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The attractions of the Piatra Mare Massif

Published by Șchiopu Monica — 9 days ago

Blog: Places of Romania
Tags: Erasmus blog Brasov, Brasov, Romania

Where to start the adventure in the Piatra Mare massif?

Today’s adventure starts in Timișu De Jos, more precisely in a place called “Dâmbul Morii”, a tourist resort located near Brașov. To reach this location you can either use the train if you come from Bucharest or Brașov or, of course, the car, the road that passing by “Dâmbul Morii” being DN1 or E60.

What you can see in these mountains?

There are not a few natural tourist attraction in the area among which to mention are ’’Canionul 7 Scari”, the “Piatra Mare Hut”, the “Piatra Mare” peak where the highest altitude of the massif is reached, “Șirul Stâncilor” translated as “The string of ropes”, the “Bunloc meadow”, a place from where people with lot of courage can try to learn paragliding.

The "7 stairs" canyon, a famous destination in Piatra Mare

Canionul 7 scări” or in English, “The 7 Stairs canyon” is with no doubt the most known and looked for attraction around here. Indeed, the canyon with its waterfalls and rocky steep cliffs is spectacular as well as challenging because people have to climb on metal steep stairs to get through the canyon, but if you want to enjoy the nature deeper and in a more silent way, the rest of the Piatra Mare massif offers plenty of natural formations, beautiful forests, picturesque paths and endless landscapes over the surroundings.

My friends and I experience in the canyon: how to get there and when?

I have visited and experience the 7 stairs canyon a couple of years ago and I remember it as an awesome happening because I enjoyed with my friends and family. To get to the canyon, from  “Dâmbul Morii”, we followed the yellow stripe tourist marking, walk through a wonderful forest and arrive at the beginning of the canyon in about 1 hour. Here, we payed an entrance fee witch cost 5 lei – meaning around 1 euro – for students and 10 lei for non-students or adults. The visiting hours of the „7 Stairs canyon” are between 10.00 AM and 18.00 PM.

There were many people visiting the canyon back then and I assume that now, especially in the weekend the place gets really crowded, that’s why, in my opinion is better to go there during the week and in the weekend I propose you to explore the other surroundings which are worth seeing and discovering particularly for those who are nature lovers and landscape seekers.

The beginning of the trail: taking the "drumul familiar" route 

The place where I begin my mountain journey is „Dâmbul Morii”. From here, after looking at the tourist indicators, I turn left and follow the red stripe marking, a route also known as „Drumul Familiar”, that’s how you will find it on the maps. I enter the forest, a very beautiful and peaceful one, there is nobody on the trail beside the members of my family and myself.

Dealing with dogs in the Romanian mountains 

The only being we encounter is a dog, sheep dog which that will show us the way until we would reach the “Piatra Mare Hut”. The dog is a she, a very kind girl which I name Maxina, she becomes our guide and protector.

You should known that, unfortunately or not, in Romania’s mountain you can meet such dogs on the foot paths; they usually belong to the people working in the forest, to the mountain huts or to the shepherds and the dogs are following the tourists because they are either hungry and want food, are lost and want to get to their homes or are just looking for a good company.

Since I walk on the paths of the mountains, about 3 or 4 times, dogs have join me on the way. In most of the times, the dogs belonging to the shepherds are really dangerous, more perilous than the wild animals for example, to the point that these dogs are with no fear attacking the tourists which are getting closer to their territory. My advice in this situation is to inform yourself about the sheepfolds that might be on the trail you are walking on and to try to go further away from the sheepfolds so that the dogs can not feel you around.

Arriving at the Piatra Mare Hut

After going up through the forest for about 2 hours and a half I come across a wide meadow in which, in the middle of, is place a little house, the “Piatra Mare Hut”. This is probably the smallest mountain cottage I have been to, but it is at the same time very simply, beautiful, having many nice details like the edelweiss flowers with which the windows are decorated.

A warm and cozy atmosphere

Inside, the hut gets even more prettier and, coming from the cold outside, the atmosphere is warm and welcoming. The interior space is not large, but is nicely and specific decorated with wooden furniture, green painted walls on which are hanging photographs taken in the around area, and many various lamps and other old vintage objects. The hut is with no doubt, the most coziest I have been to its appearance being carefully cared for.

I take a break at the hut for rest and a hot tea. Outside it gets kind of cloudy and the rain seems to come, but after the 30 minutes I leave behind “Cabana Piatra Mare” which is positioned at on altitude of 1630 meters and continue on the same trail marked with the red stripe in an aim of climbing the “Piatra Mare” peak.

