Saturday marked a month in country and what better way to celebrate than almost kill yourself about four times on a mountain in the middle of the Carpathians!
The history teacher from my old practicum highs school Liceu Radelescu put together a day long hiking excursion to Bucegi Mountain which is located about 50km away from Targoviste. We were invited along and told it was going to be a medium level hike. Marius, the history teacher, told us that it would take about 3 hours to get to the top. Little did we know that Marius, in fact, is an avid if not semi-professional hiker and it takes HIM 3 hours…not a group of rag tag Americans such as myself an a 77 year old volunteer. As soon as we started our hike we knew that this was not going to be an easy one. We had to inch along drop offs, climb up sections that were at a 45 degree angle and avoid random rocks, holes, and what I believe were stinging nettles. Although it was very difficult and took a little bit longer, I got to the first break point somehow. The second leg was fairly easy and very scenic which was nice. When we got to the third and final leg of the hike which was MUCH harder than the rest, my body started to hate me. Not only did my legs feel like jelly, my stomach started hurting….bad. For those of you that know how much pain my stomach sometimes causes me will understand how awful I felt. At one point I didn’t even have enough energy to keep my eyes open. I even entertained the idea of jumping down a little drop off so I could be carried out of the forest. After about 45 minutes of pain and marking the mountain, I felt much better and continued on. My group, being the last one, made it to the restaurant at the top of the mountain in about 5 hours.
After hanging out and resting for about an hour, we decided to head back down. Some folks were driven back down but being the stubborn individual that I am, I refused. I felt fine and got a second wind and headed down with everyone else. The way down was much easier and took about 2.5 hours. There was one small stretch where my group had to rest quite a bit due to a serpentine uphill climb. I was doing great until the last half hour of the hike down. I felt my right ankle becoming weak so i got out my brace and put it on. We started going through a very leafy area where I tweaked my left ankle a little bit but was fine. Not even 5 minutes after that I slip on some wet leaves and full out twist my left ankle. Super… I had to stop and switch my brace to the now twisted ankle. I ended up tweaking my right ankle as well but it was fine and managed the last part of the hike down fine.
All in all it was an excruciatingly painful day but so worth it. I love the outdoors but they do not have the same feelings towards me. I always end up being a shit show one way or another but manage to persevere. We hiked a total of about 24KM which equals to about 15 miles that day and went up about 600M or 1200Ft. I got to better bond with some of my fellows volunteers and got to know some of the students a lot better as well. They got to practice their English while I attempted to converse in Romanian.