(01.-04.05.2014, Retezat, cabana Pietrele)

I was soooo happy to go on this trek trip! I had spent my weekends translating and the night before we left I sent in my translation and I felt free and happy. A huge stone had been lifted off my weekends and free evenings and we were ready for adventure, for being in the mountains again, for spending awesome time with friends again.

The drive to Cârnic was fun and not that long. Like always, we talked and talked and talked. It was great to catch up with Dana, since we don’t see each other that often. Then the walk till the cabin was easy and we got to see a very pretty waterfall and to go upstream. I like mountain rivers: they are so fast and powerful and loud.

Pietrele hut has to be the most fancy hut I’ve stayed at. It didn’t have a shower, but it had a proper toilet (not outside :D) and a bathroom with iiiicccceeee cold water, but still, it was a bathroom. And the food was great! Those fries, that jam, that mămăligă!

It was May the 1st, right? We were expecting some snow on the mountain tops, but instead we had a proper winter trek. I think that about 70% of the time we walked on snow. My boots are not made for walking on/in snow. My boots got wet. I got cranky. I acted like the most spoiled brat on earth. I was silly and annoying. I am sorry.

On the first day we wanted to reach the peak Peleaga (2509 m). At the hut Bogdan met some people he knew, so all of the sudden there were like 12 of us or something. I have to admit I wasn’t very thrilled about it – it’s one thing to go with such a large group of friends and another thing to have to wait or have the same breaks with strangers. Alas, we all tried to reach the peak which was surrounded by menacing storm clouds. After we reached the ridge (no biggie till there, just a steep trek through snow) I had a little meltdown. I kept thinking about Jon Krakauer’s book Into Thin Air and imagining that Peleaga was our Everest, where bad things would happen. I felt completely unprepared, both equipment-wise and physically. When we started going up the peak I was angry and frustrated. I didn’t want to be there. I hated that my feet were wet. I hated that we had to wait in a freezing mad wind for the other people to stop and eat (wtf?!). I hated everything about that peak. But I continued to follow the others towards the peak, higher and higher. There were some boys in the front who led the way and I was very careful to step right into their footprints in the snow. But at one point we stopped. The only guy who had more experience said that it was dangerous to cross the snow slope, that an avalanche might start. I have to admit I was relieved. While we were worming our way back, a blizzard started. Fog, snow, wind – it only made my feeling of impending doom grow even stronger. I had to remind myself over and over again that to my left  was a very steep slope, that I shouldn’t trust my eyes, which told me that it was a straight path; instead I had to lean on my right side, towards the mountain, and NOT step outside our path in the snow. By the time we reached the ridge, I was both scared shitless and relieved. The way down was a real pleasure: I took a more direct approach and simply ran down the slope, sometimes falling in the big fluffy snow, sometimes reaching a crazy speed. Needless to say that I was the first one down, with Adi a bit further  behind me.

Looking back I’m still convinced that the trek up to the ridge was piece of cake, but I still get shivers down my spine when I remember the blizzard and the way down from the peak. Also, on the bright side, my winter pants and my windstopper were perfect for that weather and I didn’t get wet or cold. Now I just need a better pair of boots and some good gloves and I’ll be ready to give this winter trek thingy another try.

The next day, we wanted to try an easier route so we headed to Galeș lake. It was, indeed, piece of cake. No ridges, no blizzard, no peaks, just a long stroll through the forest and a couple of hills that we need to climb and down climb. The lake was beautiful and wild, but it was freezing cold and it started snowing so we didn’t stay there long.

On our way home we visited the wisent reservation in Hațeg and we had a greeeeaaaat dinner at Dada Restaurant in Căciulata. I still have mixed feelings about this winter trek, but at least I’ve decided that I want to give snow another chance (provided that I buy a new pair of boots).

Now I can hardly wait to go on our next adventure: three days of climbing in Sohodol! I am a bit scared cause we’re going unsupervised :P (although Nicu will also be there, just not with us), but we’ll be careful and I’ll try no to complain that much and try not chicken out when it’s my time to lead climb. So, yeah, summer is here :)

*Amadou&Mariam – Camions Sauvages

Posted on by ionuca | Posted in I think I'm paranoid and complicated, Music sounds better with you, Pictures of you, Try walking in my shoes, With a little help from my friends

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