Ever since I saw the first photo of the Isle of Skye in the UK I instantly put it on my "To See" list. But since Scotland is considerably far from Romania and my student budget back in 2013 was pretty low, I had to do the next best thing. The family wanted to go on a two-day round trip around Transylvania, and while I was looking at the road map (yes, I still use a traditional road atlas of Romania which actually showcases the most important attractions - both natural and man made - pretty cool!) I stumbled upon something called detunata - which I never heard of before, so Google-d it quickly. I almost jumped in excitement when I saw that it is an actual mass of basalt columns and it is located only 180 kilometers away from my town. We immediately put the village of Bucium (Alba county) in our itinerary, since the hiking route started from there. The road until the village was good, and once there, you can see a signpost signalling where you need to turn to the left to get on the road leading to this natural volcanic formation. Once you turn left, the asphalt road ends and a dirt road begins. We left the car at the bottom, although a few other cars went a bit more up. But we chose to walk instead.
The blazes that lead to the Detunata are painted with a red dot and are everywhere, so you can't really get lost if you follow them.
The path eventually lead us between some pines at first, then took us right into the woods. Once we stepped into the forest, the small rocks beneath our feet slowly became bigger and bigger, and we started to notice that we weren't stepping on grass anymore, but on a very mushy moss.
Then we reached a bridge, and saw the first actual basalt columns. All done by nature - pretty cool, huh?
We kept on going for about two minutes or so, and then something totally unexpected emerged from behind the bushes and trees... it was like someone put a stack of basalt there!
I have to admit that I didn't expect this huge amount of basalt fractions. There wasn't too much info about the Detunata Flocoasa on the internet, just a few photos of the Detunata Goala (the Empty Detunata), which we couldn't find in the end. The difference between the two is the Detunata Flocoasa has a forest on top of it, while the Empty Detunata/Detunata Goala doesn't have any trees at the top.
We continued our journey towards the top, because we wanted to see how the surroundings looked like from the top of a basalt column mountain. The path was a bit steep, but it wasn't very long, and since we took our time, my parents could climb it too, so honestly, I think anyone can climb it.
Once we got to the top of the hiking path, we had another steep climb to get to the top of the basalt formations. It was steep and slippery, but everyone happily made it to the peak!
The view was stunning, we actually got to see the Groapa Ruginoasa (Ruginoasa Abyss) from a distance, which is "a huge gullet with rust-colored clefts". And if you dare to look down, you'll see the pile of stones and rocks right beneath you.
After catching our breath and staring at the awesome view for nearly half an hour, we started descending from the peak of Detunata Flocoasa. We took another glimpse of the peak before we stepped on to the dirt road leading back to our car.
To sum it up, I think it took us about 3 hours to get to the peak and back to the car, in a calm and slow tempo. The unfortunate thing I learned is that it is very difficult to find good and useful travel information about the lesser known but equally interesting attractions on Romania .So if you have any questions on the Detunatas, don't hesitate to contact me!