Underground adventure (Apuseni, Romania)

On rather last minute decision to visit Cluj-Napoca, it was only after purchasing the local hiking map that I realised the natural playground that was laid out before me, score!  Fortunately one of the blokes running the hostel was an avid hiker so the plan came together in no time. Squeezed as much food into an 18L pack and I was off.

What I found in the park was even more amazing than I could have imagined; swallow holes a few hundred metres deep, a 120m gorge and tunnel systems, caves with ice stalagmites that were formed in the ice-age, underground rivers and the pure darkness/silence when you killed the lights in a giant cave system. Apparently there were black bears in the area so it did make you a little paranoid; especially when you venture off the main trail for a shortcut, then the trail disappears, then your compass stops working and you end up lost for around an hour with 200mL of water left. You spend most of your time looking around for suitable climbable trees in case you feel a tap on the shoulder…

In hindsight, it probably wasn’t the best thing to do solo but it is an amazing feeling when you enter a cave, follow an underground river for 100-odd metres and pop out the other side above a waterfall, hectic!

Photos

1. Ice-cave (from the ice-age) || 2. Beautiful home in a small village on the trail || 3. A friendly fox || 4. Magic mushroom|| 5. Giant cave entrance || 6. River 30m underground || 7. Part of the trail over the river || 8. Open empty country || 9. Inside a huge cave, twice! 

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