06 October 2013

Winter run in October

The winter really surprised us this year! It came with full force, at least two months earlier... Last week it snowed so much on the mountains and the weather was so cold for a few days, that the Piatra Craiului Marathon race, the most famous mountain trail running race in Romania had to be postponed. It should have taken place this Saturday.

Instead of the postponed race I have chosen to stay close to home and do a running tour from my home, up to Postavaru Peak and back. I ran at a slow pace for two reasons: I did not want to get too sweaty and wet in the cold weather. I also wanted to take photos along the route. So much snow in October is a really unusual event that must be documented!

I started quite early in the morning. Down in the valley, along the streets of Schei district, was very cold after a cloudless night. Several degrees below 0. The valley was in the shadow, but the sun was already shining on the hills! I was hurrying up to reach the sun shine...
I soon reached the city limits and started the ascent on Drumul Vechi (The old Poiana Road)
The landscape was really strange... Green leaves with snow! The snow came so early that the trees were still green!
35 minutes after leaving my home I was in Poiana Brasov ski resort. It looked like real winter here!
 In the distance I catch a first glimpse of Bucegi Mountains!
From Poiana I started the ascent to Postavaru mountain along Drumul Rosu (the Red Road). This unpaved and rather steep forest road becomes a very popular ski slope during the winter.
 A bit higher I get this view of Poiana Brasov:
 Further to the north I can see the round wooded shape of Magura Codlei Mountain.
 Higher on the mountain... time to check the air temperature... -4C... Brrr
 Half way to the top I get this view:
 I soon reach a bunch of children playing in the snow!
Approaching the top I get a good view of the Ruia reservoir. It is almost full with water, ready for the snow cannons!
Up here, at about 1600m altitude, the snow is quite deep! Some brave skiers already ventured down on the slopes! The 40-50 cm deep powder snow looks very inviting! But I know that many rocks hide under the snow and that the snow gets thinner down the mountain.
 I soon reach Kanzel caldera. Everything is covered in snow here!
Hooray! I am on the ridge, minutes away from the top! I can now see the mountains on the south side:
Can you spot the floating mountain? That one in the distance. It is Ciucas Mountain! A few weeks before I ran an mountain marathon there!
 Finally on the top!
 The mighty Bucegi Mountains look amazing!
 Looking north form Postavaru top:
In the distance I can see Piatra Craiului Mountains. Who would have thought that the marathon there would be canceled due to the crazy winter weather...
Here I am, on Postavaru top at 1799m above sea level! From home to here I ran 11km and 1200m of elevation gain in 2h10'. Slower than ever, but I took many photo breaks...
 Another view of Bucegi:
 A look north, to the deserted ski slopes before I start the descent.
 The beautiful trail on Postavaru ridge:
 Mmm... again this amazing powder snow!
 Ruia reservoir:
 From Ruia reservoir I turn to the east and run through the forest along the beautiful Crucur ridge.
There were some footprints on the trail. Probably from the day before. They were  not very clear and covered with fresh snow. At the beginning I could not tell whether they are human or bear footprints... At the end I concluded that they must be human footprints as they followed the trail.
After 2-3 km the trail left the ridge and started to descend on the north side of the mountain, descending towards Brasov. Still a long way to go...
Lower down the mountain it got warmer the snow started to melt. It was like raining from the trees!
From Stechil Meadow I took the shortest way home. My shoes were soaked with water and I was also starting to feel tired. Soon I could get a view of my home... down there!
 As I approached the city the winter white gradually gave way to the summer green...
A last look back to the snowy fir trees:
Finally on the City edge, by the picturesque Schei District. One last descent along a long steep street and I am home...