The Piatra Craiului massif. We have many special mountains and peaks in Romania, but Piatra Craiului seems to be even more special than all of them.
And if you want to walk its ridge, the Curmătura Cabin is one of the best places to access it.
At the cabin you will find a spring, a place for tents, tables, and a team of hospitable people who make pretty good food.
Normally they also offered accommodation, but during the pandemic they ran out of staff. If you are interested, know that they are looking for colleagues. Just call the number on their website.
On the first day of the three that we had planned for Piatra Craiului, we went up to the Curmătura Cabin, where we pitched our tents for two nights.
Here is the whole route, divided by days, with links to the stories of the other two:
- Ascent: Botorog's Fountain - Curmătura Hut (2h).
- Northern ridge: Curmătura Cabin - Țimbalul Mic Peak - Curmătura Cabin (8h 30m).
- Descent: Curmătura Cabin - Zărnești Gorge - Botorog's Fountain (2h).
The chosen route is the shortest and most accessible way to the cabin: we start from Botorog’s Fountain and follow the yellow band to Curmătura Cabin.
Parking: Botorog's Well
Route: Botorog's Well (840m) - Curmătura Cabin (1470m)
Markings: Yellow Band
Height Difference: 630m
- Botorog's Well
- Curmătura Cabin
The only plan we made for today is to reach the cabin. That's why we weren't in too much of a hurry to leave Cluj.
At 15:25 we have our backpacks on our backs and we start our walk through the forest.
At first the climb seems easy and effortless, but soon it becomes more and more sustained.
The trees and rocks are becoming more massive as the altitude increases.
We can feel our heavy backpacks on our backs and shoulders. But at least we are sheltered from the heat of the sun. Nevertheless, it’s a good warm up for tomorrow’s route.
We are surprised by how many people come down from the cabin. Almost continuously we encounter groups returning to their cars.
Soon the climb subsides, a sign that we are approaching Zănoaga Meadow
To our dismay, we hear thunder. And another one. Then we go out into the clearing.
It's 4:25 p.m. We've been hiking for an hour, and we have about an hour left. But the rain seems too close.
We breathe a sigh of relief that it's not raining yet. But as we take out our bottles to hydrate ourselves, we notice how the main ridge is covered in rain. And the rain is coming slowly but surely towards us.
We barely manage to get our raincoats out of our backpacks, when we feel the first drops of rain.
We barely manage to get our raincoats on, when it's already pouring!
We set off in a hurry towards the sheepfold in the meadow with the intention of sheltering there. But we don't dare to cross the electric animal fence, because there are some unfriendly dogs beyond.
We shout, but in vain. At one point someone comes out. We shout loudly. All for nothing. He's minding his own business.
We decide to abandon the idea, and continue on our way.
Our biggest hurry is to get to the forest. In the clearing we are somewhat exposed to lightning.
Fortunately, we arrived safely at the forest edge in a few minutes. But as we started to take our first steps through the forest, the rain slowed considerably, then stopped.
It poured heavily on us only while we crossed the meadow. Now it has stopped.
We advance through puddles and temporary streams. We keep on our raincoats, because water is still dripping from the trees.
At some point we reach the Curmătura Meadow, and an opening between the trees offers us the most beautiful image of the day:
Due to a calculation error, we expect to have another 200m difference in level to climb until we reach the cabin.
Someone from the front shouts: The Cabin!
And it's not a joke. We've really arrived! I can't tell you how loud the forest resounded when we realized that we had arrived 30-40 minutes faster than we expected.
We hang our raincoats to dry, and start setting up the tents.
After we saw how many cars were at the base of the mountain, we are glad to find some good tent spots left in the cabin yard.
The tables outside are wet so we go inside the cabin to grab something to eat.
The vegetable soup and potato stew with sausages, along with the pickle salad, were delicious. The apple pie was tasty as well!
We enjoy the heat and dry clothes and stay in the cabin a little longer, until our phones are charged.
Then we retire to our tents and go to sleep.
Tomorrow is ridge day, and we want to start early.
The route from Botorog’s Fountain to Curmătura Cabin is not difficult and it is quite beautiful. It's a good first day route, if you plan to stay at Piatra Craiului for more than one day.
Another good option for this route would be to go up to Curmătura, grab your lunch surrounded by mountains, then go down on another side (more details in a future story).
'Till next time!