I stayed in Parâng for 4 days in August. In short, I had the great chance to catch a rarer optical phenomenon – Gloria – two days in a row. We met blueberry pickers on the way but also the object of the activities we enjoyed during the climbing breaks. We bathed in Lake Mija, had a fire by the lake, played the tilinca, the drums and reached 5 peaks with landscapes that take your breath away.
I’ve written this before and although it’s obvious, I can’t help but comment again on the enormous difference between the state of mind affected by the polluted traffic in Bucharest and the one produced by the serenity of the moment of waking up in the tent, in the mountains. Especially if you leave Bucharest on Friday evening, whatever the destination. On this tour I drove a van for the first time and that distracted me from the crowds. The road to Petroșani looked gorgeous in the headlights, too bad we did it at night – but the asphalt is so smooth in places that I bet you could play billiards. And that is rare in Romania.
One of the signs that you are with the mountain is when you put up your tent quickly at night. I pitched the tent but didn’t fall asleep right away. That’s because I played the Tibetan bowl and shamanic drums. Yes, we get carried away sometimes..
We camped in the tent area of the Parâng resort. When we woke up, surprise – I open the tent and among the tents, next to and more everywhere – horses. Horses were free and you could see that they had a more relaxed schedule at work. They behaved somewhat like free animals. They were laughing, running around, eating and talking to each other. I also saw horses sitting down, contrary to the myth that horses always sleep standing up.
After the episode with the horses, the morning hygiene at the bathroom of a nearby restaurant (because we were with the tent on the mountain but on the outskirts of the resort). A hearty breakfast and then up. We changed the program and put the easier route on Saturday to leave the long route – Parângul Mare for Sunday – and Mohor for Monday.
In total there were 7 of us, including Sebastien (the organizer) and Ina (the guide). Parângul Mic (2073) reached from Parâng resort is more of a walk than a lap. So I don’t really have much to mention about Saturday, apart from the fact that I blew my first time in the tilinca and the fact that I took a bath in the ice-cold water of Lake Mija.
Tilinca is a whistle – not to be confused with talanga 🙂 which is a talanga. It’s incredibly easy to make non-disturbing sounds out of the box. It only has a few holes and you can control the tonality from the power with which you blow. It has that specific sound of a shepherd’s song.
Lake Mija beckons you to enter it. The water is clean – crystal clear but cold as hell locked in a refrigerated truck. Although I lost my breath at one point – the body demands oxygen and you are not ready – the main challenge was to step on the stones covered with greenish and particularly slippery organic matter. The feeling after getting out of the cold water, after you put on your clothes and sit in the sun for a while, reminded me of the feeling of the communist body dryers you used to sit in after 3 hours in the communist swimming pool with communist cold water – good, nice feeling. A feeling of relief and calmness, of peace. Then I started rubbing the flints..
To set things straight, I don’t claim to be a mountain specialist. I don’t like to become one, I don’t like to focus on one hobby at a time until I squeeze every trace of mystery and pleasure out of it. And I’m not even bragging about what I do as a hobby. Passions are purely for personal pleasure. I emphasize this to ask you to excuse my innocence in some parts of the mountain. I didn’t know that using a good cream and some fine dry grass is still not enough to start a fire. If you’re in a survival situation, listen to me you can’t rely on movie phases – what a surprise! I insisted, however, that the flints are rubbed for about half an hour in several varieties of dry grass. Nothing. The flints gave off just fine sparks, and for a moment it seemed as if something was burning, but far from the fire. Hint 1! To use flints successfully I have an idea borrowed from a friend: he called them bombs – balls of cotton wool or cloth dipped in vaseline and wrapped in scoth. Those would catch fire easily from a flint spark and are very easy to carry.
