Walk No. 36 - Chasing rododendrons in the Rodnei Mountains
This hike is a must, when the Carpathian Rododendrons flower, that is in the second half of June. If you happen to be around at this time, you are likely to see huge pink fields, all covered in this ankle-high shrub. Sometimes whole mountain-slopes are covered with it, flowering in amazing pink hues. One of the best paths to take is the one to Mount Gargalau. You start out from Borsa, the ski-lift takes you to an altitude of 1300 meters. From here you set out on a forest road, after an hour the landscape opens and you can see the surrounding peaks of the magnificient Rodnei Mounains. On a huge, gently rolling, green, lavish plateau you spend an hour walking nearer and nearer the main ridge on a gently rising path. Here you are already likely to see some of the characteristic pink flowers. You cross some small creeks, you pass along some small waterfalls, and soon you see the Stiol lake, one of the crystal-clear mountain lakes os the Rodnei. There are more and more pink bushes as you get near the main ridge. You will see the huge pink stains on the untouched slopes of the Gargalau and surrounding mountains. After another hour, you reach the Gargalau Saddle, from here you have a breathtaking view of the main ridge and rising peaks. You can continue to climb Gargalau itself, this is a 2158 m high peak of the Rodnei. On your way back you might want to take a short detour to see the highest waterfall of the Eastern Carpathians: the Cascada Cailor – Fall of the horses.
(Easy hike. Length: 15 km. Height difference: 700 m up, 700 m down. Duration: 7-8 hours.)