A long hike in foul weather

Hiking in bad weather

The weather had been bad for the whole week and we knew it was going to get even worse the day we’d hike.

It may sound strange, but rain, wind, fog, and freezing cold were just what we were looking for. It was mid April and we wanted to see and feel how the seasons were changing.

We watched the weather forecast, we watched the webcams, so we knew it was going to be an interesting hike.

We planned to fast-trek 50 kilometers in the exact opposite weather conditions one would wish for when going for a hike.

At the end of the hike, we wanted to be soaked, frozen and exhausted. And that’s exactly what we got.

And, yes, we learned a lot from it.

Terrain and weather

Hiking the ridge of Baiului Mountains
Hiking the ridge of Baiului Mountains

The wild flowers had already started to bloom at the foothills, but the winter was still strong high in the mountains.

Below 1400 m, we hiked through slippery mud and, in some portions, we had no choice but to walk through ankle-deep water, since it had been already raining for the last few days, the snow was melting quickly and the soil was completely satured.

On the mountains facing West, the snow had already melted up until 1600 m. However, above 1700 m, it was still winter, with portions where snow was still knee-deep, strong winds and thick fog.

On the eastern side of the mountains, it was significantly colder and there was still plenty of snow even at 1400 m.

Most of the trail was new to us, but somehow we managed to get confused and lost direction on a portion that should have been the most familiar to us, a portion we had hiked tens of times in the years before.

Approaching Baiul Mare peak (1895 m)
Approaching Baiul Mare peak (1895 m)
Snowdrops where everywhere
Snowdrops where everywhere

Fuel

Start of the trail - hiking towards Piscul Cainelui peak
Start of the trail – hiking towards Piscul Cainelui peak

We didn’t eat much, just a couple of buns, some blue cheese and a bar of Snickers.

Since the water we were caring almost froze in our bottles, the two cups of tea and coffee we had at the chalet were more than refreshing and we felt amazing afterwards.

Equipment

Baiului ridge in mid April, just below 1700 m
Baiului ridge in mid April, just below 1700 m

We packed 3 layers of clothes and eventually wore all of them except the overpants. We also had the crampons in our backpack but we didn’t need to put them on.

We decided not to carry our boots with us, so we only had our trail running shoes on. We felt fine while we were moving, however we agreed the comfort limit for trail running shoes would be at 2000 m in mid April.

Hiking near Cabana Diham in Bucegi Mountains
Hiking near Cabana Diham in Bucegi Mountains

The trail

Hiking through the forest towards Cabana Diham
Hiking through the forest towards Cabana Diham

Early in the morning, we took the train from Gara de Nord in Bucharest and after 90 minutes we were in Sinaia.

From the train station in Sinaia we headed up towards Piscul Cainelui peak and then hiked the Baiului Mountains ridge until we reached Sorica cable car station.

We then descended to the town of Azuga from where we started our ascent to the Cabana Diham chalet, on a path much steeper then we had first anticipated.

When we reached Cabana Diham, we already had been hiking for 33 km, but the goal was to accumulate 50, so we alternated between running and walking for the rest of the distance on the trails near the chalet.

Just 4 more kilometers to go
Just 4 more kilometers to go

Finally, we descended the last kilometers through drizzle, mud, and rivers of melting snow until we finally reached Gura Diham, after 12 hours of hiking.

This was a training session at a slow and steady pace for the Transylvania 100K, a trail running race through the mountains of Transylvania, which takes place in Romania in the second half of May.

The final descent, through rivers of melting snow
We had to turn on our head lamps for the last kilometers