Monday, 12 October 2015

A Pyrenean Perigrination Part Four

Well, you can breathe easy, no need to send a rescue team. We're not still stuck in our shelter chewing forlornly on dried parsley (although it really is quite nice) 

No Ark building necessary

It would seem churlish not to give thanks, for clearer skies,  'all done up' for a night out.
(washed hair, put on sandals)

For some reason the 'food porn' shots from that nights' dinner wouldn't load..even on the third attempt........maybe I'll do a separate 'camping it up' food post...Suffice to say our American friends had advised us well, juicy thin cut lamb chops; those beasts live well in these parts, and the richest darkest duck. 

The next day was designated a 'rest day' so we decided to do a shortish circuit (just six hours) around the bottom of Ordesa Gorge. Walking without a full pack - most stuff left at campsite - felt a bit strange - that slightly unnerving "have I forgotten something" feeling.
Meant that motoring past the sightseeing masses was even easier than usual.


The gorge is justly famous as a landscape feature, but poor visibility and a lot of trees made it hard to fully appreciate the scale,

It's big

A tall stand reaching for the light

Couldn't resist, a new 'safety' Opinel, great for spreading and cutting, plus it has a lion on it saying GRRR......
How appropriate!

I imagine it would be a gorgeous gorge in bright sunshine

Finally had enough of the dog walking hoardes...
(not really)

Fun ghi ....Really.

What is it about falling water?

The following morning, after doing the maths - how many meals til next shops? We restuffed our packs with foodstuffs and had a civilised Sunday start.
 Tomatoes on toast for me...sneaking veg into breakfast..

Leaving town, skirt rolled down to a demure length for the Sabbath

Good example of making do with whatever comes to hand. 

These beautiful old barns are totally at home here. sitting on the still grazed terraced hillside.

The path goes straight up cutting across the switch back road to the churchlet of Santa Ana

Edible? Not sure.

Still Beauty in decay.....This was just waiting for someone to notice it. 

Terraces still in use at 1450 m and more 'well settled' barns,

A 'gall' on a rose - caused by the plants reaction to a virus entering through a damaged stem..


Are handstands against a church blasphemous? What if 'he 'is looking down on us? Best to tuck your skirt into your knickers just in case girls....Oh it is yoga by the way - as well as fun - Adho Mukha Vrksasana

Congregation noticeable by their absence, probably wouldn't fit through the door anyhow.

The sign writers need some diversity training - the girl is always behind....

Fly Agaric, this is reputedly the hallucinogen that the 'Beserkers' used to take before going into battle 

We guessed a rain gauge, although it did seem to have caught quite a lot of bugs...

There were patches of trees that didn't look well, 

The clean air allows the lichen to grow large, gratuitous gaiter shot excused as 'scale'..

Could be the aftermath of an Ent Altercation? - Worrying...

At the 'mirador'- viewpoint, there is ....A view! Down into the Gorge.

Still overcast, but maybe it will brighten up?

More sage and timely advice, don't throw stones away it may cause a tragedy....

It doesn't brighten up, it gets cloudier, it starts to rain, then it hails...Mmm Sunny Spain, but at this height you've got to be prepared for all weathers, leggings applied under skirt, gloves found.
 Coffee brewed, and accepted with surprised gratitude by a passing Dutch student . He  was interested in how we came to be carrying relatively small loads, compared with most folks backpacking this area.

He got a briefish precis re the gossamer like properties of various pieces of equippage (thankfully it was hailing) Turns out he was porting three towels in his pack,because "They came in a pack of three" There's just no arguing with logic like that...

We skirt the southern edge of the gorge on the rough track towards Nerin, Despite gloves freezy hands are cold enough to remind me of picking sprouts in December,,

Spectacular if moody

The path gives access to the gorges edge for vertiginous views, across to the cliffs and waterfalls on the far side.

It really is a looong way down, the gargantuan proportions of this epic feature are easier to grasp from up here.

These little limestone 'people' put me in mind of Anthony Gormleys' 'Field'.....Yes..... He is a local farmer.

First sighting of another iconic landscape feature local to here. The Breche de Roland, a gap in the cliffs that mark the border between Spain and France.

It's enough to make a girl dizzy.

The gorge starts to get wider and shallower

Modern life...Taking pictures of people taking pictures, hands blue with cold.

Certain the geology would look even better with a bit of sun on it

The kite (60g!) gets a birds eye view

It does start to brighten up, maybe it's the competition 

Track to Nerin, afternoon promise of fair weather

From a distance this barn is barely visible sitting in the landscape from which it is created.... Disguise foiled by workman's van.

