The Geology of the Pyrenees and Kayaking Spain
We want to go white water kayaking in hard kayaks! At least that is what 2 of us said. The other two did not. That was okay, clothes must be washed when you are on the road for 3 weeks. Sophia and I hung clothes out to dry (Javier’s wife washed them) and the guys had so much fun kayaking. They kayaked from the same place we rafted just not as far down. The second part of the rafting was white water rafting. We were told it was only for more experienced kayakers. The guys had the same guide to Mimo. Mimo told me the day before, he showed up for a rafting trip near his home in Italy many years back, fell in love with it and never went back. He hired on with a rafting company at the end of the float. http://www.sarratillo.com
Jim on white water kayaking:
It was difficult to get the hang of it. I flipped and came out of the boat once. When that happens, as a beginner, you hang on to the boat and paddle and work to get to the edge so you can empty the water out, get back in, and do get further down the river. In flat water, it was relatively easy. In rapids, it was more thrilling but a lot harder. It is scary in the rapids, because you are afraid you are going to lose it and flip. I do not believe they would have allowed us to do this in the states without some more practice in flat water first, but that is why we did it here! Our guide certainly earned his money that day.
Sean on white water kayaking:
It is the best sport ever. It was so much fun! It is challenging and rewarding. It really gets the adrenaline pumping. It is like you are one with the river. You have a certain amount of control, but the rest of the control is with the river. If it wants to take you somewhere, it does. If you are really good you have some more control, but the river has the main control. I was less nervous when I first started than when I was further along. I flipped twice. After the first flip, I figured out why I was flipping and then I was more confident and did not have to worry about flipping again. I flipped in an easy part getting into an eddy. I didn’t flip in any of the more challenging section. When I did flip the second time I floated a bit down the river to where our guide and instructor had my boat. That was really fun too.
When Jim and Sean got back we all hiked to a swimming hole Javier told us about. “The water comes from rain water not snow melt,” he told us. It was a lot warmer than the water we rafted and kayaked in. We all wore wet suits for those activities. It was sunny though. If we ever went back it would be with water shoes! It was a locals’ secret, and there were plenty of people there. We looked like the only tourists though. That sort of insiders info is one of the perks of staying at someone’s house instead of a hotel.
We ate and drove back to La Cicuarala. On the way back we stopped at the nearby little hamlet at the top near where Javier’s house is. There was a church I wanted to see closer that I had been looking at as we drove by. Guaso stands on the top of a tall hill/mountain also called Guaso. It is a 15 minute walk from Javier’s or a short drive. The church was built in the 12th century. It is typical to see this mix of small villages/hamlets with antique architecture in the hills as you drive through this area.
Unexpectedly we found this plaque. You might not think it is strange to find a plaque with an English translation in the middle of a remote hill, but it is. Most of the signage outside of big cities and towns does not have signage in English. Actually It was unexpected to find a sign at all. This is not a well traveled path.
These are called the Aragonese Pyrenees and Pre-pyrenees. Much of this area is a national park. We even met some park rangers. We saw Eagles flying and a fox near Javier’s. There is much to do in this area. There are water sports, hiking, biking, and fishing. There are also Nordic sports in the winter. When you drive through this area the different geological features are very noticeable. There has obviously been a great deal of uplift as evidenced by layers of rock that are almost vertical. There are also horizontal layers with other layers cut through these. We would learn from a Spanish geologist we met in Seville some days later that this is an area where geology students at universities in Spain come to do their field work.
The first time I saw an old stair case like this one it was in an ancient Incan settlement at Moray, Peru. http://www.amusingplanet.com/2013/03/the-mysterious-moray-agricultural.html
We drove a little further to check out the hamlet of La Torrecilla.
Javier’s family has a cat. It cries when it sees you. Sean and Sophia bought a can of tuna in town to feed the cat. The cat fell in LOVE! with them!
Time for bed. We have canyoning tomorrow!
Check out our previous post from Spain here.