Climbing up towards the Piatra Mare peak

The terrain starts to change, between the tall trees are showing of the cliffs of the mountain. I have to pay an extra attention to the pathway which is getting steeper and rocky. Same portions of the trail include a bit of rock climbing, a thing that might seem difficult at first, but I actually enjoy it so much.

One spot I stop by is called “Șura de Piatră”, a place with gigantic cliffs which are very imposing and impressive. From here, looking in the distance, I notice how high in attitude I am, more precisely at about 1700 meters and, of course, all around me many landscapes including the surrounding mountains are opening up, creating wonderful views.

Reaching the alpine meadow and being closer to the highest peak

After an energizing break to catch my breath while admiring the scenery and taking plenty of photographs, I move forward, still climbing to a rocky difficult, but pleasant portion of the trail. Soon, there are no steep cliff to go up anymore, but a more plain terrain as I approach the alpine meadow. Hiking on the alpine hollow I just stop a multitude of times to take photos of the moving clouds and the fog which seem to be very playful, going from one direction to another, climbing or descending the mountain quite fast.

Sheeps and dogs

Shortly, I hear dogs barking and also appearing in the distance, in the direction I need to go to. Luckily, the shepherd is close and calls the dogs to him even if all they want is to bark at us. My father helps with spreading the dogs away, by shouting a specific sentence that the shepherds are usually using and which seem to work in this situation. So we cross successfully through the pack of dogs.

Finally, the top of the mountain!

I finally reach the Piatra Mare peak, thus the altitude of 1843 meters. The clouds are still playing on the sky, but at different times, I have the opportunity to take a look in the distance either at the other ridges of the massif or further where I can see the Postăvaru Massif and the large city of Brașov spreading at its foot the Bucegi Mountains and the Baiului Mountains.

What you do on the top of the mountain? You eat your sandwiches and biscuits, take lots of photos and in the end feel sorry that you have to descend it. Unfortunately, the weather gets really muddy and I don’t spend a lot of time on the mountain peak, but instead, decide to start going down so the rain wouldn’t caught me in an exposed open place. As closer I would have move back to the Piatra Mare Hut, the better would have been for my safety, but, suddenly, as I am descending the mountain, the weather improves and the sun begins to shine through the clouds. Is this a joke or what? Anyway, I feel happy that there is no rain creating an inconvenience to the journey, thus I can continue on discovering new parts of these large and special mountain massif.

Going down on another hiking route: the blue stripe

I follow the same trail back until the Piatra Mare Hut, but than instead of following the red stripe on which I have climbed the mountain in the morning, I am guided by the blue stripe which leads me beside the Piatra Mică peak and than to a green stunning forest which looks so old and untouched.

At same point, the foot path narrows and the tall coniferous trees are transforming the aspect of the forest into an enchanted like appearance. Walking among here feels so comfortable and relaxing. What an astounding nature! I simply love it and, actually, whenever I am liking, my favorite parts of the journey, are always the woods and all of their little details of vegetation and life.

The ice cave: can we go inside or not? 

I find and indicator showing the direction to “Peștera de Gheață” (The ice cave) and, because there are only 15 minutes until the cave, I decide to give it a try. I meet a person standing outside the entrance of the cave and he is telling me that another person, his friend, is now inside the cave, but there is no possibility to go in it without having a special equipment and of course, training in such things. I surely believe him since the opening of the cave, the entrance, is a tall narrow crack in a rocky wall. I am asking myself why this cave I mentioned in the tourist circuit if is definitely dangerous for normal people to enter it?

Since the Ice cave is positioned on the blue stripe trail, I continue forward and walk for maybe 2 hours through same wild dense forests and if my family would not have been joining me, I would have been indeed kind of afraid to hike these places.

Who has the courage to try paragliding in the Bunloc meadow?

Beyond “Culmea Arsă” I am finally out of the woods and I come across the Bunloc Meadows at an altitude of 1170 meters. Somehow I am relieved that I am no longer in that shady and chilly forest. Here the weather is completely changed and up in the blue clear shy are starting to appear paragliders. How they are flying is extraordinary and very interesting to watch. I just discover, without even thinking about it, a popular paragliding center named “Paramania’ and after a quick search I discover that here people can learn or try this activity by either following their courses or by taking the courage to your first tandem flight.

Finishing the full day of trekking through the Piatra Mare massif 

From the ruins of the former Bunloc Hut I can see where I’ve been today, the entire Piatra Mare massif with its peaks and valleys being visible. I am quite amazed by how much I hiked, but the journey doesn’t stop here yet. I change the tourist marking, the blue stripe, with the blue triangle and enter a forest again, but the foot path is decent and in about 1 hour I arrive in “Dâmbul Morii”, the place where I have started my hiking in the morning.

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