Our proposed destination was still an hour and a half away, but feet seemed to be suffering from walking on the track. Hopping over stones and rougher ground seems to keep them happier... Their natural element I suppose.
Lots of people show up at yoga with allegedly flat feet, they're not flat usually, it's just a case of use those arches or lose them.... Good news is... 'We can rebuild them'

Some invitingly comfy terraces hove into view...Don't mind if I (we) do...
For pitch 9. Barranco de la Fueva    20km 1200m

Narrowish view from a small tent...

Sun appears - just as it starts to go down, ho hum. there's always tomorrow.....

"You won't get where you want to go, if you only travel on sunny days"..........Sign on an umbrella display...

Liking the look of these morning clouds

Where would be without the faithful much loved and used meths stove? - packs down small, weighs barely anything..sorry that stat currently unavailable  I'll ask.....or you can.

I did have a gas cartridge as an alternative 'planted' in my " Did you pack this bag yourself madam" Rucsack. (in fairness it didn't say anywhere on train ticket that you couldn't take them)

 It led to it's confiscation, and a bit of bag emptying at st Pancras station. But what else was he going to find??

OH ..." Do you think he's looking for an IUD?"

 "I think you mean IED;  we really don't have time for him to go rummaging for the other; the train leaves in ten minutes"

'Relieved', grey clad figure catches me up.

Still haven't found out what this unusual plant is called,,,,,,Horticultural Ignorance Shocker!

Looking East

As a youngster, I'm pretty certain I was as tiresomely guilty as many a 'gad about' of suggesting that my less well travelled mates were being 'a bit parochial'.
But if someone doesn't stick around to do the homemaking; you don't get the sense of place found in a village like this,,,

Further down the Valley we arrive at Sercue, suggested in the guidebook as a potential pitching spot; as it was one of many deserted villages hereabouts. (15 year old guidebook) Quite glad we didn't make it this far it wouldn't so much have been 'spooky' as  the book suggested..

More just a bit awkward....The village is being gradually renovated, good news as these houses are built to last, and to be lived in...

Outdoor tomatoes, being grown under a 'hail shelter'

Someone enjoys a bit of walling...Here it contains the pumpkin patch...They can get a bit rampant..

Mid morning brew stop on the narrow terraces beyond the village, we could have camped here....If someone had been willing to carry me...

Never seen such blue sloes; the heat? Or the soil?

Path edges garlanded with Bryony

We are heading towards the bottom of the Anisclo Gorge; smaller than Ordesa but because of trickier access much quieter

It's also more picturesque to our eyes

Plunging pools of turquoise..

Ferns growing from base of hazel bole.

The sign says "no swimmimg"  OH considers defiance..... I consider defence........"He slipped m'Lud"

Guidebook suggests this would be an ideal spot for sunbathing....Hmmmn; just one thing missing...

This would be ideal for ten lengths, but.....

The path is rougher so consequently much less travelled.... Great. 

You don't get so many shots of the more scrambly bits....Hands are busy elsewhere...

He  definitely could get away with a bit of a skirt...

We hardly bothered to hold onto this chain fixed above the drop....hardly at all.... 

The gorge broadens out

If a boulder rolls down a ravine; and there's no one there to hear it.....

Just as I was clicking on this 'photo, someone on the radio said " Those shorts are a bit short aren't they?"
  No word of a lie.....Tucked in yoga-bloomers style; he did insist upon taking a picture..! Lovely view up the gorge all the same.

And another gorgeous gorge view..

Another day another dog pose...Nice release for the neck after a day carrying a pack.

Signs of wild boar digging, OH saw a big one earlier in the trip.....

 Why would you not want to camp here? Surrounded by five waterfalls and encircling peaks.

Testing the slope, and going for the very alluring 'gaiter for garter' look, there is bound to be a niche for it,,,
at Pitch 10. Fuen Blanca..
18km.........960m ascent

Practising Savasana...Reckoned to be the hardest yoga pose to perfect,.....Mind and body perfectly still and relaxed, but not falling asleep.....Takes a lot of practice,,

If you can take your eye off the tent for a moment you might spot a waterfall coming straight out of the hillside in the background....

There it is again

I'm sure the pole was straight; it would be the camera operative who was a bit wonky..

A bit more 'product placement' ....though fairly certain he's got enough packs already.....

So you'll have to leave us to drift off in 'the Drift' now...lulled by the sound of five waterfalls, and absolutely nothing else for miles around...Not even cow bells.

A few 'High days' of our holiday still to come.

 Will we make it across to France through 'The Breche' before the weather window closes?

Will the supplies of tea and dehydrated kale hold out?

Dramatically ramping up the 'Mild Peril'......

Go on then -

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