However, the friends I was with used a lighter and we made a nice fire near Lake Mija. Sebastien – the organizer of the trip, in addition to the fact that he knows how to play all kinds of instruments and has a permanent good mood, an infectious lightness and carelessness – in the good sense of the word. Sebastien doesn’t have a deadline to leave or a deadline to return to camp, so we sat by the fire, had a rock-throwing contest, and forgot about ourselves on the edge of Lake Mija. We returned in the evening – night even. The landscapes at dusk in Parâng are gorgeous. There you can take that kind of picture where the silhouette of the cowboy can be seen against the background of the sun. Or something close to it.. We left at dusk and returned to the starry and moonlit sky straight to the table. Then I sleep in the tent.
So, to recap – on Friday we arrived late, on Saturday we walked to Parângul Mic and I took a swim in Lake Mija. On Sunday I left for Parângul Mare ticking off another 2-3 (the twin peaks Gemănarea placed once or twice, I haven’t decided yet?) peaks on the way and the Gloria phenomenon. On Monday we left for Transalpina, for Rânca and we stopped for a walk to the Mohor peak where we saw Gloria again.
On the climb on Sunday, I took a break right from the start. One of the colleagues returned to the tent to change his boots. That’s how I came across blueberry pickers. As they stopped to be picked up by a van, right next to us – where I had almost dozed off – I could observe their behavior and conversations, like a voyeur.
Interesting with these people who don’t seem to have a lot of material things, people who probably put in a lot of physical work, day in and day out, they seem much happier than the corporate type in the city. Looking at the man from somewhere in the stratosphere of the universe, you can’t help wondering what the significant difference is between so-called simple people of this type and somewhat more sophisticated people, with fancy jobs in multinationals or entrepreneurs in all kinds of meaningless fields. I see a difference in the level of happiness but to the detriment of the corporatist. Ok, I don’t want to exaggerate the description of the Mioritic shepherd or the Carpathian blueberry picker. What I mean is that they can be good, happy, and intelligent people just as much among the pickers as among the educated. Just as beasts can be among each other and among others. Some in the sense of physical and verbal violence, others in the sense of indirect aggression on others, carelessness, self-destruction, destruction of the environment, participation in common destruction. It is clear that you need education to become an intellectual and a man of character. But education is not enough. And today’s education doesn’t make you intellectual, it just makes you a slave for corporations. Those pickers looked happy. They were selling blueberries on the spot for 10 lei per kg. Maybe they didn’t know what it means to think about complex ideas about the universe or the purpose of human existence, but the corporatists don’t know and don’t do that either. Only those who have both education and character and spend enough time listening to the rain, watching the sunset and the voice of their own thoughts.
The road to Parângul Mare on the ridge is full of vistas – from windows in the rocks, from stone steps to majestic, grandiose vistas, to huge precipices and chutes. The clouds are playing in Parâng. The fog also plays with you, it comes and goes. The fog and clouds later gave us the Gloria optics.
Until Parângul Mare we visited Vârful Cârja (2405 m). Someone had the bright idea some time ago to mount a huge crutch on this peak. Cool idea! Each peak should have a representative monument for its name instead of the hideous crosses. Just imagine what they would put on the Moldoveanu peak or the Omu peak. That’s why Parâng is cool – there aren’t that many crosses. On Parângul Mare (2519 m) there is a stone with something written, intelligible, and a cross in a hole, but the main monument is a bar with something round on top. Maybe this is the etymology of the word Parâng – bar with a circle at the end – or not.. :)). Oh, and by the time we get to Parâng, we’ve ticked off the two Gemănarea peaks (2426 m).
On the way back I saw the Gloria phenomenon. We lingered, I think, almost an hour, waving our hands up and down—we could never tire of admiring our shadow surrounded by the halo of a saint, the halo projected on the mist opposite the sun. It was unreal! We sat for a while staring at each other through the fog. The description of the phenomenon is made in a separate article – https://www.aventura-blog.com/fenomenul-optic-gloria/.
