Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Trans Euro Trail - Bulgaria - Granchar Lake

Thursday 06th July 2017


We had a lovely relaxed start to the day next to the Belmeken lake. If you have the time it is definitely worth stopping here for a rest day. It is peaceful, beautiful and stunning. I was keen to head higher up into the mountains and so while Steve made new Bulgarian friends, I went for a run.

I headed up towards the Belmeken peak and on the way saw a 4 wheel drive track and a landrover. It is National Park here so we were not sure what the rules were about taking your vehicles off piste in the mountains. There is a huge area to explore but I was happy to be on foot this morning enjoying the wild flowers and having an amazing encounter with a fox that I managed to video for quite a while before he spotted me and I got some great photos of the Sousliks, which are gorgeous little rodents like a miniature version of an alpine marmot. So if you like wildlife it’s definitely worth getting off your bike here and exploring a little.

Steve meanwhile was busy talking to Annie and Christoph, a lovely Bulgarian couple who live in Sofia but were on their way back from travelling to Greece. They had juicy olives form Greece and fried fish, freshly caught from the lake washed down with a strong Greek spirit a bit like vodka.

We left them at lunchtime and headed up the sealed road in the van to Treshnetik. I had been looking at various tracks on the GPS and wanted to try and explore a bit more in the mountains. We headed off on a good gravel road that looked like it went to a couple of lakes and looped back round to the Granchar lake and hut/refuge.

After about 5km the route turned right up a forest trail which looked like a footpath and a bit gnarly. My aim was to really to get to Granchar so we retraced our tracks and headed back along the TET. A short distance from Treshtenik there is a good dirt road sign posted to Granchar and it is definitely worth the detour if you have time.

We wound our way higher and deeper into the valley, until we eventually arrived at the lake. It is a stunning place set against a backdrop of dramatic crags. From Granchar you can continue up to the col, which is an easy trail but quite exciting if you suffer from vertigo with quite a drop off to the side! When you reach the col you have to turn around as vehicles are not allowed past that point. It is definitely worth the ride for the views of the mountains beyond.

We head back down the refuge where we chatted to the guardian, she said they have 100 plus beds, camping food and drink. It is a fabulous place to spend the night and if we had known about it beforehand we would have stayed there. They don’t have electricity or showers so as long as you don’t expect this it is a great place to rest for the night. For us though it was back to the van and onwards so we could ride our next section of the TET tomorrow.