This post was updated on August 24th, 2020
Off the beaten track – Yagodina
Yesterday we came to visit some legendary places, but I also ended up missing some clothes. Today, we have once more a tight schedule, so will I find my lost trousers again? The other question that we need to answer is, what happens to cameras attending involuntarily to swimming courses in cold rivers. Yes, the adventure continues on many levels.
Yagodina, Saturday, June 23, 2018
Off lost trousers and forgotten people
My trousers are not to be found in my bag. Did I really leave them in Kalofer? Well at least my hiking boots are somewhat dry now after yesterdays bath, so not everything is at a loss already before I get my breakfast.
Of course, when I mention the lacking trousers at breakfast, Evo immediately offers to call the guesthouse owner in Kalofer, and Karin remembers a sports store in Smolyan. With these guys, problems seem to get solved faster than you can find having one in the first place. Eventually, it turns out the trousers were never lost, they just had fallen out of my bag in the car when I was digging for a blanket yesterday evening at the restaurant in Wonderful Bridges. So maybe I need to pack my bag a little differently next time then?
New problems come with new solutions
Today we go the Canyon of Waterfalls first. Wasn’t there something about boots that just had dried???
On the way to our new photo location, I am trying to figure out how much more memory cards I actually do have. It does not look like they would last me for the remaining days, not if I continue to take as many photos per day as I have so far.
Of course, Karin has a solution for that as well. We’ll add another short stop at the tech-store in Smolyan so that I can get some new ones. Who would have anticipated that I would fill 7 of 8 32GB cards in less than two weeks? Well, as I said before, I did not know what to expect from Bulgaria, but I most certainly did not expect that. It seems to count for pretty much everything.
Losing people is the new solution!
At a short gas station stop, Evo tries to ensure that I have to stay longer in Bulgaria by leaving me behind…
That might actually have worked, but he noticed in time that I was not in the car. No harm was done, we just have some more fun about it and are soon all together back on the way to the Canyon of Waterfalls (Bulgarian: Каньонът на Водопадите).
Canyon of Waterfalls
Evo gets us as close to the hiking path as possible in the car, though the way is not really made for this vehicle. As soon as we have changed to hiking boots, he takes the car down to the parking space while we start the hike. He’ll find us as soon as we start stopping for photos. Indeed it is but a short walk before we find the first photo-location.
Involuntary swimming course
Suddenly, without warning, Phil holding his camera takes goes down for a dive in the icy river. He gets out unharmed, but wet, still holding onto his camera. Now, how did his camera take on this lesson in swimming? And worse, how are we going to get it dry here out in the wild? We do our best with what we have. Tissues and bandanas will have to make do for now. However, before Phil can even try to turn it back on, it has to get dried properly. That’s not going to happen today.
In the meantime, Evo has caught up with us too. Surprised to find a soaking wet Phil and a slightly shocked group, he tries to cross the river next. Of course, with his skills he can cross pretty much everything without even getting damp. However, he confirms the other side is slippery as ice and not safe for any of us, including him. No one else of us is to make another attempt today.
While Karin and Phil head back to the car to get some dry clothes for Phil and take care of the camera, Evo and I head on. They’ll meet up with us again later.
We cannot have walked far from the first spot when we find our second photo-location. A little climbing or sliding down some areas and we are back in the river.
This time, its Evo who brought along some special treats. Muffin cookies with white chocolate chips – did I mention that I am getting spoiled here? Of course, we share them fairly and even leave some for Karin and Phil to enjoy later. There is still some hiking to do before we reach our lunch spot – of course, not without more breaks for photos. How could we not stop when the possibility arises right in front of us?
The canyon is said to be the home of over 40 waterfalls in total, all along a 6km long loop-hiking path. After a short break for lunch, for which Karin and Phil arrive just in time, we make our way to the biggest waterfall of the Gerzovska river (Bulgarian: Герзовска), the 68m high Orpheus (Bulgarian: Орпхеус).
Orpheus & wet feet
After finishing the photography on one side of the river, Evo asks me if I would like to cross over and take some more photos from the other side.
Of course, I would love that! But how the heck to get over without drowning some more gear? The attempt in building a little stone bridge that would get both Evo and me safely across – including dry feet for both of us – falls short.
Karins planning pays off
So upon the question, if I would like to get my feet wet all over again – which of course I do. Karin remembers my water sandals. I completely forgot that I had taken them with me. Well, they come to good use here, as I have to go through the river now but on the way back I will have dry socks and dry shoes waiting for me. Good planning, Karin!
Evo, of course, crosses without getting his toes damp not to speak about getting wet feet. And with a little help, I follow after. Next time, however, I shall bring a small towel with me as well, as it is not very warm. Who cares about being warm when it is so much fun with these guys, hiking, taking photos and all the rest of it? I would do it all over again without hesitating a second. Besides, the car has a heating system, so I will warm up again later.
Time to head back
While Evo and I finish up with the last photos and then cross the river one last time, Phil heads toward the car, so he can get it warmed up before I arrive. Did I say something about getting spoiled here? Yes, I am traveling in the best possible company – very well looked after indeed.
Soon enough Karin, Evo and I are also ready to head back. Evo leads on, on a completely different route, avoiding all the photo stops.
Dinnertime in Smol
Karin and Phil use their chance to run off and buy lots of rice. This, so they can pack Phil’s camera into a bag of rice. Maybe it can be dried out and saved for a later adventure?
Another excellent meal waits for us, where I share very little with Evo, and he shares a lot of his food with me. I am going to miss all these shared meals too much, that’s certain.
We still have some driving ahead of us to get to Yagodina (Bulgarian: Ягодина) and first after we are back in the car I realize that we will be going directly without more stops toward the Eagle’s Eye (Bulgarian: Орлояо Око) viewpoint.
So I’ve got to change my trousers, I need the long ones for our evening tour, or I will be freezing like I don’t know what. Well, I can do so in the car, no problem. Though Karin immediately tries to convince the others that this is the new way of paying for the parking. Not really, Karin. It just doesn’t work. Maybe if she would change her trousers now too? 😀
New jeep adventures
Once more, we are booked on a jeep ride. This time to get from Yagodina to Eagle’s Eye, a rather new viewpoint which only has been established in May 2009. It is located at an altitude of 1563m next to St. Ilia (Bulgarian: Сб. Иля) peak in the Rhodope (Bulgarian: Родопи) mountains.
This time the jeep is a little newer, but that does not mean that it would include seatbelts. Yet the seats are better, and the driver’s door stays closed all the way. That is an essential safety feature!
Once more, the drive is adventurous, to say the least. Maybe not quite as crazy as the way up to Botev, but nevertheless a lot of fun.
Time is running out – the light is fading
Once we arrive at the top of the mountain, Evo hurries us to get down to the viewing platform, before the light fades.
OK, someone said hurry, so I better stop thinking about where to put my next step and just go for it. Phil points out that I am now flying down the mountainside as if I had never done anything else. Well, someone told me that I am now a mountain lion in training, so I better live up to it. Not being afraid of heights is fun, especially when it includes looking down into the 670m deep Buynovsko (Буъновско) gorge.
Not to think twice about, if entering this platform is such a good idea, but instead looking out for even better photographs is fun!
Another fantastic day comes to an end. Now it is only the drive down from the viewpoint and then a short drive to our hotel for the night. Tomorrow another adventure is waiting for us…