Beautiful scenery in the Rila mountains
Beautiful scenery in the Rila mountains

Peak 10: Musala
Musala is the highest peak of the Rila mountains which itself is the third highest mountain range of Europe (behind Caucasus and Alps). I expected a real challenge so I set of early in the morning from Borovets). The trek up to the 2925m high peak was 13km long and about 1600hm up. I decided to take the bike as far as I could so I had a chance to ride downhill on the way back. The path was really a more like a gravel road and the actual hiking path only started around kilometer 8. I took the bike until this point, pushing it about half of the way but I don't think it cost me a lot of time. I locked the bike to the fence of a ski lift station and set of for the final ascent. It was still early and hence really peaceful and quiet. The nature and scenery were amazing.

On the last kilometre: steep ascent but secured by steel ropes
On the last kilometre: steep ascent but secured by steel ropes

For the next kilometer the path was very wet and muddy. So I was happy when I reached the snow which only started at around 2300m altitude. This time it was very hard and hence easy to walk on. I quickly passed the next kilometer before reaching the final steep part. The conditions were still perfect, the weather was great and it was a very enjoyable which in turn made it very easy. Just 4 hours after leaving in the morning I had already reached the top and enjoyed the stunning view over the mountains. 

The Musala peak at 2925m
The Musala peak at 2925m

It was very peaceful and quiet on the top. I felt very happy; after a few failures on previous peaks I really wanted to reach this one. And although it was significantly higher it felt really easy and was a lot of fun. What a difference the good weather makes. I also got new confidence for the mountains that lay ahead.

My bike parking spot
My bike parking spot

I only had to walk down for 5km to where I left my bike. The final 8km I could ride down on the mountain bike and found a lot of nice trails of medium difficulty on the sides of the way that I came up.

All in all this was a great day out, just how I imagined it could be when I originally planned my trip to China.