Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Romania: Busteni -> Cab. Omu

A day for flexibility (well, another one).

Wake up to views of the mountains and blue sky with poofy clouds! yay!! into the mountains!!!
Over breakfast we decide to take the gondola up so we don't miss the sun if it's short lived. Upon reaching the gondola station (right next to the hotel), we discover that it's closed (we guess due to wind). Ah well. Flex, flex, flex!

On foot along the blue cross route through the valley Jepilor. A really excellent valley ascent with trees and then none and good footing and then one and criss-crossing the stream with its waterfalls and lots of scrambling with chains or cables or just rocks and roots.
Wonderful! Needless to say: lots of height gain. After reaching the top of the massif (1300m up) in about 3.5 hours, the legs were somewhat tired. Onward across the plateau, and past some very nice looking camp sites, to the Cab. Babele where we rest a bit and have some tea before finding a wind-sheltered spot outside (oh the wind) to have lunch. There's a nice, big new sign in front of Babele explaining (in English as well as Romanian... they're serious about this) that camping is now forbidden in Bucegi due to the bears. There are signs about the bears all over the cabana. Crazy.

It's cold in the wind, but the sun is shining. We opt for the direct route to Cab. Omu (since we're obviously not camping) along the surprisingly flat and broad top of the Bucegi. Plenty of people underway. After some really nice hiking in the high wind (full winter gear for Andrea), and a bit more climbing we reach the cabana.
Excellent atmosphere here despite (because of?) the lack of electricity, running water, and heat in the eating room (the sleeping room has a stove). Initially very few people there, but this changes as the evening comes and a couple of bigger groups appear. It won't be cold sleeping tonight, that's for sure, but it probably will be loud.

Over the course of the evening we get to talking to Paul, a Romanian guy who spends a lot of time in the mountains and does some guiding. Paul tells us about the explosion in bear population and aggressiveness that has taken place this year and the problems in Bucegi, Postavarul, the Konigstein, and the Fagaras (less there): the bears have started really going after sheep and aren't afraid of people anymore. Seems that camping is a rather bad idea. Crap.

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