The “less is more” concept applies to the Ceahlau National Park in Romania
The title is a reference to the fact that the mountainous structure I am going to talk about does not exactly look like the Alps or the Himalayas. Even so, it compensates with its natural beauty and the wildness
The people living here are still in complete harmony with the nature and since there was little outside financial support over the there are no expensive resorts. It is possible that this is one of the reasons for which most of the tourists are not showing any interest in visiting the area. However, this is actually one of the region’s attributes – the fact that it has little visitors. The Ceahlau [tʃeahlɘu] Massif is positioned in the eastern part of the Carpathian Mountains in Romania and you are most likely to enter the Ceahlau National Park through the small town of Bicaz.
If you’re one of the people that do not enjoy camping, sleeping in a cabin or in the middle of wild flowers fields during summer, than visit an exclusive mountain resort, in some other parts of the Romanian Carpathians, filled with respectable people and mountain guides who teach you how to avoid jumping off a cliff. One of the best things about Romania, in general, is that everything is still reasonably priced and in some cases, amazingly affordable. The Ceahlau area is no exception to the rule. This means that you can have an amazing time here with a tenth of the price that you would pay to spend time in other mountainous areas. Of course, opinions vary and there are not a lot of people that would choose adventure in favor of comfort.
Deciding to go on a trip to Ceahlau involves having a small amount of money and a lot of spirit (spirit as in strength of mind, but you can also bring along some stronger liquids, as it would help you through the long nights). The first problems that you might encounter relate to the weather being unwelcoming and to you forgetting your wallet at home. However, once you’ve overcome these obstacles, you have all the time in the world to appreciate nature for what it is: wild, breathtakingly beautiful and pure.
It is extraordinary when human and mountain meet in an area where technology has not yet made its presence felt. Mobiles are useless here, and you practically have no contact with the rest of the world. I’m not yet sure whether this is something good or bad.
Once you come face to face with the beast, you know that your only chance of fulfillment is to ascend. There are several access points at the mountain’s foothills which help you to improvised routes to the top. It’s like a form of addiction overwhelms you, constantly pushing you to go faster and faster up the mountain. You know that there is no point in turning back, since this is what you came here for. Physical exhaustion gradually interferes with your capacity to climb, but even though you want to stop and camp, you don’t want to rest for long, with your enthusiasm boosting you with energy. You will certainly be amazed by the area’s beauty when you reach the first terrace, as it gives you the opportunity to admire the Izvorul Muntelui (The Mountain Spring) Lake, the enormous dam(technology did reach this area after all), and the mountains spreading across the vast spaces around. It is here where you will also have the opportunity to discover the rare plant Edelweiss, an emblem of purity. The flower is often associated with alpinists and has been used as a symbol in various occasions, notably for the Austrian Euro coins, but also for Hitler’s mountain infantry.
Trees gradually loose in height and eventually disappear as you ascend, and if you are not overwhelmed by the beauty of the scenery, you continue to climb towards the Dochia [dokia] cabin which offers cheap services like approximately $1 a soup and $3 for housing over night. Whether or not you choose to stop at the cabin, you absolutely have to climb to the Toaca [toaka] Peak. The peak is 1907 meters tall and the view from up there is impossible to put in words.
There are a lot of places where you can camp in the area, the biggest risk that you can come across being a lost tourist or a sneaky fox wanting to steal your food. There are also black goats and deer in the area, but there are little chances for you to come across one, since they avoid humans.
There are numerous other eye-catching locations in the Ceahlau National Park, such as the Duruitoarea waterfall and other landscapes shaped by nature, but in order to learn of the area’s strong points one would necessarily have to visit it.