Saturday, 27 July 2013

The Pyrenees – Ordesa Valley, High Aragon II. (Faja Racón)

BEWARE! The following blogs about the Pyrenees are extra long, full of pictures of amazing scenery and contain an extra amount of panoramas. You’ve been warned!

Last night we realised how tired we were after that 7 hour walk and not having enough sleep in the last few nights (it has been REALLY hot in Barcelona recently) these were taking their toll on us. This is why we decided that today we´re going to do a short, 3.5-4 hours walk. After reading through many options we decided to go with the Speaker’s Way, the Faja Racón. It started similarly to yesterday´s walk, a 400m ascent right at the start, then a walk along the mountain, then down. Sounded simple. Check out the route map if you´re interested.

We started off very early (again) and the clouds were still sitting around Torla.

We took the 20 minute bus journey again. After getting off the bus we started our walk. It was still early and the clouds were sitting on the top of the pine trees.

We first walked through a birch forest. The trees were tall and white and the forest had a silvery-green colour.

We walked through two gorges with a fast flowing river on our right and the path was lined with magnificent rock walls.

The ascent was gentler today and the path followed a zigzag line. As it was still early the forest was still a bit misty and eerie. It looked like a fairy tale land where as soon as you turn away the fairies pop out from behind the trees and rocks.

Our path lead right next to the Cotatuero waterfall which with its 200m height makes it one of Spain’s longest waterfalls. The water comes so fast that when you stand in front of it on the bridge it feels like it's forcing you back and you have to take a step back. 

By the time we got to the top of the ascent through the pine forest we reached the line of the sunshine, too.   

From here we were walking on the side of the mountain that is located exactly opposite to yesterday’s walk. The path is basically a protruding terrace on a rock wall meaning it is narrow, on your right there’s a steep wall, and on your left there’s a 400m drop.  It’s an amazing experience to walk here.

We walked around the first rock wall, passed a few waterfalls then we got to a place where we simply just had to stop and sit down.

The landscape was enormous. Behind, next to us and in front of us were stripy, foresty rock walls so enormous that my mind needed a few minutes to comprehend the size of them. Right at the tip of my shoes a huge drop and under us waaaay below the Ordesa Valley with the Azaras river. Finally we found the perfect place to sit down. We sat there for a while and soaked in this amazing atmosphere. There was silence around us, the sun shone but wasn´t hot and this was the view we were looking at.

After a few minutes we got up and started walking again. We walked around a rock wall that jutted out a bit and got into another lovely part. The scale of the mountains around us was just mindblowing. On the wall all around us there was so much life, bees whizzed right next to us left and right, we had to dodge the butterflies there were so many of them, greenery and flowers everywhere! It felt like they are saying ´get out of the way, human!´.

We had to cross this waterfall that coloured the rock dark.

Where is the road? When we finally found the path we saw a few cairns on the path. We quickly built another one on the start so that others coming after us won´t have to look for it.

We found a great spot to have lunch at. We also spotted this waterfall. It starts falling but it stops halfway as the water becomes a mist.

At last we got to the point where the path turns off the rock terrace and we started the long way down. It was steep and didn’t want to end! In hindsight I would’ve done this walk the other way around as going down was hard on the knees and if we swapped the end and the beginning it would’ve been easier for us.

When we got down we decided that we are still full of energy, the sun is shining and we have the whole afternoon in front of us so instead of taking the bus we walked back to Torla.

We saw the windy road the bus has to take down.

On the way back we spotted Torla.

Back in the village.

Instead of an easy day we managed to do a 6.5 hours walk again! Looks like we really cannot take it easy! When we got back to the village it was market day. We walked in the market, got a cold drink, sat down and almost fell asleep! We were so tired!  

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