The road less traveled
It is said that the best adventure is on the road less traveled. And because people rarely take this road there are no road signs and there is no asphalt. The secret that hides at the end of the road will surely worth the ride. Here’s a different type of adventure travel – extreme toxic.
Geamana was a village in the Sunset Mountains of Romania, and as the name suggests, the views in the area were breathtaking. Now why would you visit a place that was?Nestled in the heart of the mountains, away from traffic and the rest of the world the village was situated in one of the richest areas in gold and copper.
In 1977 the communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu decided to set in motion the copper exploitation from Rosia Poieni. About 400 houses were evicted and families relocated for this to happen. The ones that did not take the offer from the state moved further uphill to escape the flood.
In 1986 when the tailings discharge started, about 1000 people lived in the area.
Nowadays only a few families, what’s left from the cemetery and the church tower coming out of the water are proof of the community that once lived here.
Geamana ecological disaster flooded the village with mud, tailings, reddish, green and turquoise waters, a toxic lake in the middle of the most beautiful landscape. The view is a spectacle.
From Lupsa to Geamana there are about 7 km. The hardest part is ascending to Hadarau as the gravel is loose and you can easily lose control. Arriving at a junction only some writing on the wall of a bridge will give you an idea on where to go.
We followed the road to the Dam, unpaved, with sections of loose gravel, but manageable with an adventure motorbike.
The lake goes from dry mud to green and turquoise waters. The view is spectacular, but the spectacle is a sad one. The waters are not clear or clean, they’re toxic waste. The trees that are closer or in the water are leafless and dry and their reflection in the green water is a tragic image.
As we move further on the road, we discover abandoned houses, some of them ready to be swallowed by the acid waters.
A road to the right takes us to the cemetery. Initially placed on a hill, the crosses are now submerging into the lake. Only a few of them remain outside the water to tell the story of the life that was.
The church is the soul of the community in the traditional Romanian village. It is where people get married, where they baptize their children, the place where they go to every week for the Sunday mass, where they sing carols at Christmas, where they meet their neighbors and talk about the community.
The Bells of the church are no longer ringing. The only sound you hear is from the small waterfall of waste. Sources tell that the lake grows 90 to 100 cm per year, so the entire cemetery and the church will soon be gone.
Visiting this place is a spectacle.
It is amazing how a place can be beautiful and sad at the same time. If you are into roads less travelled and happen to be in the area, don’t miss out. This experience is something that you will talk about for days. Just as we do ….
Number of km: 30 km
Time: 2hours ride
Motorbike model: adventure bike/enduro/off road
Type of road: dirt road/gravel/loose gravel
Experience in off road riding required
When to visit: during summer time, in the morning after sun comes out