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Let's travel together #133 - Cascada Sila (Sila Waterfall) + Rain of Shooting Stars (Perseids)

Let's travel together #133 - Cascada Sila (Sila Waterfall) + Rain of Shooting Stars (Perseids)

February 2020 · 11 min read · Vâlcea

There are these days when you literally want to take a break from exploring different touristic attractions and you decide to go out there and discover an unknown waterfall which ends up by staying next to a campfire the whole night while watching the sky and the beautiful game of falling stars that is known as Perseids Meteor Shower.


It was August 2018 when we were planning a new journey to the mountains as well as finding the perfect place where to spend the night while watching the well-known meteor shower - Perseids.
We took all the time needed to explore an interactive map that was showing us the best spots from Romania where this event can be watched and where the sky will be clear enough and not too many clouds, if possible, at all.
This is how we decided to head to Vâlcea where are the closest mountains from our hometown and also not too far so we won't spend too much on the road.
We also picked a place where we've been for many times and we already knew where to set out campsite as well as what touristic attractions are in that area. But since we had already visited all the objectives from that place, we thought it's impossible not to discover something which is unknown for the others. So we started zooming in and out on the maps and discovered this waterfall called Sila.

To be honest, the name of the waterfall wasn't too friendly while silă means loathing. But that didn't make us step back, but actually more curious to find out where the name comes from.

As soon as we reached Mălaia - the village where the map was showing us the waterfall is located, we started asking the locals as well as the people who own guesthouses on there about this waterfall, but of course, no one knew anything.
They actually were surprised to hear the name of the waterfall.
So we decided to use the GPS and start hiking from the closest point.
There was a very small panel which was pointing to the trail of the waterfall but there were literally no signs to be followed and also no footprints. The funny part is that no one who was living next to the sign didn't know about the waterfall existence, but that made our challenge become even more interesting.
So we didn't wait any longer and got off the tiny cement bridge and started walking. At the beginning of the track, we discovered various retention dams whose activity probably was to dissipate the hydraulic energy, but once we finished climbing them, on the right side it started being noticed a forest road which was also leading to the north.


On the way to the forest path, there were some blue scarfs on the trees a few meters away from each other, which made us believe it could also be a kind of marker to the waterfall we wanted to discover... but in reality, the signs stopped as soon as we reached an area where the trees were cut down because deforestation it's a normal thing in Romania, unfortunately. But that's a subject I don't plan to talk about in this article since it really hurts seeing how my real home is disappearing with each passing day.

After you walk around 10 mins on the forest road you will start seeing a little river on the right of the path which is the part where you will start following the river's flow and climb the rocks to the waterfall.
That's not going to be an easy thing because it was raining there with just a few days before our explorations and that made the stones we had to climb even more slippery than they normally would be.
The flow of the water was increased too.
But not even the rocks we were stepping over weren't safe enough because there were lots of landslides which were surrounding us and there were many fallen stones.
Unfortunately, on the road to the waterfall, 3 out of 4 members of our journey had fallen and got a few wounds, and I ended up being the single one who didn't slip over, that making us to give up on reaching the waterfall with just a few minutes before getting to it.
We figured that out by following the water's flow which was noticeably stronger and the sound of the water which was very noisy.
But it's a challenge we are going to take again on a different season of the year when the debt of the water is not that big and it's not raining outside.


A thing that we noticed is that the place itself is definitely unique from any other locations we checked before because the colour of the rocks was very red and there were enough of them on the water with lots of red stains similar to blood. I ended up by taking one of these as a memory to the experience we had out there and to never forget it's a challenge we need to accomplish someday when we are better equipped.

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And now analyzing once again all these clues about the waterfall that no one speaks of it, no one heard of it, there is no information of this place nor on the internet or books, makes me believe that its name is not randomly chosen.


But who knows? Maybe there were some bad events that occurred some time ago which made the locals feel a loathing about it? Maybe the bloody stones hide painful memories? Maybe the rusty iron that rests on the water represents the last journey of someone on that way?


That's something that we won't figure out anytime soon for sure, but hopefully, this place will be discovered by the right people and promoted more and become one of the representative touristic attractions of the village. Because it is definitely worth it.

