Hășmașu Mare - Ceahlău Mountains
It is a mountain with multiple peaks, surrounded by huge woodlands. It is divided into two parts, the one is accessible on paved road, namely the surroundings of Lacul Roșu (Red Lake) – Cheile Bicaz (Bicaz Gorges), whilst the other is the region of Piatra Singuratică (Solitary Rock) and Hășmașu Mare (Great Hasmas) Peak. The Red Lake – Bicaz Gorges region is a rocky pass hollowed on the ridge of the hill, the Solitary Rock – Great Hasmas Peak is the subalpine zone of the mountains, including the highest peak, as well. The region of Red Lake and Bicaz Gorges is actually developed to a touristic attraction, surrounded by legends, but in fact it is a very spectacular landscape. Turning off from the crowded pathways, we can explore a unique world. We can hike on the verge of its tight cliffs or deep in the clutch of the rocky walls, where the eyes hardly perceive the real sizes of height or depth. In contrast, the Solitary Rock and the Hasmas Peak, looking imposing, offer beautiful panoramic views. Climbing up to the Solitary Rock, a vertiginous awe-inspiring sight will meet our gaze, then we hike up to the highest summit, passing through the fresh pine-wood, where the mountain offers a view of the whole place and of its next neighbors, either in winter or in summer: an experience that cannot be missed. In addition to these, there is only a little level difference, so we can get to the most enchanting panorama easily. The tours can practically be accomplished with a below-average physical condition level, but regarding its sightseeing spots it is among the best range of high mountains in Transylvania. To the heritage of the mountain belong the Lázár Castle or the Mikó Fortress from Miercurea Ciuc.
A few information about the mountain
It can be visited the whole year, being easily accessible, here are no exhausting full day hiking tours, from the cars left in the car-park, or from the mountain hot, each place can be reached in 1-2 hours. In winter there is no avalanche risk on the hill-side, either any marked terrain with slipping out dangers. In brief, the place offers comfortable and pleasant tours. We can approach to it from the basins closed in the hills, where the temperature inversion is quite frequent, I mean, as long as in the basin the weather is cold, a pleasant sunshine can be waiting for us up in the hill. It is not a rear phenomenon that the basin is covered with clouds and fog, while at a higher level we can delight in the sight of the immenseness of the sea of clouds below us. It is a landscape formed of limestone with all the beauty of it: reef of rocks, deep canyons and huge walls holding the whole mountains. It is surrounded by gigantic continuous forest-lands, which is interrupted now and then by friendly glades. Its subalpine pastures are dominated with flocks of sheep or herds of cows guarded by shepherds. Although its surroundings accessible from the Red Lake – Bicaz Gorges paved road are a very popular touristic attraction, in contrast with the high range of mountains, the Hasmas Mountains are visited mostly by local nature-lover. You will need at least 2-3 days for this place, but the attractive force of the mountain will move you for further tours. Generally we spent a day in the surroundings of the Red Lake, and two more days in the higher regions accessible from the mountain hut.
Some words about the tours
It is an authentic Transylvanian region, ideal for easy hiking tours and nature photo shoots. If you are heading for the first time in the mountains, and if you are not accustomed with great hiking distances, this is an ideal place to try yourself. With a few hours hiking we can get everywhere, actually most often we used to take both a morning and an afternoon walk. In case of bad weather conditions, we can go back to our accommodation place. Moreover, this is the mountain where we used to organize night tours, as well. The number of the group is not restricted, but due to the travel and other logistic problems we can guide max. 8 persons. Regarding the equipment we have it much easier as in case of other mountains. Of course you need to carry with you hiking boots, clothing (wind and raincoat/trousers, polar underclothing, the usual sunglasses, hiking stock, headlamp, etc.). Also in winter you will need maximum a pair of snowshoes. A 20-25 liter backpack would be a good size for exchange clothing, food supply (ingredients for sandwiches, chocolates, grains, eventually fruits).
The region of Red Lake – Bicaz Gorges is rich in accommodations. You can find anything, providing different qualities, different services. We made use of it only a few times, we have tried to get to the quiet house in the other side of the mountain. Perhaps we can name very few mounting huts located in so a picturesque landscape. The hut serves as a typical, safe mountain hut, which can offer nothing but a sleeping place. Theoretically, cooked food can be bought here, but our experience shows that better don’t reckon on it. WC and toilette are outside, as usually in case of mountain refuges, respectively, you’d better carry with you a sleeping bag up to the house. You don’t need to carry much, from the car left in the car-park the house is accessible in approximately 1,5 hours. Camping is allowed.