If some can describe these five days researching and filming with five words would be – four days of rain, one sunny. Just kidding. Really, it’s rained four days, but every day we managed to find something new. But let me start from the beginning.
We start on Tuesday before noon with two cars – I with Viktor, and Krasy with Alex. We got together and shop in Stambolovo, then went to Kovan Kaya to look for a place to camp. Judging by the smell were nearby have vulture feeding spot and quickly dropped this idea. 2 years ago I went here with a bike (VeloRhodope 2013) on a dirt roadalong river and mention that. We ask in gravel dredge till complex Perpera about spot and they show as cottonwood and willow tree with wonderful flat space between them, and few times specify to not make camp next to the river. We erect big Alex tent and become dark… And the river which hour ago has 30 m from us, come not more that 5 m.
Wednesday. Krasy wanted to rappelling on an Arch cliff in protected area Oreshari to check some information about Arch ceiling. But we decided to go first to see place, before going with technology and equipment through the bushes. Still again make a bushing to come at the edge over a cliff. I let down one 15 m thin rope on presume center of Arch and start searching where are niches under us. Cliff is limestone, but still don’t have many natural holds and hoops, and flora near edge has more shrubby. Again, the main thought rappelling down will be about the root system of my fixture… And after looking on top, the rest goes to cars to see way to bottom of Arch from the road, and I go around rocks through bushes. As in good old times, without path to 3-4 small caves. Arch is impressive and on walls, floor, big rock fall from the ceiling and cave next you may see signs of the centuries-old use for living and guarding of the valley. Here are make some excavations and research by archaeologists, found artifacts from the Neolithic period to the Middle Ages. And on falling rock next to the cave has a sign from niche below and holes for beams from the upper side. We find and niches on a cliff and I pleased to see that maybe this will be the first niches to which we can climb from down. Start raining a little bit and go back to camp. As much as we tried, our path led not down to the road, but to that part of the “back” of the plateau. Before becoming dark, we make little walk along the river and almost go to Rabovo. Not find other niches, but I like rocks from the other side on the river to visit, and see some cliff with board about two rock tombs there. But the biggest discovery has a field with peppers. At evening we make a big campfire around start making plans about next days and entertained in them drink all brandy in camp.
Thursday. Again dark day. The three cameraman’s go to Madzarovo for batteries and other important stuffs, because last night wail in Facebook – “Distress. We finished the brandy!” nobody takes seriously. I ask to leave me next to Iron bridge and go to rock that I seen the previous evening. When arrive, I see niches, a little bit hidden. And in bottom of rock a small cave. Interesting around cave entrance have again holes for beams for shelter or to approach niches. I take the shortest way to top and climb on unstable and falling stones. Walking on a ridge of rock, I start to notice small leaks and drain engraves on the rock. I was on no wide, but a long rock plateau, which is so similar with Belintash, but more modest size. I felt like a real explorer. Definitely, I find Rock Sanctuary about which may be only local archaeologists know. Eventually. But when I have seen A Stone phallus and “Shell” shelter become ecstatic. Fast return to camp to show what I see and on the way meet perched near a pair of vultures.
Friday. Last night still we received support from Sofia. Mila brings as some delicious dishes. But on the way back Krasy need to drive a car. We with Alex and Viktor decide to make the little research walk to Gouk in cave. They had been filming already there, but I have only seen rock from the road.. . A creek that missing last day, now become a river and little obstacle, but surmountable. We rich rock and enter in a cave. Niches inside are very mystify, and on the bottom have a pond, for which rock is curved to collect water. Definitely is the use of religious practices.
We also have been seen other niches in a small gulch next to cave from the road and try to find. And we find amazing canyon. Niches has on the edge of a large rock niche. We not rich end of the canyon, but after a half hour fight with rocks and bushes go back on the road not more 100 m from an ordinary spot that we left a car. This time car wait as next to Iron bridge…
In afternoon Alex go to Haskovo to take Krasy and Margo, which come from Sofia with bus. We with Viktor decide to see rock tombs, about which I think from Wednesday. Both with GoPro in hands explore rocks and find tombs. First one is with visible from far entrance and inside with two strange transversal grooves. Another… Eh, you need some imagination to see tomb, but on walls have a lot petroglyphs. From recent time (20 c) have curved years and crescent, but in oldest I think see crest and assume tombs are from late Roman eras. Back in camp coincided with the arrival of Alex, Krasy and Margo. We picked pepper for salad and sit in the tent for some gossip and dinner.
Saturday. With Margo come and good weather. Again we go to Oreshari cliff and I make ropes to rappel down. I use terrain flatness, but rope go a little bit in left from niches and possible ground under them on wich I need to step and rich. But going down, little after edge I find something that surprise me and birth phrase – I think find Mother of all niches… Little down I understand that is hard to land on rock edging under niches and climb back to them. Rope pull me in other direction, but I step on rock and photograph and measure some niches. At nigh around campfire we tolk about we found this day in front on cameras.
Sunday. Originally these have a lot of spots and area to filming this week, but rain keep as here all the time. Early morning Alex wake me with phone call, that they with Krasy wait as on Arch edge and we with Viktor go directly. I look in other side of tent for Margo, but she absent and I assume that she is with others. But not. At end we gather together and go to edge. All valley has covered with fog еand we over it. All we make fantastic photos, and Alex fly with drone for some spectaculars footage. Again tie the rope on some place and another one for Alex to be close to edge and see drone under precipice. And me and Krasy rappel down to “Mother of all niches” for some details and measure. At last day weather has wonderfully. In early afternoon, finish footage, collect camp and go back to Sofia. It’s was wet, but unforgettable week and definitely, no mater how many time I been here, want to return. Hope soon.