Spring in the Mountains, 1999

on Mount Vitosha

We live in Sofia, Bulgaria's capital, at the base of Mt. Vitosha. There are a number of ski trails all over the mountain, and skiers are only a bus ride away from Sofia's largest city to the lift stations. We decided to go for a hike on the mountain one sunny day in April, not knowing there was a downhill ski/snowboard tournament that day. Here we are near the finish area.

Rich at the hizha

Also in April, I went for a weekend with Rali's dad, Johnny, and a university classmate of his, Ivo, to Maliovitsa, in the Rila Mountains. It was still very cold, so the snow wasn't wet, which was good because it was still 1-1.5 meters deep. Visibility was low, so we didn't do much hiking into the really high places, but on the morning we left, the weather was perfect. Unfortunately, we were headed back down, not up. Here I am on the morning we left.

In the woods on the way home

Did I mention the weather was perfect? The snow was deep, the mountain was silent, and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. Here I am on the trail back down the mountain.

Jackie doesn't eat on the floor

The trip to Maliovitsa was so pleasant that Rali, Jackie, and I went back the following weekend to spend Orthodox Easter far from the crowds. A week made a big difference in the weather, though. The snow had just started to melt, so it was still very, very deep, but now it was wet and unstable. Hiking was difficult because we would occasionally sink into the snow past mid-thigh without warning. We stayed close to the hizha ("hut" or "chalet") for the most part. Again, the weather was perfect the day we left. This photo was of our Easter dinner. We brought supplies for sandwiches and were served lentil soup as well. No, Jackie didn't eat my soup, although she was curious about it.

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