Hiking from Vascau to Moneasa (15-20km). Visiting the limestone highland Camp Moti, a miracle-full landscape with many dolinas. Here you have a first view in the lives of the mountain villages. You will see small marble mines and probably also lime burning - for small groups: for this day you must have an extra driver
We were together with children (that time 5 and 8 years old) in 2003.
Caves and gorges are tremendous specially Fortress of Ponor ( Cetatile Ponorului ),The Gorges of the Galbena (Cheile Galbenei)- go directly through the cave, The Radeasa's Fortress Cave (Cetatea Radesei)- you can make the small ring but also the biger one (4 hours).
The Live Fire Cave - glacier (Pestera Ghetarul Focul Viu)- was less exciting than we thougth- maybe because of hot summer- the ice was not so impresive. A lot of horses on the mountain meadows- very impresive. Not so many tourist (in mid-August!). So maybe better not to share it with others? Let it be empty fot the future ;-)
Camping is allowed only in certain sites-you will find them easy!
We slept in Poiana Varasoiara Cabana in the 4 person cabin (approx.10 EUR in 2003) which was located on the way to Cetatea Radesei.There was a hot water in the evenings! Very clean! Full boarding was possible- we took only suppers (approx.10 EUR in 2003).
The Padis map (rather a tourist paths scheme- but enough for hiking) was available there. It looked much nicer and definetly quiet than Padis Cabana that time.
We accesed there by car ( the compact class not 4x4 brand new car ) but 20 km took us 4 hours of carefull drive because of the forest road with some asphalte remains.
We met extremly friendly and open people during the trip!Are all Romanians like that? I (and the rest of my 'team') have to check it again.
I am not good at writting (partly because of English). So see details on the web site bellow.
In Padis they have some ice caves. These ice caves are relicts from the Ice Age and still contain snow and, of course, ice. The stalagtites and stalagmites in these caves are made out of ice.
The Focul Viu is a special cave with free entrance. To protect the cave you are not allowed to get in it very deep. Otherwise you can destroy the ice relicts and besides that it's dangerous.
You can reach Focul Viu by following the yellow dotted or the red striped signed trail. Take a map with you (Padis, din Muntii Bihor, 1:30.000), because it is not very easy to get there.
It's difficult to get into the inner heart of the Apuseni Mountains: Padis.
The best way from Cluj is to take the train to Huedin and then heading south by hitchiking till Rachitele. From there you can walk to Padis. It's a two days walk
When you want to go back, just ask a lumberjack. They can help you to get out of the region in a special way (see picture).
It's very easy to hitch hike in this part of Romania. It's like a national sport.
During my stay in the mountains we have seen three species of amphibians: the yellow-bellied toad (Bombina Variegata), the common brown frog (Rana Temporaria) and the alpine newt (Triturus Alpestris).
I think it is also possible to spot here the carpathian newt (Triturus Montandoni), the fire salamander (Salamandra Salamandra) and the red-bellied toad (Bombina Bombina)
Once I catched a brown frog here. It was peeing on me like a fountain. I have catched many frogs but have never seen this kind of behaviour before. Maybe it was not a common brown frog... Who can give me the answer?
In these mountains there still live some big mammals like wolves, bears, lynxes, deer and wild boar.
You can expect some special birds like cappercailles (Tetrao Urogallus), Oehoes (Bubo Bubo) and the Ural Owl (Strix Uralensis).
The Turdus Torquatus (don't know the word in English) is a common bird species.
In Padis I have seen a lot of yellow-bellied toads (Bombina Variegata) and Alpine Newts (Triturus Alpestris)