2014 was for sure the ‘mountains’ year. We did almost all the trips we had planned at the beginning of the year and reached some of the highest peaks of our country. This time it’s also about mountains, of course, but this particular trip is more about the lakes in the mountains.
The initial plan for this weekend was to go in the Retezat mountains, but due to some incidents that happened there during that time, we changed our minds and went to the Parâng mountains, for a nice trip to the beautiful natural lakes that these mountains hide. We left from Sibiu on Friday afternoon and our stop for the first night was Rânca. Rânca is a ski resort in Romania, on one of the most beautiful roads of our country, the Transalpina. Unfortunately Transalpina is not completely built, so for us, getting to Ranca was a bit difficult. The trip can be done with a normal car, but you need to have patience. Still, once you get on top of Transalpina, you will understand why you made all the effort.
On Friday we arrived somewhere around midnight in Rânca so we went straight to bed, because on the next day we had to wake up early and start the real trip. So at 7 AM on Saturday everyone was up and after breakfast we took our cars again on the Transalpina to the point where the marked trail starts.
Our first stop was the Gâlcescu Lake. We had to follow the red line path to get to the lake. In about 3 hours and a half we were there.
More than half of the way to the Gâlcescu Lake is quite easy and anyone can do it. But on the last part you have to go down quite abruptly so you have to watch your step. Before actually getting to the Gâlcescu Lake, you will see some other small lakes, like Vidal Lake, Păsări Lake and Pencu Lake.
From here, in 15 minutes you are in front of the Gâlcescu Lake which is absolutely superb.
It is the biggest glacial lake in Parâng massive and is located in the middle of Parâng massive, north-east from Parângul Mare peak in an ice bucket distinguished by the variety of flora and glacial rocks. Gâlcescu circus, shaped in granite and granodiorits, is the most complex, consisting of several steps separated by breaks of slope.
The lake is located in Parâng Mountains at an altitude of 1925 meters,covering 3.2 hectares.
At the Gâlcescu Lake we stopped for lunch and for a well-deserved rest and continued our trip to the Zănoaga Mare Lake. From here it says that there are two more hours to get to the lake, but I think it’s actually only about 30 minutes.
The Zănoaga Mare Lake has a heart shaped form that got our attention and we tried to photograph it as perfectly as we could.
Situated at 2030 meters high, Zănoaga Mare covers 1 hectare and a maximum depth of 2 meters. This is also a glacial lake, like all the lakes in the Parâng Mountains.
These lakes seem like they just formed after the heavy rain in the last months, but no, they have been here for million of years and have seen all these mountains changed their faces.
From the Zănoaga Mare lake we had to go back to where we had left our car in the morning. For the first hour back we had to do some heavy climbing to get back on the initial path we came.
The whole trip lasted 9 hours, including the lunch break and some small breaks in between. Considering that we had the option to go by car on the Transalpina, this was a big advantage because we were already at 2000m high, so we didn’t have to do a lot of climbing.
The Parâng Mountains have spectacular peaks and wide alpine openings that let you enjoy the view of the whole mountain range. For most of the trip we had a very good weather, that allowed us to take long breaks and just enjoy and relax. For some of the trips we had this year, the weather was always unpredictable and we always had to hurry back.
On our way back, somewhere at the middle of the trip, the weather conditions started to change a bit and all of a sudden the fog came in our way.
It wasn’t something frightening or something that we should have worried about, because the clouds were quite small and the chances for the rain to actually start were quite low, but still the view was spectacular, seeing the fog moving in front of our eyes and coming towards us.
Until we got back to our cars, the rain didn’t start and it didn’t rain for the rest of the weekend so we could say that the weather was just playing a little innocent trick on us.
In Rânca we stayed at Hotel Panoramic for the two nights we spent there. The conditions were very good and the hotel also has a great restaurant with delicious dishes. The staff is very friendly and made sure that we feel as comfortable as possible.
Here is the map of the trip. The path is also visible from google maps. We started on the red line path and in order to get to the lakes we took the red cross in the direction of the Gâlcescu Lake. From there we continues to the Zănoaga Mare Lake and climbed back to get to the red line path that got us back to where we had left our car.
Something I noticed about the Parang Mountains is that the hiking trails are not so well marked, the signs sometimes can be hard to spot, but still, this didn’t make the trip difficult, we managed to find our way with no issues.
Here is also the full photo gallery: