For most people May is not a month to go skiing or snowboarding. The ski resorts no longer offer any conditions and for all who ever wondered what is the ski track like without the snow – they can get the answers.
On the verge of the new season in Bulgaria we recall the breath-taking snow trip we organized in May. While the first tourists are already lying on the sand at Sunny Beach, we depart for the highest peak in the Rhodope Mountain – Perelik. Boarding the cult Russian UAZ van that preserves long and interesting memories from the past decades (but is still one of the few vehicles that can get us to the top in the harsh road conditions we expect), we leave the already greenish scenery of Shiroka Laka and enter a long snow tunnel which represents the road to the Perelik hut some 2000 meters above sea level. We are lucky this road is not very popular at this time of the year because there is only one lane in the ‘tunnel’ and meeting another car creates a dead end. Getting at the top we are welcomed by the stationed military guards which are happy to see some fresh presence in the region after the long and lonely winter. And the actual journey starts here.
Sliding up the slope instead of going down is not easy. But it is one of those moments where a man or a woman really challenges oneself. The snow is deep and yet soft; temperatures are above zero but the wind and the occasional fog still recall the winter; the barking dogs of the nearby secret military base (for which nobody should talk) remind you that you are crossing their well-guarded territory. After hours of trekking up and down the slopes without losing our great mood and sense of humour, we arrive. And right there, a few meters away from the edge – that is where we can truly find peace. Everything is left down on the road, every one put on hold his worries and problems and treasure this small but priceless moment of natural and unique joy. Nothing can take away this feeling.
At some point we have to start the descent. This is the ‘official’ goal of the expedition after all. The signs of the massive avalanches that have been bursting in the previous weeks are still there. We take our time leaving space for each of us to select his preferred line down the slope. The gully gets tighter and tighter and in the end we are welcomed by the first pine trees which mark the border between the snow desert and the cosy atmosphere of the fresh forest. Following the small river bed, we know it would take us to the right place. Using the huge trees we slalom swiftly but still try to keep our distance. After a while, a vast meadow appears in front of us. But we use every snowflake left to get to the end. Some people can never get enough.
Someone said that it is the journey that actually matters and not the destination. In this case, the destination was the same as our starting point. But once we finalize the journey and go back home, we know we do not come back with empty hands. Or more precisely – hearts and minds.
For more information about Perelik spot and pictures from the described snow trip, please visit the following link.