Travel planner: The adventure of crossing one of Romania's most amazing gorges, the Rametului Gorges
I have visited several gorges in Romania and I have to admit, visiting them is one of my favorite ways to unwind and de-stress. The way the water eats out of the rock creating its own path into the mountain has always fascinated me. Most of the gorges I've visited were easily reachable by car, and while I always prefer to walk through gorges, and keep looking up, there's always the option to drive through. Not the case for Rametului Gorges, one of the most amazing places in Romania I've seen so far.
The Gorges created by the river Ramet, in Alba county, close to Alba Iulia, are quite an adventure to cross. Because there's no road, there's no beaten path.
Travelers have to fight their own fears a little and climb a bit, or walk through water to cross the gorge.
Let us start the journey from the beginning. To get there, the easiest way is to set up camp in Alba Iulia – we wrote about it here – and then drive to Geoagiu de Sus – a 40 kilometer drive in a beautiful area. In Geoagiu de Sus, the stop point for us was at Manastirea Ramet, where we parked our car and continued on foot. While the asphalted road continues only a little way towards the Gorges, it is possible to keep driving on the forest road up to a certain point, where people usually camp. All in all, we walked for about one hour into the forest before reaching the Gorges area, and we also discovered the nice village leading to the Gorges, nice little houses, villas hidden in the quiet forest.
As we walked, we seamlessly started to cross the Gorges, realizing the road had vanished and the only way further was jumping from one rock to the other, or the small path near the river on its left side. At times, going through the water, or climbing a bit the rocks near the water were the only two options. Luckily, metal bars have been dug into the rock, so it's not that hard to cross it in the end.
You just have to be careful where the next step will be, otherwise you'll fall into the water. It may not seem very deep, but at times it is. Use a cane improvised from a branch to check how deep the water is. As you will see in the pictures, we took both ways in the end. The deepest water was in an area called the Portal – a former cave which became a crossing, like a door into the mountain. There is a way past it, but some people preferred to cross it through the water for the thrilling feeling it gave.
When crossing the Gorges, a deserted village awaits on the other side, but unfortunately we did not make it that far, and none of the people who were there at the same time did. The water level was too high as it had rained the night before, and there was an area where everyone had to get into the water to cross, and for me the water was too deep, it went above my waist. But I've seen people trying to get further – all of them however were put off by the level of the water and by its coldness. Yes, the water is cold and runs quite fast, you have to make sure you stand strong on both feet and are alert at all times.
There is another alternative to getting wet though, and it becomes visible only at a certain point into the Gorges. You'd have to cross on the other side and start climbing the rock – again, metal handholds are dug into the rock. But the path – called the Goat's path – goes up up the rock, and from what I've read, at times it can get really scary, you'd have to be comfortable with heights and quite strong on your hands and feet. But a nice, more adrenaline triggering option.
The one we took was also filled with adrenaline, at least for me, as I had never done it, and being able to go one way and then back felt like a major achievement. On our way back, it started to rain, quite heavily, so that sped up our pace, and made it a it more dangerous to jump from one rock to the other and from one metal bar to the other, so even more adrenaline. Note to self, always carry a raincoat in the backpack when going to the mountains, and never forget to pack dry clothes. For this specific trip, a second pair of shoes and socks is highly advisable- I had that and it really helped. And a safe crossing of the Gorges requires good sports shoes, which keep the feet stable at all times.
In terms of timing, it took us around five hours in total from leaving from Alba Iulia, so go there early into the day, then you don't have to rush yourself and can have some recuperating and even nap time in the afternoon - your body will thank you for it!
This is a trip I'd make again in a heartbeat, even if I was not convinced about it from the beginning, thinking it would be too extreme for me. In the end, the body adjusted and the way back through the Gorges seemed like a breeze. I need to go back there at least one more time to cross to the other side and get to the deserted village I've been reading about. There's no phone reception in the woods and in the gorges, so a place to truly be with yourself and enjoy nature at its best.
By Corina Chirileasa, firstname.lastname@example.org
(photos: Corina Chirileasa for Romania-Insider.com)