Friday, April 17, 2015

Pricopanului Ridge

I grew up in Galati, and that meant that I got used to seeing Macin mountain area each time I would pass close to the city's waterfront
Later, as I was travelling to Constanta on a monthly basis, I often took the road that would take me to the feet of this (not so) tall mountain range, but I never got the chance to climb the tracks and see the beautiful landscape from the peaks of these mountains.
So, finally, this spring, the next day after Easter finds me climbing Pricopanului Ridge.

Culmea Pricopanului

This track is marked quite well, with a blue stripe, and starts from Fantana de Leac area, where we should stock up on drinking water, specially if the day will be hot. The monastery nearby is reachable from the tarmac road leading out of Macin city. After taking us on top of several peaks, (Caramalau, Vraju, Mangy Rock, Sulucu Mic and Sulucu Mare) we will arrive close to the rock quarry we passed as we came in.

Muntii Macinului - Culmea Pricopanului

Further along the track, as we get higher, we can see the monastery back in the valley.

Caramalau Peak (277m)

After a short but steep climb we reach Caramalau Peak, and get our first glimpse of the surrounding area. To the North we can see Cheita peak, and further in the distance the city of Galati. To the East we see the city of Macin, and our track continues to the South.

The Cross on Macin

This cross, laid in stone, overlooks the valley from which we started our climb.

Vraju Peak

On top of the rocky peak called Vraju (335m). Although you can go round this peak if you follow the dirt road, I would suggest climbing it just for the views.

Rocks on Pricopanului Ridge

From Vraju Peak to Serparu Pass the plateau is full of these big boulders. We found a lot of turtles in the area.

Resting place on Pricopanului Ridge

Descending from Vraju peak, we reach Serparu pass, where we can find a nice resting spot with wooden benches for a quick snack. This is more or less the middle of the trail on Pricopanului Ridge. I found info online about a spring 200m from this place along the dirt road, but I did not check it out myself, and I wouldn't rely to much on it during the summer anyway. 

Mangy Rock peak

After a steep climb from Serparu pass, we reach the peak called the "Mangy Rock" (Piatra Raioasa) at 346m altitude :)

Sulucu Mic peak

From Sulucu Mic peak (317m) we get a good view of the last climb towards Sulucu Mare, and the first sight of the tallest peak in Macin mountains ( Tutuiatu peak). 

Sulucu Mare peak

And finally on the tallest peak of Pricopanului Ridge, Sulucul Mare. At the incredible height of 370m, this peak towers all the rest. The views are amazing, especially down the valley, (where we will descend to get back to the monastery) and back towards the other areas we've been.
Further South, we can clearly see Tutuiatul peak (467m), surrounded by dense forest.

Overall, the trip was quite rewarding as we got to see some amazing sites, and play with turtles.
The track is roughly 10km long. Starting from a height of 42m and all the way to 370m we will go up and down with a total of 564m in elevation gain. The maximum slope is about 37%, with an average of 11 %.
I hope this post will convince you to give this small but incredibly old mountain a go. If it does, please tell me, I would love to know. Meanwhile, have fun and enjoy the panoramic pictures.
PS: Remember the full screen function for the best viewing experience!

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