we will cross the Hungarian-Romanian border sometimes at noon. From here we shall set off towards the most interesting and spectacular natural settings of the Bihor Mountains. Our destination for this day is the so called Padis plateau, a plate-shaped karstic area, surrounded by mountains. We leave the main road soon after Beius and we head towards the green forests on narrower roads. In Boga mountain resorts we transfer all our belongings to a local truck that will take them up to the camp site. We will continue our road on foot, by crossing the Balileasa point and arriving to the Glavoi forester-house, our camp site. Length of the excursion: 8 km; difference of level: +550 m. We will accommodate ourselves in tents for the next 6 nights in this beautiful natural setting.
Accommodation and half-board:
on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th nights in tents, in the Glavoi Clearing
In the morning, after breakfast, we start from our base and hike across deep forests towards the Galbena Summit (1.234 m). From here a beautiful panorama will stretch in front of our eyes, revealing the south part of the Bihor Mountains. After a quick descending we will reach the Focul Viu ice cave which has been preserving for thousands of years a huge block of ice that can be seen even in the hottest summers. From here we will descend to the Florilor Clearing (or, Flowers Meadow, due to the multitude of flower species that can be seen here) by crossing its upper-, middle- and lower part. Nearby the EKE (Transylvanian Carpathian Association, 680 m) spring we will have a lunch brake. We will continue the day by crossing the Galbena Gorge, where, sometimes we will have to be in the water in order to cross from one side of the brook to the other. The gorge is spectacular due to the various waterfalls, caves and swallow holes. At the end of the gorge we will reach the impressive spring of the Galbena Brook and from here we will follow a difficult trail that will take us to the Bortig swallow hole (1.220 m). From here we will stroll back to our tents. Length of trail: 17 km, difference of level: 1.500 m (+800 m, -700 m), duration of hike: approximately 10 hours.
Day 3. "Castles of Wonders"
Glavoi Clearing - Cetatile Ponorului
This day is meant to be a little bit easier than the previous one, thus the length in time and space will be both shorter. After breakfast we start from our camp site and we follow the Cetatii Brook until we will reach a crossroad. From here we will enter on a muddy path the fir-tree forest and after only ½ hours we will reach the margins of the so called Castles of Wonders. Cetatile Ponorului is a unique karstic appearance throughout entire Romania and it became famous in Europe as well. It consists of three different inner "castle"-yards, so called "dolinas" which are linked to each other by an impressive cave system which main entrance is no more than 78 m high and 30 m wide. As closer we get to this majestic Great Portal the more we can hear the rumbling noise of the water that runs through the tunnels of the cave. Those who dare will form a bold and adventurous smaller group that will enter the cave, follow the bed of the brook inside and jump from one stone to the other in order to exit the cave in another "dolina". For this we will need secure hiking boots, eventually spare boots and flashlights. After this all of us will ascend on a scree slope up to the margins of the "castle" and admire its 200 m depth from old wooden balconies, built by the team of the famous Czaran Gyula, the man who dedicated himself to explore and draw maps of more geographical sites of Transylvania. From here we will walk back to our camp where dinner will follow…Length of trail: 8 km, difference of level: 600 m (+300 m, -300 m), duration of hike: approximately 5 hours.
On this day we will head north in order to cover the circuit of the Sources of Somesul Cald River (Cheile Somesului Cald). This is one of the most spectacular of all trails, with a large variety of objectives, mostly karstic (caves, springs, gorges). We will pass nearby the Varasoaia Lake, we will cross the watershed that separates the Crisul Negru and the Somesul Cald drainage basins in order to descend to the springs of the Somesul Cald. The area populated by several springs is also named the "Somes bazaar" due to the big variety of karstik appearances. First, we will follow the brook and cross the Radesei Cave (Cetatile Radesei) and arrive to the Radesei Glade where we will have the lunch brake. Afterwards we will continue our adventure through the Somes River Gorge (Cheile Somesului Cald) by walking mostly in water for more than 2 kilometers. For this we will need easy but secure shoes and, why not, the bathing suit. We can return back using the same trail, or we can go round, from above. If we choose the second variant then we will have one more stop, at the Belvedere lookout point (1.342 m). We will follow the same trail back to our tents. Length of trail: 12 km, difference of level: 1.300 m (+750 m, -550 m), duration of hike: approximately 8 hours.
Day 5. Trekking to the Piatra Boghii
Glavoi Clearing - Piatra Boghii - Glavoi Clearing
This hike is easier and it is spectacular due to the panoramic view from the top of the Boga Cliff (Piatra Boghii) over the western part of the Bihor Mountains and the lower lands surrounding the town of Beius. The place is a terrace hanging above a 300 m high precipice and the spectacular amphitheatre of Boga displays its immense horseshoe at our feet. After lunch and contemplation we will take out our flashlights and pay a visit to the Sura Boghii Cave. Length of trail: 10 km, difference of level: 1000 m (+500 m, -500 m), duration of hike: approximately 5-6 hours.
Day 6. The Lost World
Glavoi Clearing - Lumea Pierduta - Glavoi Clearing
The day is dedicated to the exploration of the so called "Lost Word" area. We start the day from a forester road and pay a visit to the Hamlet Cave, which actually is a place where water is continuously disappearing. We will go nearby Izvorul Rece (Cold Spring) and Izbucul Ursului (Bear Spring) and later arrive to the area named the "Lost World", a place that received its name when it was found, as an undiscovered place, covered by dark, vast forests. There are three interesting swallow holes to be seen here: Avenul Acoperit (Covered swallow hole, because of the big rock that seems to cover it), Avenul Gemanata (Twinned swallow hole, due to the cliff that divides the place in two) and Avenul Negru (Dark swallow hole, because of its large opening and 100 m depth). Length of trail: 11 km, difference of level: 350 m (+150 m, -200 m), duration of hike: approximately 5-6 hours.
Day 7. The last day
Padis plateau - Boga - Beius - Oradea -…
After breakfast we will embark on the lorry that will specially come for us and jolt down on it to the Boga resort where we will change it for our regular bus. Before leaving this splendid geographical stage we will visit one more interesting cave, the Bear's Cave, famous for the Ursus Arctos bear relics. From here we will travel north to Oradea where we will leave Transylvania and Romania altogether. Until next time…