02/08/2013 Training/playing again!
Yesterday I finally got to the top of Peak Djangal 2730m. A long day all in all with maybe 8 hours of hiking and climbing as we tried to find a route up the hill. There are a few relatively clearly marked trails for people to use but none of them are really that exciting. So from Popovo lake we headed straight up the north face and with lots of pottering around and trying out of different options. On the way up we found some lovely granite slabs that were full of crystals that made for some great climbing practice. Close to the top there were still some large patches of snow but nothing that got in our way. I think summer 2013 is one of the coldest and wettest I have ever seen. This has made the hiking really beautiful this year as everything is so green and lush all sorts of flowers are out bigger brighter and longer than normal and while the meadows would normally be burnt brown, now they are still green carpets dotted with wild flowers!
Di got to the top about ten minutes before me by following the westerly ridge for the last little bit. I didn't really like the look of that way much so followed a lovely wide, zig-zaging path up the middle of the face which unfortunately ended with a tiny problem! 5 vertical meters below the top the path stopped and turned into in a wall of soft saggy turf which at ground level would have been a matter of 4 steps up onto nice clean rock. With a few hundred meters of cliff below me those 4 soft saggy little steps become a little more daunting, I totally lost my bottle. Di came down to where I was to see what was taking me so long and found a quivering mess hanging onto the rock. Rope unpacked and a few words of encouragement and soon we were both sat on the top. Djangal is a fantastically positioned mountain high enough and central enough to give some great views of most of Pirin, a glimpse of Greece and a little look over into Macedonia.
The route down proved a little fraught as we decided that to follow one of the proper trails would be boring! So after a few false starts we found what looked like a goat trail down towards Popovo lake and yup it was definitely a goat trail. So with lots of shuffling on our bums and hanging on by fingertips we eventually got down to a proper trail. Evening time high up in Pirin is a truly magical time all the hikers are safely home and most of the birds and beasties are either going to sleep or just waking up. The long march back to Bez Bog was lovely and cool with a gentle breeze for most of the way and an ice cold beer at the hut really topped off a great day.
Things were not to end on such a high note as on the plod down the piste to the car we were to find that evening time lower down in Pirin is for some a very active and aggressive time of day. Thousands upon thousands of mosquitoes were waking up to the joyous sight of some fresh meat. The assault was phenomenal and relentless.