Diary Entry 4
The next morning we get up early and, in the light of the first rays of sun, walk with our luggage along the road to the Vihren hut. We take a room and leave our luggage there so that we can deal with only the most essential things today. It will go to the highest mountain of the Pirin, because the mountain of the same name Vihren. Before that, there is a good breakfast in our previous hut.
The climb is difficult. It’s a steep uphill. First through a pine forest, then up a slope made of gravel. The flies and mosquitoes hardly leave us alone. A very sporty couple overtook us and came towards us again after a while as we struggled up the scree.
The two people have the same goal as us, namely the summit of the highest mountain, but the path here seems to be wrong. They point to the right path on the other side of the slope, the direct access of which is blocked by loose rocks and dense bushes.
Morale is down, but it doesn’t help. We have to risk another dangerous descent to get back on the right track. We are constantly slipping on the loose surface and there is hardly anything to hold on to.
We throw our luggage to each other so that each one has less weight, and with great effort we reach the point where we have already been to take the other path, which is barely visible and not marked. I’m having breathing problems and I realize I won’t make it to the top today.
We’re moving incredibly slowly. The path is steep and difficult, there is hardly any shade, but a lot of dust, the flies swarm around us in swarms and the mosquitoes are replaced by horseflies, whose bite is extremely painful.
We take a lot of breaks for water and new strength. Uwe was convinced that half a liter would be enough for the day, so I carried two more liters because I knew they were necessary and we don’t know how often we can find sources. I was constantly running out of strength for that, which I can’t explain to myself. Maybe there are still after-effects of the Covid-19 vaccination, maybe despite all the hikes in the Black Forest and Switzerland in recent times due to Corona, I have been so unsportsmanlike that this burden is now too great. Old age sets in where it used to be irrelevant what I did or ate. This is how time goes by.
On the way we suddenly meet a couple of chamois, which then suddenly gallop past us again. Then it goes steeply uphill again. Uwe is in top condition and I notice his additional motivation from my weakness. Otherwise he will run after them.
Then there is ice in front of us where the path should be and we laboriously climb around the field so that we don’t risk slipping or breaking in. After the group of rocks behind it, the next field follows and we look in awe of the steep north side of the Wichren mountain and numerous other snow fields. Suddenly we hear a voice above us: “What are you looking for?”.
The voice belongs to a weird-looking guy who is missing a front tooth and a shirt and who has glasses that are way too small on the frame on his nose. He is a bird watcher and in our eyes a weird bird himself who has spent too much time alone among the rocks and now wants to share a lot of things with someone. It takes a while before we can break away from the guy and start our way to the refuge, which is a milestone to the summit.
Since Uwe is still keen to try out his newly acquired condition, I offer him to go ahead a little while I wait with him at the hut. We both decide that climbing the summit with the snow is not a good idea. And my condition is at the end. I wait a while while Uwe does a lap until we start the descent again. Physically this is completely easy for me again.
When we return, the owner of the hut is waiting for newcomers with freshly squeezed orange juice. While we are sipping it one by one, we notice a world tour finished Land Rover Defender with Bonn license plates. We can’t help but speak to the owner immediately.
Uli tells us that he is on vacation and that he is spending it in the Balkans with the wheelchair. He also proudly shows us the expansion of his car, the roof tent and the interior. We spend a nice evening with our stories and have fun with Ulis electric fly swatter, with which we keep all mosquitos in the area off our necks with pleasure.