Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Trans Euro Trail - Romania - Bisoara Loop

Tuesday 27th June 2017

After a really stormy night with some biblical style rain which necessitated a move from where we were parked up for the night, we decided to move towards our planned departure point for the morning. So we up sticks and drove until after dark, which was an interesting experience with the potholes and mad Romanian drivers!

This morning we continued on along the D7d and found the tarmac ends after a village, this then left us crossing a pass on a very damaged dirt road, once back down to tarmac we drove to Bisoara, which is a village the TET passes through. Our aim was to to travel back to the dam on the Transfaragasan Pass road.

Bisoara is a lovely little farming village with some great views all around. The skies were threatening more storms with huge thunder clouds looming above us, so we set off thinking to turn around if the rain started. The trail was interesting at the start with lots of washed out sections, Lucy had her first 'off' of the trip when she got caught up in a fallen tree.

As it turned out, we got to a great little top along the route after have a couple of tricky moments where the latest round of forestry work has effectively wiped out the trail. The remaining piece was a proper enduro down hill section, steep plus very wet and soft, still you wouldn’t fall far if you fell off!

Luckily we didn’t fall and continued on along some fairly rough trails to get to our turn around point, passing some pretty chatty forestry workers along the way. The rain started and the thunder was rolling in the distance which both of us decided was the time to turn tail back to the van!

The return turned into a mini trials bike section as we found a way around the decimated trail by riding up a river, this gave us access to an easier section of trail and we used it to get back to the village.

En route we stopped to chat to a fellow enduro rider, a Kiwi lad on a a battered sherco 300, this also turned out to have a burnt out clutch cable, (apparently something had made it smoulder and melt), so the poor lad who was actually marking out a section of the upcoming Romaniacs Race. Now he was having to roll the bike back to his van to get another one!

After a good chat, we got back to the van, loaded up and went for coffee. Another fab day on the trail!

Trans Euro Trail - Romania - Southern Carpathians

Monday 26th June 2017

Another early start was planned, so as we were parked right on the TET trail this time, we were up at 6.30 and on the trail by 7.15am. From the start, the trail was hard packed and steady going, wide open piste wound it’s way in a gentle ascent up the valley, passing a couple of groups of forestry workers who all waved and said hi. As we climbed the valley walls closed in and the rock on either side got steeper, the trail got a bit rougher too until we passed a narrower wooden bridge with a hand painted 3.0t sign. After this the ascent changed gradient a bit, but was still fairly gentle until eventually we exited the tree line onto open piste that wound around the hillsides.

We stopped for pictures and water, the sky was now that beautiful blue of the mountains without a cloud in sight. A little side excursion from a col saw me take to a ridge top to look back at the previous days route, then once I’d worked it out, I looked at where we were going for the day and marked out a few summits we could ascend as an aside.

We set off following the TET trail as it wound it’s way along the hillsides to an old abandoned cabane on the side of a hill. (This would make an ideal high campsite with fresh water nearby too). From here we climbed a ridge heading off the TET to bag 3 summits all around the 2400m, lovely rolling tops, with one really steep ascent up bouncy grass tufts. These tops will eventually take you to the main ridge line and the highest summit here, Moldonoveanu at 2800m. But they are too difficult for us on the bikes and more ridge scrambles than rides!

We retraced our steps, (finding two beautiful crosses marking the passing of someone at a great viewpoint), then followed on along the various tops and broad ridge that ran alongside the TET piste until it started to drop back into the forest.

A little bit of misread map led us off the trail trying to pick up a piste back to the van, but instead took us on a little jolly through the woods on various forestry equipment trails that got steadily worse, so we turned around and returned to the trail before dropping to a tarmac road.

The TET turns right here and rolls over a ridge down to the Lac Vidraru and the main Transfargarasan Pass road. We turned left and headed back to Slatina where we found a shop with beer and bread, so we stocked up and returned to the van to have a lazy rest of the day and release the dog from the van.

Another fab day on the TET, stunning views and lots of options to explore around this area.

Trans Euro Trail - Romania - Summits and Ridges

Sunday 25th June 2017

After a few days of chores including oil changes for the van & bikes, airport collection runs for a very tired Lucy, (who had spent a whole night sleeping on the floor after being grounded at Munich airport due to really bad weather and a lot of very angry and loud Egyptians) and various other time wasting ‘normal’ life things we finally got out for a ride today.

We’d gone back over the Transfaragasan Pass on Saturday to find the col had become a tourist circus, 5 Lei or £1.00 for parking, all the little stalls and shops were in full swing to sell anything they could, (although we did find a couple of sheepskins for saddles for 70 Lei  or £15 each). The southern side of the pass was much quieter and less windy, the drive down to the dam a much more pleasant journey too. We stopped in Curtao de Anges for some shopping, then drove up a dead end valley to Lac Rausor at the head of the Leresti Valley. At the road end there were loads of folk pitched up for the weekend, enjoying the sunshine and the river. The forest track continues on upto the high ridges which separate this valley from it’s neighbour.

After a visit to this part, we retraced our steps back to the TET trail which ran westerly alongside the reservoir. Once parked up we prepped kit for the next morning and a planned early start. Lucy decided it was a good time for a bit of skinny dipping, so her and Roxy went for a splash around in the warm sunshine.

Sunday morning dawned bright blue skies, we got the bikes out, packed the dog into the shade and set off for some mountains!

What a grand day, one of the best I’ve had on the Romanian TET so far. We climbed up through the trees on straight forward piste, (passing an old abandoned forestry hut which would make a good emergency stop!), then came out onto a lovely green and open ridge. With a quick detour to catch a little viewpoint, we saw the main piste wound it’s way all the way along the ridge, so we set off, taking a direct line where the piste zigged and zagged for the trucks that went along here daily.

We ticked off several summits along the way all around the 2300m mark and came to the junction where the TET veered off northwards before dropping into the next valley and it’s forest. For us the higher summits to the north east beckoned and a descent back into the valley to rejoin the trail we’d seen the previous day at the valley head.

Lucy had a bit of a mare on the descent, it started out fairly steadily and then became the steep zig zags that were familiar to me from my first week here. She has an inherent mental block on down hills so ended up walking her bike down some sections, but also rode others pretty well, plenty of playtime in these places to come up I think as a confidence booster and to gain some skills.

We got back to the van for lunch time, which was perfect as the heat of the day was just warming the inside of the van up, so we packed everything away and took the dog to the river for the afternoon, using this as a way to move to the next valley so we can link the next sections of the TET which will then go upto the highest point on the TET and what looks like Romania’s third highest summit too,  (Dara 2500m).