25 August 2016

Pocket Technology

I have been quite slow in adopting mobile technology. Until two years ago I was using a dumb-phone which I think it was the right thing to do. However, In the last couple of years the smartphones matured, became more reliable and a lot cheaper.

Nowadays I carry a smartphone on all of my runs. Currently I use a rather low cost Motorola G3. I record the track using the GPS receiver of the phone. It is still less accurate than my 9 years old GPS receiver, but just good enough. It is water resistant (up to a point), good enough so I do not worry in the rain,

The phone also has a camera which is quite impressive, better that I would have expect. It also has an auto HDR mode that is doing a very good job! At 28mm focal length equivalent, it is sharper than my older Nikon AW-110 pocket camera! At longer focal lengths the Nikon lens gets sharper while the camera does "zoom" digitally, producing bad quality images.

Nevertheless, it is great to have this camera in my pocket all the time. Almost every run I stop along the way and take a few shots. Here are three shots from the last days. At a closer inspection one can see the imperfections of a phone camera lens and small sensor, but overall, the images are very good, certainly great for on-screen display.

Going up on Piatra Mare Mountain .Auto HDR 

Lost in the fog

Early morning in Poiana Brasov. Auto HDR

14 August 2016

The Lone Sky Runner

August Sundays with good weather are a good choice for running alone in the high mountains as it is the height of the holiday season and there are many tourists along the way. 

So when I saw the blue skies early in morning, I immediately started to prepare for a run in Bucegi, the highest mountains in the area.

The weather was just perfect for running. Sunny, dry and cool, actually quite cold above 2000m. It took me five hours to traverse the Bucegi Mountains, starting at 8AM in Busteni and finishing at 13PM in Bran, on the other side of the mountain. The highest point of the route was Omu Peak (2505m altitude),  more than 1500m higher than the starting point of the run.

Here is the track of the run recorded by my mobile phone.

And some photos I took with my phone camera along the way:
Going up along the steep Jepilor Valley

On the way to Omu Peak

Inside the Refuge at Omu Peak

2505m altitude, Omu Peak, Bucegi.

On Scara Peak (2422m)

View from Scara Peak

Ciubotea Valley

This is not snow! It is hail stones from the storm two days ago!

View across Tiganesti and Malaiesti Valleys towards Bucsoiu Peak (2492m) and Omu Peak (2505m)

The lone runner...

The refuge on Tiganesti Ridge

On Clincea ridge, on the descent to Bran

12 August 2016

A Week of Mountain Hikes

Two weeks ago, on Thursday while at work in the office, I got a phone call from a fellow mountain hiker. For quite a long time he had plans for a trip to the mountains in the north of Romania. Finally the weather report looked good, but he had trouble finding an team mate for the hikes. As it was anyway vacation season in our office, I quickly decided that it would be a good opportunity for me to explore the mountains in this rather remote (relative to our home town Brasov) part of Romania.

32 hours later, at 6AM on Saturday we left Brasov, and during the next 7 days we did 8 mountain hikes in four mountain massifs of the Eastern Carpathians: Rarau-Giumalau, Suhard, Rodnei and Maramuresului. Although a bit too warm, the weather was great for mountain hikes. We had rain only one day on the return way during the easiest of the hikes.

When I look now outside to the rainy and cold (12C) summer day I realize that indeed, it was a good decision and that we were lucky with a week of good weather, as this summer had quite changing and unstable weather in the Romanian Carpathians.

An rather large album of photos can ve found here: Eastern Carpathians

Here are just a few of the photos I took during the week:
Forest on Giumalau Mountain

On top of Giumalau Mountain

On Runcu Ridge, Suhard Mountains, above Vatra Dornei town

Country fair at 1400m altitude above Rotunda pass in Suhard Mountains

Traditional Romanian folkloric dancers. Country fair at 1400m altitude above Rotunda pass in Suhard Mountains.

Rodnei Mountains. The ridge leading to Ineu peak

Alpine Flora.Rodnei Mountains

Alpine Flora.Rodnei Mountains

Changing Weather above Rotunda Pass

Rodnei Mountains, above Borsa resort

Rodnei Mountains: Cascada Cailor
Rodnei Mountains: Sheep on Gargalau peak

Rodnei Mountains: Alpine Lake

Maramuresului Mountains: Going up on Toroiaga Peak

Sunset above Borsa town

On Pietrosul Peak (2303m), Rodnei Mountains. The highest peak in the Eastern Carpathians

Rodnei Mountains. Glacial Lakes

In Borsa, at the foot of Rodnei Mountains