Anyway, we didn't let ourselves be discouraged by the failure of our mission and got back on our campsite, cooking and setting up the tent which was going to be our home for the night that will be spent watching the game of perseids on the sky.
The hours passed very fast and we charged our batteries by filling our lungs with lots of fresh air and the silence of nature, which ended up with a few more clothes and staying around the campfire due to the weather which got colder as soon as the sunset appeared, but not before setting up my camera whose mission was to do a timelapse of the perseids.
This was my first timelapse ever, as well as trying to record or take pictures with a GoPro during the night, so the results might not be the best, but the perseids can still be noticed in the video that will come up on the next Thursday.
I know, maybe you are wondering now why my camera looks that way since it's a waterproof action camera.

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FotoJet (2).jpg

Well, it is unless it stays in its case, but since I needed to have it connected to a power bank to not run out of battery during my experiment, I needed to remove the case and so the camera had risks against humidity because even if it wasn't going to rain at that night, being in the mountains and in August which is at the end of summer, there were heavy dews both at night and in the morning.

Now let's talk a little bit more about this Perseid Meteor Shower phenomenon because maybe there are some of you who never heard about this and would like to live the experience someday.


There are various meteors that can be observed to radiate or originate, from one point in the night sky during different times of the year, but the most known is called Perseids which occurs in August during the warm nights, and which is also the one we attended to, for the 2nd year in a row.

The name of Perseids comes from the point they appear which is part of the constellation Perseus.
The shower of meteors is usually visible starting with the middle of July each year, having the peak in activity between 9 and 14 August, depending on the particular location of the stream.
But the most active days are the last ones (11-14 August) when there can be noticed no less than 60 falling stars every hour.
For example, in 2019 in some part of Romania statistics show that could have been noticed 110 meteors per hour, but the number really depends on the place they are being watched from, as well as how clear the sky is and how big is the altitude level you are being located.
However, because the Perseids are part of the constellation Perseus, they can be mostly seen in the Northern Hemisphere, but not necessarily.
The greatest time to notice this phenomenon is in the pre-dawn hours but since the Earth is moving forward into the stream in some places the falling stars might not be easily noticed due to daylight


Source: Wikipedia

The moon plays a very important role in this game because its light might affect the number of falling stars noticed every hour, especially if there is a close-to-full moon during their peak, the perseids might be washed out and notice just 10-15 on the sky.
The opposite happens if we get a night without moonlight because the rate of meteors can be between 150-200 an hour.
The best way to take advantage of this aspect is by going to the darkest place ever where you are close enough to the sky and there are no clouds, and lean on your back while watching the sky carefully. This might not seem to work at the beginning but once you get used with the lack of visibility and focus more on the sky, you will enjoy the funny game of the stars.


Photo Credits to: David Kingham

The rates when the Perseids can be visible will increase from about 10 p.m. in your local time zone until the dawn, so the later you look, the better you will notice the rain of meteors.
Of course, there is no problem if you watch them earlier, but there won't be as many as it will be later on. However, the meteors that will appear in the sky before 10 PM will have longer trails as they graze onward more of the atmosphere.

If you are planning to become one of the skywatchers keep in mind that the most recommended hour to watch the Perseids is around 3 AM local time but even though they are the main attraction of the night, there can be also noticed some of the planets, like: Mars (visible until 4 AM your local time zone), Saturn (visible until 2 AM your local time zone), Venus (9.30 PM) and Jupiter (11 PM), both of them being set before the meteors are best viewed.

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In 2020, the Perseids will peak on the night between 12–13 Aug and to watch them you need to find a spot which is far away from the city lights. Keep in mind that it can take up to 20 mins until you get used with the darkness and that this is not only the game of the falling stars but also a game that requires lots of patience and concentration from you even if the Perseids are known as one of the brighter meteor showers of the year. But you can check more about them, as well as if you are able to see them from your city or not, on the following interactive map:

The waterfall presented at the beginning of this post, called Sila is located in the village Mălaia which is part of Vâlcea county and the trail we followed starts next from the guest house called Pensiunea Domnitei Sophie from where you will follow the track up on the concrete creek, then get o the forest road until it comes to an end and you need to start following the flow of the water. This will take you to the foot of the Sila Waterfall.




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