Hiking expeditions in Eastern Europe

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Week of May 29-June 4, 1997

Hiking expeditions in Eastern Europe
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Question: I'm heading to Eastern Europe in June and would like any information you have on hiking trails in Romania (Carpathian or Transylvanian Mountains), Bulgaria, and the Czech Republic. I was thinking of a few two- or three-day trips into the wilds of these countries.

Guy Neill
Vancouver, BC

Adventure Adviser: In Romania, head to the winter ski resort of Sinaia in the Bucegi Mountains. From here you can take a cable car up the mountain and hike three and a half hours northwest to Cabana Babele, a little mountain hut. Here you can catch a cable car down or keep hiking to Bran Castle. The trail to Bran Castle consists of yellow markings, which will take you to Cabana Omul, a hut where you can sleep for about $4 on a platform with a mattress.

If you don't feel the need to stop, keep following the yellow triangles across Mount Scara, where you'll find an empty hut. This is about five hours from Cabana Omul — you'll definitely need a warm sleeping bag if you spend the night there. From the refuge, begin the long descent down to Ciubotea Gorge. You'll come to a logging road beside a river; this will take you to Bran Castle. You can camp in the forest or head to Bran for a place to stay.

In the Czech Republic, serious hikers head to the Malá Fatra Mountains that stretch for miles across northwestern Slovakia. At 5,605 feet, Vel'k´y Kriván is the highest peak. In the center of the park is Vrátna, a gorgeous mountain valley enclosed by forested slopes. For more detailed information, find a copy of the Guide to Czechoslovakia, by Simon Hayman (Bradt Publications, England).

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