I love to hike. It’s weird because as a kid there was nothing more that I wanted to do than sit in my bedroom and read a book. Get out into nature? Uh, no. I’ll take my Babysitters Club and read forever, thankyouverymuch. I was such a bookworm as a kid that many of my books have food stains (ew, I know) because I read at the table every chance I could get. I couldn’t even stop reading while I was eating! Now that I am a Grown Adult*, I still love to read, but thankfully I have diversified my interests.
*may not actually be an adult
Appalachian Trail, y’all
Mainly, I like to nature. Can nature be a verb? I like all things outside (afară! I know that word!): hiking, camping, drinking on patios, you name it. If it’s a beautiful day, I have a really hard time justifying staying inside. What can I say? I’m solar powered.
My mother and I freezing to death on Blood Mountain – New Year’s Day 2015
Now, our mountains in Georgia are nothing like the mountains in Romania. Sure, they used Zărnești as a stand in for North Carolina for Cold Mountain, and I won’t deny they look an awful lot the same…but our mountains are like baby mountains compared to the Carpathians. Little, innocent, soft…baby mountains. The Appalachians are just so sweet.
Indian Seats, Sawnee Mountain, Georgia
Down in Georgia where I live, we have the Blue Ridge mountain range. The mountains really do look blue. It’s really gorgeous. But when it comes to mountains, I’m craving something…more. Something bigger. Something wilder. Something…Romanian.
Tampa Mountain…not a mountain?
Last summer, I had the pleasure to walk up a few Romanian mountains. First, I walked up Tampa thrice – but I have been informed that Tampa isn’t really a mountain (or is it? debate away). I walked up Postăvarul – straight up, no trails (YOLO) – and I almost died. No, I didn’t, but it really challenged me.
Postavarul, owned (j/k it kicked my ass)
I also got to hike up Piatra Mare after going through the Șapte Scări canyon. Piatra Mare was also a huge challenge, but I had a guide (the very best ever) who was very patient with me while I was sucking so much air. Thankfully, the trail up is wooded and shady. Lots of good places to take a break from wheezing.
Damn, Romania. There you go again with that natural beauty…
Look at this ass on the top of Piatra Mare! And there’s a donkey, too!
Șapte Scări, by the way, is incredible. I am deathly afraid of heights (ironic for someone who enjoys standing on the tops of mountains), but I made it up all of the ladders. I was more proud of myself that I got up the ladders than I was getting up Piatra Mare….
Right this way to my very own version of Fear Factor
Sapte Scari Canyon
Now I get to make my list for this year.
What mountains will I climb in 2016?
I have a pretty long wish list, but the obvious number one is:
Home of Plaiul Foii where you can get the most amazing Papanasi.
I’ve been staring at this mountain a long, long time. Is this desire? Yes, yes it is.
Whoa, whoa, whoa. I have to digress here. Upon googling these mountains, I stumbled upon all these conspiracy theories. There is some sort of occult interest in an “unexplored” area of the Bucegi mountains. A convergence of energy? Secret tunnels? Giants? We were there in December and how did I miss all of this? All I saw was snow and Gendarmerie 😦
Lizard People?? Uh, now I’m definitely going hiking there.
How did I fall down this rabbit hole? There’s holograms inside of Bucegi. Left for us by GIANTS. It’s real, people. There’s evidence. Now my YouTube suggestions are all weird 😦
Here is one mastiff that I’m not very familiar with. It’s located in Neamţ and is a very popular range for hiking. According to this article, there are seven trails for hikers. If you don’t feel like camping in a tent, there are a few chalets and refuges on the mountain. I’m very interested in those chalets. Not that I don’t like camping…I’ve just never stayed in a chalet before. Also, to my consonant riddled American ears, the world chalet just sounds fancy. Chalet. So many vowel sounds. I digress. Look at this beauty:
Retezat National Park
source: misulica via deviant art
These mountains are located in the Transylvanian Alps near Hunedoara. There are so many opportunities for hiking and camping here, I think you could probably spend a week exploring. Although I’m not a climber, there are some pretty cool hikes that include some actual mountain climbing. I’ll add those to my to-do list for when I ever get over my fear of heights.
I would love some other suggestions about where to go for great hikes in Romania. I would love to know more about the great outdoors in western/southwestern Romania. I haven’t really been out that way yet, and I’d love to go explore. If you have an idea, please leave it in the comments.