Jen asked a while ago whether I longed to return to Pamporovo, Bulgaria, (close to the Greek border), so I could have some fun on the rock wall, the via ferrata. We discovered this gem of a place 4 years earlier and I will admit I became quite besotted with the endeavor. It brought back memories of my dear Mother who probably encouraged this form of activity, or some might even think, misbehavior. When young, it was not unusual for Mom to utter ‘Jeffrey, you are driving me up the wall.’ Maybe, I’m continuing her tradition of climbing (driving up?) walls. Now I can see how challenging, helpful and stimulating I was to my mother. Unfortunately, she never complimented me or even acknowledged favorably my contribution to her climbing activities. Well, in all other aspects she was wonderful.
Across town, Jen reaches the first meaningful waterfall. For her next trick she will attempt to climb the wall. She did it in the picture above. She'll be wearing rubber gloves to avoid wetting her hands and scraping her nails. Watch carefully!
Meantime, back at the wall, he attempts to emulate Jenni but with far less grace.
The next waterfall is higher, more spectacular, but less powerful than we witnessed previously.
Two calm lakes and a beautiful environment on view as we reach a high edge.
This is the highpoint of the Cascades hike. In the distance to the left is the via ferrata. Below is the City of Smolyan which lies snug in the valley.
While you may have been viewing earlier pictures, he continues to move upwards, now stretching for the next rung, hoping that the builder used sufficient bonding.
To the left is the City of Smolyan, safe and maybe feeling a little smug.
Jen above another waterfall, standing on the bridge. Unfortunately, the maintenance on many of the bridges and ladders is poor. We notice many broken structures along the circular hike which is worrisome.
While the River Jordan is deep and wide, this one much less so.
Taking a closer look at the waterfall from the other side of the stream.
Jen captures me explaining to a local woman that in order to descend the steep part of the rock safely, she should take the less dangerous path where her friend stands. The crowd is gathered at the zipline. This is where my command of the Bulgarian language is so useful. Da!
Wonderful place to live: the outskirts of Smolyan.
When we discovered this activity, quite by chance, we returned a few times to pursue it. On each occasion, we were the only ones at the wall. Why this is important is that we wondered whether restrictions are in effect upon participants, namely, the need for safety ropes, helmets, a harness, gloves, licences, etc. In the area, there are a few warning signs including prohibitions but only on other activities. None apply on the ‘via ferrata’ although we did not undertake an extensive search. Using some sense, we ensured that each rung was firmly cemented as we climbed. Fortunately, it all worked out well.
Jen arriving at the peak after another extremely steep ascent, greeted by the tower.
The current 'Queen of Bulgaria', (may it not rain so much), hikes up a different ski slope at Studenets on another occasion, arriving at Snezhanka Tower.
Some places look safe and comfortable...perhaps, only from afar.