I have always been in love with extreme situations. I have always enjoyed the adrenalin rush, flavored by the taste of danger. Recently I was presented with an opportunity, offering me the chance to experience the aforementioned excitements. I was invited to join an expedition, an expedition to climb the highest peak in my country Bulgaria, named Musala . Without any hesitation I accepted. I was filled with excitement and anticipation. There was only one small problem, and it was known as “extreme weather”.This year’s winter was the most severe winter for the past 15-20 years ( take that global warming). As I said a minor drawback, or so I would like to delude myself. Take into mind that I am not an experienced climber, unlike the other four guys from the group, and aware of the risks, my decision to participate in this expedition was a bit idiotic, but my manic desire of taking a picture of the sunset, standing on a mountain crown, was too much to withstand.
The sun was up in the sky, the roads were clear and full of confidence we were on our way to conquer the summit. I had everything I thought I will need for the expedition, warm clothes, provisions and the trusty camera gear on my back. We were facing a 5 mile journey through the mountain. Without any further a do, we began climbing. Despite all the snow, the first couple of miles were consumed without any difficulties whatsoever. The journey so far was full of tremendous landscapes and unusual silence.
So far it was easy, pleasant and joyful. We made a small break to recover our strength. Nevertheless the terrain was slowly changing into violent, ferocious and cruel.No longer was I able to enjoy the beauty I was surrounded with. My feet were frozen, my backpack heavy and my spirit broken. I realized I had no other choice but to continue without complaining. I knew we were close, I was able to see the summit, covered with clouds of snow, looking at me with disapproval.
Our progress was slow, but determine. It was time for me to use my secret weapon, a small bottle full of rum, after a few sips, the magical fluid run through my veins the same way molten lava runs through a block of ice. At last, I felt relieve, the cold was melting away, far from my mind and body. It was almost 4 o’clock in the afternoon, we had to fasten our pace if we were to reach the summit on time. Forty-five minutes later we were standing in front of the refuge hut, strategically positioned beneath the summit, our resting station and shelter for the night. We were closer than ever. Only 600 meters away from our prolonged destination, we entered the rest house and ordered some tea. It was a kind of tea, I am not familiar with, but it tasted good, lip-smacking, refine somehow. After 15 minutes of warmth and comfort we continued our journey. We were already behind schedule, the odds of failure were increasing, and to make things even worse, those last 600 meters were the hardest part of the route. We had no professional mountaineer equipment, only a rope. At some point the muscles of my body were completely out-of-order. I was struggling my way up the steep path, the sun was about to set any minute now, every second was priceless. Only one hundred meters left, I was exhausted and left behind from the group, I couldn’t keep up with them, I needed to rest. I felt disappointed, naive and embarrassed. Perhaps I overestimated myself. The taste of shame was on my lips, bitter, unpleasant. Suddenly, out of the blue a second rope was dropped down, I was told to hang my back pack on it. The moment I removed it from my shoulders, I felt lighter and more maneuverable than a Colibri Bird. I galloped my way up, I had a sunset to catch up with.
Finally I have reached the top of the mountain. I set in the snow with my tripod in front of me. The sunset was impatient, eager to be photographed. It must’ve been around (-25 degrees Celsius) but I wasn’t able to experience cold at that moment, as if I was immune to it. The only thing I was able to feel at that particular moment was pure satisfaction. I was entirely absorbed in a world of my own, standing 2925 meters above sea level.