The sinkholes of Mehedinţi Mountains
Starting point:the road Herculane – Baia de Arama from Dumbrava Guesthouse
Arrival point:the road Herculane – Baia de Arama at the access point in Tâmna Gorges (Piatra Puşcată)
Walking time: 8-9 hours.
– blue cross – Dumbrava Guesthouse – Poiana Ţãsna (Ţãsna Meadow);
– yellow point and red strip – Poiana Ţǎsna – Pietrele Albe (White Stones) Peak;
– yellow point – Pietrele Albe Peak – Crovul Mare (Big Sinkhole);
– red cross – Crovul Mare – Tâmna Gorges up to the road Herculane – Baia de Arama
Our team : Max, Fane, Vioica and Stefania hit the road from Dumbrava Guesthouse on June 18, 2016 in a wonderful morning, at 8:00.
After the uphill through the woods we went out to the belvedere point that preceded the entrance in Ţǎsna Gorges. We made a short stop to admire Cerna Mountains as well as the steep walls of Ţǎsna Gorges and the spectacular Black Pine of Banat, grown in almost impossible places.
On a stony and steep path we descended to the water course, in the bottom of the gorges and we followed it upstream along a very picturesque path to the Portal and then to Moara Dracilor (the Devil’s Mill).
Due to the rains that had abounded of the previous period, the vegetation was extremely rich and diverse, a multitude of flowers enlivening the landscape all the way.
We made the traditional pictures at the mill and we followed our way to Poiana Ţǎsna passing by a sheepfold that had announced in advance its presence. Announcements placed on trees, invited the travellers to cheese and polenta.
The exit to Poiana Ţǎsna brought us a fairy tale landscape and many questions because we knew we had to follow a yellow point marking and here we found only a red strip one. After many searches, we found a single yellow point and we decided to follow the red strip hoping that it would lead us on Pietrele Albe Peak that is on the ridge of Mehedinţi Mountains.
So, as we walked out of the gorges in the glade, we go up straight ahead and slightly to the right and then to the left, as we approached the end of the glade. So that finally we would reach a gully (La Scarita) which, because of the moisture, was very slippery.
The road to get here took us about an hour and a half.
Then there was an uphill also following the red strip, up through the forest to a kind of saddle. Here we were a little doubtful if we were on the right track because the paths had blown us a bit, the yellow point meantime disappeared and we had no visibility to orient or find a landmark. More than that, the path goes to the right and we thought that this way we were leaving our target. We made a short stop for meal and hydration and to plan about the next step: we go back or continue on the red strip. Up to our knowledges, in about two and a half hours we should have been on Pietrele Albe Peak, and this time already had passed.
We decided together to follow the red strip for another 30 minutes and if we did not “light up” somehow, we had go back.
So we went back on the road with refreshed forces. Soon our patience was rewarded, because we came out of the woods and we saw that we were on the right way (we saw the Peak Pietrele Albe). We followed the trail again through the forest full of flowers to the marking pillar indicating 1/4 hours to Pietrele Albe Peak.
We reached Pietrele Albe in four and a half hours since we started our trip.
Already the brotherwort and strawberries appeared, and on the left could be seen Poiana Ploştina, a wonderful, strange island of green without trees, rising in the middle of forests.
Meanwhile the yellow point reappeared and we followed it from Pietrele Albe Peak to Crovul Ploştinoare and further to Crovul Mare.
For those who do not know the term, “Crovurile of Mehedinti Mountains” are huge sinkholes covered with green and trees, from place to place. Their walls are decorated with lapies. In short, an exceptional karst landscape, unique in Romania, and probably in a wider geographical area.
On our route, Crovul Plostinoare, Crovul Medved, Poienile Porcului and Crovul Mare, come one after another creating a landscape surprising through its beauty and uniqueness, which let you breathless.
We stopped in Crovul Mare from where on the “red cross” marking we started our downhill through Tâmna Gorges. The journey from Pietrele Albe Peak to Crovul Mare took just over 3 hours.
The chain of sinkholes continues, with Poiana Mare and Poiana Beletina, up to the foot of Stan’s Peak.
Tâmna Gorges opens a window to Cerna Mountains, on which we look them during our descend on a steep trail. Then, we follow the path on a level curve and the road through the forest to the end point of our route: the exit on the road Herculane – Baia de Arama in the point Piatra Puscata.
I have to mention the crossing of a picturesque meadow with few wooden houses and the rest at a small spring where we appease with fresh water.
Since approx. 6 hours when we left Ţǎsna Gorges, we did not have water on the route.
In Crovul Medved, at a depopulated sheepfold there is a protected water source, but the way it looks is not too good, so, better do not use it.
At 17 o’clock, 9 hours after departure, we went out on the road and returned to Dumbrava Guesthouse and then to Herculane.