Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Cheile Turzii Reserve

As a reward for 4 days indoors developing targets for the European Plant Conservation Strategy, we had a trip into the field to the Cheile Turzii Reserve near Turda about an hours drive from Cluj.
We had the option of either going through the gorge and back (popular with the bryologists) or a longer circular walk over the top of a limestone ridge and back through the gorge. I opted for the 'up and over' though after a very quick steep ascent through oak woods my calves were complaining not having walked for a while.

It was worth it to come to a wonderful species rich meadow and after a slippery climb through beech woods onto a plateau of short grassland with magnificant panoramic views.
After several days rain we were lucky with the weather, only starting to rain when we made our descent which on a grassy slope of barely stabilised scree was a bit tricky! The only reason I didn't fall was my third leg (trekking pole) though I used my bottom strategically in places.
Then back through the gorge on limestone boulders covered in algae - they did have metal cables in place to grab hold of where it was narrow.

A great sense of achievement - it took 4 1/2 hours without a break, and I was more than ready for my picnic and an 'Ursus' beer! Just as well I wore brown trousers - they got very muddy ( had to pack them separately for the flight home)

Spectacular views from the top of the gorge

Botanists in the meadow area ( the slope really was that steep!)

Pulsatilla (Pasque flower) in the short grassland on limestone

At the other end of the ridge looking down (the descent was long, steep and slippery)

Near the entrance to the gorge

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