Retezat Mountains: The mountain experience
We love nature and the untamed mountain. And as much as we enjoy to plunge into history and expand the horizons of our culture, our soul belongs to the mountain, and no trip is complete without it! So now, let us tell you about our ascension towards the Retezat Peak, which took place in a warm, stormy weekend in the month of June.
In the second day of our outing, we wake up full of energy in the early morning, and we embark in the Coach of Joy. We are headed towards Râușor, a place that is becoming the main point of access in the Retezat Mountains (at least for us). And so we start our adventure towards the Retezat Peak, standing tall at a height of 2.485 metres.
We follow the red band trail up to Șaua Lolaia, and then we proceed on the yellow band (it seems much easier in writing).
What’s surprising about this slice of Heaven is that every half hour, the landscape changes, as though through a metamorphosis: the forest is studded with fuzzy moss, really comfortable when you want to take a break; the moss plays joyfully with the sunrays, and it offers us natural spectacles of colour. As we continue, we reach some small waterfalls, where the water flows gently and refreshingly over the moss, and it almost seems to cool our hard-working bodies.
We keep walking and we come out into the forest, continuing on our path on the left side of the Ștevia river, for about an hour and a half. As the sweet waters ripple flowing downstream, we smile at the thought of the journey still ahead of us. Walking and walking by the river’s edge, we arrive at an opening where we find ourselves in the great arms of the tall mountains surrounding us, which seem enormous. And the question arises: ‘That is where we’re supposed to climb?!’
We leave the forest behind us and we keep ascending by the river, embraced by a sublime view – many flowers, scents, the mountain peony.
We reach a limestone relief and we exercise our climbing technique: we climb on harsh rocks, leaving the Ștevia river somewhere below us. We ascend on Șaua Lolaia, suspended at an altitude of 2.225 metres. The view changes yet again, and we gain an amazing 3600 view over the surroundings in Retezat. Here is our regrouping point, where we are divided into two teams: one with a faster pace, and the other with a more relaxed stride, but both sharing the same target: Retezat Peak.
We start our ascension on the yellow band, among the rocks, avoiding the snow. Here, the climbing grows in difficulty, but it is a helpful occasion. Our confidence, courage, communion, support and optimism are being trained, and we form a well-oiled machine.
At 15:00 we summit, greeted by a wind that makes it hard to stand on your two feet. We take our famous group photo, we scream OXYGEN as loud as our lungs let us, and we let ourselves be enchanted. Here we are, on the top of Retezat!
The weather forecasts turned out to be exact, because at 17:00 the storm started. But it didn’t bring down our spirits; instead, it added value to our trip, water to our boots and it tested our waterproof layers until our skin was wet. Next, we have a descent through the thick rain, guided by a collective wish to arrive at the coach on a warm weather. And so we return through the same surroundings, but this time, we see everything with new eyes – isn’t it curious how nature has a thousand different faces?
Some drenched, some ’drenched-er’, all of us happier, we find the coach exactly where we left it. We all shelter in the warmth, change our clothes and enjoy the full day we’ve been lucky to live. We feel richer than we were before.
This is the story of our mini-holiday in the arms of the Retezat Mountains. And, to finish off on the same optimistic note, we leave you with a quote we find very inspiring:
”Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.”
- John Muir