The Buila/Retezat double week-end extravaganza! (or how to attempt to revive the lifeless corpse of a blog)


Well, it’s true, a post every 3 months does not a great blog make, and there’s little to blame for that beyond my own laziness, but rather than cringe about it, I own up to it and try to compensate with more frequent posts, keyword being try.

I’d planned May and June to be this year’s months of intrepid adventuring through Peru, expecting to return full of tales and wonderful experiences and wisdom and whatever else people manage to gain on such trips, but as it turned out, through sheer stupidity and reasons I’ll not get into too much detail, I managed to miss it altogether and found myself back in Romania before the spring had even ended, wanderlust ardently unquenched.

 

Thankfully, two mountain trips, once again organized by Cristina, were on the horizon in close proximity to one another, each taking advantage of the long weekend provided by two Romanian national holidays (the Orthodox Pentecost and Children’s Day). Now, seeing as how I’m (once again) trying to move things along with the blog, I’m going to compress both of those trips into a single post. Furthermore, in the interest of both saving any potential reader (all.. 4 of them?) from the ordeal of going through the minutiae of each journey and saving my rather unreliable memory from the effort of probing for said details, this, much in the style of the Venice one before it, is going to be a mostly graphic post, except even more lacking in actually useful information, so for anybody who’s at this point here to learn something, sorry!

I’ll leave most of the details to the imagination (and the photos, of course), but a broad attempt at summing up each day’s story would be this: we got up, we ate, we put our backpacks on and we started walking; after walking for a while, we stopped for a bit, faffed about, maybe ate something, then continued walking; eventually we reached the day’s destination, at which point we once again stopped walking, laid down our backpacks and, unsurprisingly, started eating again (starting to see the pattern?), followed by restful sleep. All this mixed up with great fun and enjoyable socializing. Of course, variations occurred, such as stopping and drinking or stopping and frantically checking for ticks, but mostly we slept, ate, walked and talked.

A final caveat about the following shots: at some point during the Buila trip, my wide lens got a smidge.. smudgy, which as you’ll see made many of photos to appear blurry in the periphery; it couldn’t be helped, I had nothing to clean it with there and I forgot about it between Buila and Retezat. As such, while it did ruin most of the photos, I feel it created a rather interesting effect in some of them, as I’ll mention bellow. It also mean significantly fewer landscapes in Retezat, where I ended up mostly using the telephoto and 45 mm lenses. Having said that, I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves from now on:



Buila-Vânturariţa Mountains, May 2018:

The "Cheia (or Key)" Gorge, which in Romanian is funnily called "Cheile <<Cheii>>", a pleasant place for contemplation while most of the group went on a trip I skipped because of the rain

An unexpected sight during said contemplation. It appeared to regard me quite curiously.

The trees have eyes.

The Cheia chalet, just as the sun is setting.

I'm irresistibly drawn to photographing verdant forests.

Particularly when they look like they endless spread in all directions

Of the activities mentioned above, this one would fall roughly into the category of "stopping", probably mixed with some "looking for ticks"

Branching out

The clouds mostly followed us on the second day's trip, but every once in a while we'd get a partially clear view into our surroundings.

Though not often.

Why such interest in dung beetles? Why indeed.

One of those moments of clarity I was telling you about; not to turn things political, but am happy that, despite all the deforestation that goes on, we still have sights like these.


The circular trip we took that day eventually sent us on a long, winding road

Which we followed to reach our destination

Such as one might follow a more famous, similarly coloured but certainly less beautiful road to find an elusive wizard.

Speaking of wizards, it was a perfect night for witchly riverside rituals.

But we opted instead to just hang out around the fire before heading off to sleep

So as to get up to an early start

And leave the chalet behind as we headed back for the cars.





Retezat Mountains, May/June 2018 

Arriving near Cârnic în the evening, as the cows return home from grazing, with the mountains behind them.

Sunset from the "Cascada" chalet, evening before we set out.

As mentioned before, the endless trees.

With little time to use the tripod, I had to take this long exposure shot holding the camera in hand; not great, but not so terrible either, all things considered

Once again, stopping. Less looking for ticks, more eating this time, though. Genţiana chalet

Up on the Bucura Saddle, looking back towards the Pietrele Valley. Notice the blurred periphery, but also notice the nice rhododendrons growing isolated on the jagged rock.

A good place for telephone signal.

The Bucura Lake and all the flowers around, with the Peleaga peak behind, made for a great photo opportunity. Too bad about the shoddy quality, but might as well share them, poor as they are.

Had much less of an issue with the telephoto lens

So much so that I stopped using the wide almost entirely

And decided to focus on Bucovina water commercial shots

And "I'm on top of the world" type victory poses

Though with landscapes such as these, I couldn't really give up the wide lens entirely, could I?

Luckily I found plenty of targets for the other lenses as well

I'm still waiting for my 50 euro for this shot.



The break next to Bucura lake turned out to be quite long, so plenty of time for portraits.

Though after a while one can run out of things to say in their descriptions!

Ah, here we go, back to landscapes. A fallen tree mirroring a partially isolated upright one. Was supposed to be more artistic.

I'd like to have made a better attempt at catching a nice reflection in that puddle, but alas, this is all I could get.

Early morning before continuing on our way from the Buta chalet





The forests in Retezat have a nearly magical quality to them

Ah, we managed to see a shy marmot

Who studied us for a while before scurrying off.

Final push upwards from the Peleaga Lake to the Peleaga saddle

People going both towards and away from the Peleaga Peak, with "Colţii Pelegii" (Peleaga's Fangs) behind just as heavy clouds start gathering; a mere half-hour earlier we'd been sunbathing around Peleaga Lake

Retezat Peak, with clouds well on their way to obscure it

A final shot up on the saddle, before hurrying down with the storm hot on our heels (and soon, but thankfully after we're away from the ridge, very much upon us)

One of those effects I mentioned in the beginning that I liked about the blurry edges, almost psychedelic. For all the forest's undeniable tranquility, this particular photo makes me think of this

Same effect as before

Resting before starting his trip away from the Pietrele chalet

The lizard laid there motionless as the bug in front of it moved over its tail a couple of times

And now, a new batch of portraits



Without too much to say about them



So I'll just leave the comments out of the following shots











Ah, here we are. The Lolaia waterfall - same story as before, no tripod.

And finally, a tenacious butterfly, after eluding us for a couple of minutes, takes a a bold and unhesitating seat on George's boot and refuses to let go.


Well, that's it, I hope there's something at least modestly enjoyable about the above, and as always, I'll try to update more regularly. But, as anybody with the faintest ability of pattern recognition would justly imagine - I wouldn't hold my breath.

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