also not for everyone. However, the love for adventures and mountains is a good enough reason to come up with something that makes snow tramping possible. This is how the so-called “snow walkers” were invented – kind of devices one puts on the feet, very much like small skies. With their help one can easily make his way through the snow and reach heights of over 2000m! It takes time getting used to them but the effort is definitely worth it – with their help reaching the final destination is much more likely than with standard tourist boots.
The program called “With snow walkers to the seven Rila lakes” gives you the chance not only to reach the heart of the Rila Mountain but also to take a walk in the deep snow without the danger of falling into snow-drifts on every step. Once in the mountain you’ll be given special instructions about the dangers it hides, whether there is a risk of an avalanche and which are the safe routes. The experience is definitely worth it since Rila is equally beautiful in summer and winter times. You will also have the chance to stand eye to eye with snowy mountain tops, engulfed in silence and serenity.
If you decide to undertake such an adventure, be sure you are dressed warm enough because at such heights the cold bites harder that you would expect, especially given the strong winds. Apart from the mandatory supply of water, your mountain guides would also advice you to take with you some high calorie food.
The route for going up the Rila Mountain starts at Pionerska chalet, an hour away from Panichishte, at the very foot of the “Rila lakes” national reserve. You can easily reach the chalet via an asphalt road. From there you go up to the Skakavitza chalet for about two hours, taking time to rest, warm up and have lunch at the big chalet stove there. Then you head on to the “Rila lakes” chalet, passing by the extremely beautiful waterfall of Skakavitza, the biggest in the Rila Mountain. At this time of the year it is frozen and the view is indeed spectacular. The route to the “Rila lakes” chalet passes through a virgin forest, climbing further up the mountain. When the weather is good the view to the Rila tops is breathtaking. Do spend time to marvel at this natural beauty and charge yourself with pure energy coming from the heart of the mountain.
If you have never been to the “Rila lakes” chalet before, you would be surprised by the decent facilities it offers. Apart from the standard chalet bedrooms with plank-beds, there are also double rooms, some of them with their own bathroom. Still, no matter what room you take, after having marched through the snow with your snow walkers, you would more than certain fall fast asleep.
The program continues on the day after, with more wonderful moments out in the open mountains. Another snow walking destination are the seven Rila lakes – the Teardrop, the Eye, the Kidney, the Twin, the Trefoil, the Fish and the Lower Lake, all of which lay scattered around. It is a real adventure getting to each of them and it takes about three hours to go through all. For lunch you head back to a chalet called “Fish lakes”, after which heading further down to Pionerska chalet and all of this of course on snow walkers. Then – back to Sofia.
The “With snow walkers to the seven Rila lakes” program lasts only two days and one night and yet the experience is so vivid that once when it is over and you are already back home, you have the feeling that you’ve become a part of nature. The Rila adventure is something new which you will long remember, making you want to go back again to the heart of the mountain!
The experience would be even more intense if you share it with a friend, especially given that the trip is offered also as a gift. You can do so by ordering a gift voucher with a reservation. One can choose the most convenient time to make the trip, without any changes to the price. Apart from snow walking in Rila, you can also give to somebody as a gift a voucher for an off-road trip, rafting, paragliding or flying with a small jet, firing practice and every other adventure you’ve been dreaming of.