On the way we also met shepherds and donkeys who, hilariously, stepped so carefully on the stones as if they didn’t have ankle boots on their feet – the donkeys – and they didn’t. However, we also met a couple accompanied by an infant. Hint 2! The man had some kind of car seat on his back instead of a backpack. Thus the baby sat as comfortably as possible in the back being the beneficiary from the youngest age of the beauty of the mountain and the fresh air. This is a lesson for couples who, due to lack of information, do not know what to do with a child when it appears and end up overprotecting it – overprotection that usually comes with many disadvantages such as sociopathy or sensitivity to bacteria and viruses.
Also on the way back I took the most interesting pictures of the sunset. Those like the silhouette of a cowboy against the background of the sleeping sun, from the end of western movies, which I was talking about earlier. Not much words here, the pictures speak for themselves.
And that evening – Sunday, we also returned to the moonlit night. Hint 3! The moon is so bright when it’s full that it’s better to go without fronts. The front gives a tunnel of light and you can’t see what’s around. Moreover, at the moon, your eye gets used to the darkness and in case of danger you can see everything around at a much better angle, unlike the tunnel effect given by the frontal.
And Sunday night and Monday morning we stopped at the same restaurant, where an aunt with the air of a benevolent grandmother asked us what we wanted to cook for us and pampered us more than at home. In the morning, however, something had to remind you that you are in Romania. And no, not the tourists in flip flops and not the enduro bikers who rev the engine only around the tents, afraid to venture further. As we were sitting so quietly at breakfast, with the sun caressing our faces, we wake up with a rain of blue paint coming as if from nowhere. We look up – clear sky, fluffy clouds. Not even a plane. The mystery is revealed a little later when we spot Dorel – the Romanian painter of the relay – perched on the huge satellite relay.
Yes. Then (so on Monday), I left for Transalpina. We stopped at a kitsch but traditional Romanian bâlci. 2 seconds and I moved on. Colleagues stopped for a drum and whistle session while I and Ina’s friend (Ina is the local guide – I recommend you talk to her about Parâng) climbed Mohor (2337m). Us and after us a group of people in black – monks – the summit! It was just the Dormition of the Mother of God and instead of sleeping, they were climbing. I hope they weren’t going to put a cross on the top. Interesting setting, I’m sorry I didn’t have the presence of mind to take some pictures of them, how they were walking at a fast pace with the cross in hand and those black skirts hanging on the grass. From the top of Mohor you can see Lotru, the Transalpina in all its splendor. It’s not a long walk from the road to Mohor – I haven’t timed it, but I’d say about 1 h – 1 1/2 h. On the way back from the top, luck strikes again and I see it for the second time – this time a little weaker – the Gloria phenomenon.
Then at the car parked in the kitschy bar, we couldn’t help but have some food on the stove – bulz and pastrami. Traditional!.
Ate, climbed and arrived in Bucharest around 2 in the morning.
In short: as Ina said (the description below, transcribed, is mostly hers), we had three sunny days in the mountains and a few chilly evenings in the tent… but we had the musical instruments brought by Seba and a small fire of camp, the second evening. We spent the night singing and reveling, but we still did part of the Parâng ridge, we reached the Mija lake, we met the shepherds with the sheep in the area, we made a small fire at the Mija lake, we played instruments in the Mija valley. I bathed in the lake and we walked back in the magical moonlight – we all had flashlights, but they weren’t needed – the Moon lit our way to the resort. We reached the highest peak in Parâng – Parângul Mare and saw each of our Glorias – a phenomenon rarely seen even by the most experienced mountaineers. We all saw him for the first time – and Ina knew about him, but even she hadn’t met him before. We caught extraordinary sunsets in the Scurtu saddle and, the next day, on the Cârja peak. We saw the ridge of Parângului also from the Transalpina side, on the third day, where we met Ghiță. We all climbed up to the Mohorului saddle. From there I climbed Mohor with Ghita where I caught Gloria once more. The rest were left to enjoy the scenery and instruments. We had the last meal of this outing together in the Urdele saddle.