The first part of the hike was an uphill slog through the forest. Eventually, the forest opened up to views of the surrounding mountains.
One of the coolest things we saw on the first day of the hike were these tiny houses built into the hillside. In the middle of nowhere, the houses undoubtedly are without electricity and running water. It can't be an easy life, particularly in winter.
Our first night was spent in Хижа Иван Вазов (the Ivan Vazov Hut). It was a steady, seven hour, uphill hike to the hut from the monastery.
The area around the hut was fairly scenic.
But it paled in comparison to the Seven Lakes.