Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Third Day: Ordesa

The hike on Day Three was the reason we came. The Horse´s Tail. I saw it on TV, and put it in our travel plans. How Spanish am I?

finished the climb
Tall Guy being Tall Guy, he found an "alternative route" (read: much more challenging), so our trip to the waterfall was not as straightforward as it could have been. To hike in this section of the park, it´s essential to get there early as there is a visitor limit. You park, and a bus takes you up what would be a precarious road, if it were filled with the cars from all the visitors. There is room for one vehicle. The buses are on a strict time table and the drivers communicate with walkie talkies to indicate their positions, taking turns pulling over into designated areas to let each other pass. The bus takes about thirty minutes, and lets you off at, you guessed it, a bar.

up, up, up we go
From the bar, the majority of hikers set off toward the left on the wide, straightforward trail. We veered to the right, and quickly left the wide trail behind for a narrow path through the forest. The Hunter´s Path. I was carrying Baby, and I´m proud to say I made it all the way up to the lookout with him strapped on. It was a climb of nearly 900 meters! The path was narrow, but Tall Guy and I both found it more comfortable than the previous day´s hike, because the trail was mainly forest floor. Much springier and easier on the feet, but longer and steeper.

The views and a rest at the lookout were our reward, plus congratulations from other hikers who were pretty sure they wouldn´t have been able to do it while wearing a baby. We continued on to the Faja de Pelay, a fairly flat trail along the gorge top, where we watched the crowds of tourists walk along the trail in the bottom of the gorge. Then it was time to hike down to join them. We had arrived at the Horse´s Tail. 

views from the top
This waterfall is much more impressive in any season that isn´t summer, especially the hot, dry summer we´d had, but I´m glad we went all the same. We had a picnic at the water´s edge, and braved the cold to soak our feet in the icy water for instant revival. The walk back wasn´t relaxing - it really was that crowded - but a return journey along the Hunter´s path is not recommended, as the long and steep descent isn´t the safest or most comfortable option. Still, the path was pretty (and easy!), and this is one of my all-time favourite hikes. The Circo de Soaso, as it´s known, is just over 20km and takes seven hours not including breaks. The trail along the canyon floor is difficult only due to its length, but if you´re accustomed to hiking, go for the Hunter´s Path. It´s truly a beautiful trail.

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