One quiet evening sitting at home, while resting my eyes on the bookshelves lined with aged mountain-guidebooks, one particular book caught my eye. In a flash I was sent back in time, more than 20, even 30 years ago to an age when the world we were living in was full of endless possibilities… Scanning through the worn pages I found myself again walking the now-forgotten pathways of Poiana Ruscă Mountains depicted in those very pages. Long lost trails that marked the beginnings of the many mountain paths I was to explore and lead later on…
Over the years we have been blessed to feast our eyes on the grandest and most spectacular of all mountains, from the mighty Himalayas to the single-standing Kilimanjaro, from the harsh Andes to the bewildering Alps. However, we’ve found that when the heart and mind are in perfect stillness and peace, the timeless beauty of Nature can be enjoyed even close to home, in the very mountains that daily shape our distant horizons.
As autumn, with its rusty colors begins to set in, we decided to dust the sand of time from the aged trails of the nearby Poiana Ruscă Mountains, exploring some of its once so familiar paths. This time on two wheels 😉
Not long ago we traversed the Parâng Mountains via the Transalpina Road, so we decided to replicate the challenge this time traversing the Poiana Ruscă Mountains from East to West. We’ve heard there’s a new tarmac road snaking up the mountain with hairpin turns dubbed “Banat’s Transalpina”, and we were aiming to couple it with the old road that traversed the mountain.
Trying to find where this new road lays, we weren’t really able to locate it on any mapping system, so we assumed it’s going to be on our way. However, „Banat’s Transalpina” proved to be more allusive, and we’ve easily missed it, taking instead one of the many old forest roads. Nowadays Poiana Ruscă’s mountain trails get very little attention from tourists, leaving its solitary and unspoiled pathways almost all to ourselves. We chose a dirt road gently climbing through thick forests along Bega Luncanilor River, which eventually turned a little steeper as it neared the mountain ridge we aimed to cross. A road junction at Tăul Ursului, close to Padeș Peak (1374m), marks the beginning of a steep descent. As we near Rușchița Quarry, the road turns to white marble powder shimmering in the sunlight. Resembling a Mesopotamian ziggurat,Rușchița’s impressive marble quarry with its giant marble blocks stands out visibly in the mountainside. From here downwards life on the valley is shaped by the marble quarried higher up, the road being lined with countless marble workshops and warehouses. A few more kilometers of almost flat cycling and we successfully completed our traverse of Poiana Ruscă Mountains.
„Banat’s Transalpina” had been tantalizingly close. Once back home, we made further research into this allusive road’s exact location. Fast forward a few weeks later, and we were back at the foothills of the same Poiana Ruscă Mountains, this time with our homework done and determined to pedal up „Banat’s Transalpina”. Actually, this pretty steep road is better known locally by the names “Transluncani” or “Transoboare”, as it starts on the old “oboare” road inconspicuously marked in the main intersection in Luncanii de jos village.
Less than a kilometer from this intersection, the gently climbing road brings us in front of a steep hillside rising like a tall wall directly in front of us, with a fresh tarmac road snaking up abruptly on its side. A 20% road inclination sign welcomes us to the “Transluncani”, and for the next kilometers we will be relentlessly biking up slopes of 10 – 23% inclination cut through refreshing birch tree forests with a splendid panorama over Poiana Ruscă’s thickly forested mountainscape.
We were hoping “Transluncani” road would lead up to Tăul Ursului. However, upon reaching the highest point on “Transluncani” we found ourselves nowhere near our desired destination. A 23% road inclination warning sign marked the beginning of a pretty steep descent, shortly after the tarmac abruptly ending in a dirt forest road junction, apparently lost in the middle of nowhere. Tăul Ursului lay somewhere higher up the dirt road, following some yet waiting to be explored forgotten trails. For now, we decided to take the descending road cut through shady forests and return to Luncanii de jos village, thus closing a complete circuit.
Looking on the map after these two rides, it became obvious Poiana Ruscă Mountains still have countless forest roads just waiting to be explored, be it on two wheels or… on two feet 🙂Tags: cycling, poiana, rusca, transluncani