Today we wake up early for our Jeep ride to Ad Deir, or the Petra monastery. The monastery hike is actually the highlight of my Petra visit. The hike is along a scenic back trail with rock formations out in the distance. There are two main ways to get to the monastery: one is the most used route from the main Petra site and there is the one we took from the back roads.
Those of us who chose to do this hike are divided into two jeeps. We then start our ride to the back road of Petra.
When we arrive at the monastery we are well rewarded. There are barely any visitors and the lighting is satisfactory for pictures. We explored and snapped some photos for a while. Soon we sat back and enjoyed some refreshments at the tea shop.
Once we made our way toward Petra proper after our monastery visit I knew we made the right choice; crowds start to thicken, souvenir stands appear and aggressive vendors are upon us. We fortunately missed all that on our journey there. Our journey consisted of a peaceful, quiet and impressive hike with a beautiful monastery at the end.
After our descent we decided to go do the hike to the high place of sacrifice which I reluctantly did. That was a journey of its own so more on that later.
Today is the planned hike. The hike is the Ruta del Cares. The trail is a gorge route with breathtaking views through the Picos de Europa mountain range.
The trail is 12 km long (24 if you do roundtrip). After watching the hikers yesterday I decide I’m probably only doing one way and taking the bus back to my town.
I eat breakfast at the hotel and load my backpack with water and a sandwich made from the hotel. Backpack already feels heavy when I start off at 10 am.
My hotel is about 500 m from the start. It is a little walk uphill to get to the start.
There is a light mist outside and it is a little cool (but for me it means perfect).
That first 2 km is pretty harsh since it is all uphill ( also bad going back down too – talk about that later).
I got dizzy which is new for me; and I took lots of stopping breaks.
Look at this view!
Thank goodness the trail gets flat.
At the halfway point so its sandwich time.
I eat 1/2 my sandwich then I am off again.
I arrived at Cain about 2 pm.
Lots of people stop there to eat but I have already eaten half my sandwich so no plans to eat, but I do notice a stream where people are chilling.
I stop and take my boots and socks off. It’s painful yet massaging to walk on rocks to get to water, but water is super cold. It hurts. The cold has got to be good for my feet right?
I sit down and rest for a bit. Have every intention of finding a bus to ride it back to my town (as I’ve seen posted in message boards).
I wander into Cain looking for a bus sign. All I see is a bunch of cafes and places to buy walking sticks (probably should have gotten some of those).
No buses to be found, only guy with a van offering a 30 euro nature ride back to my town. Something doesn’t seem right and that is expensive. Taxis are probably even more. Did I just insanely decide to walk back? I think about the route, the toughest part being the 2k downhill. And the sun is out and beating down on most of the trail.
The hike back was pretty tough. I think really fit people will have no issue. People who are semi-muscular like me can handle it but I think starting really early and eating lunch on the other side before heading back is the way to go. I didn’t rest enough before heading back because I was taking too long. I should have just taken my time though. The sun stayed out late this time of the year and there were still people on the trail at the end (but not as many). The really cool way to go is go with those trek groups who will pick you up on the other side (but you have to pay and are probably under time constraints).
If I did it again I would stay more days in the area. I would still do the up and back in one day but I would take my time. I would also try other trails. It is my understanding there is so much more to see in the area. I only got a taste of the area and I liked it.
This is the part of the trip where I try to sneak a hike in to get some exercise (because walking miles and miles a day isn’t exercise :D).
I am nearby to Picos de Europa. So I book a little hotel in the small town of Poncebos.
Beautiful view coming in. I had to stop for pictures a couple of times because it was that pretty.
My little hotel sits in a valley. There is one hotel next door and maybe some more down the road but not many in the area. However as I arrive the place is bustling with day hikers. There are so many cars parked all over the area that I hope I find parking. Luckily the hotel has a free space open in their private lot.
When I check in I notice hikers drinking their celebratory beers. They seem like serious hikers. Am I out of my league here? I decide that I can do the trip one way only if it seems too much to do the roundtrip.
There is no staying up late. Time for dinner and then bed. I ordered the trout that I guess was served with bacon on it. It was very good.
In addition I ordered the mixed salad which I thought was a side salad but ended up being a meal of its own. Topped with tuna so I guess tonight is a fish night.
Hopefully it will all prove to be good fuel for tomorrow.
Last fall my aunt was very sick in Las Vegas. Another aunt and I were out to visit to help take care of things while she was being treated. Times got very stressful so my aunt suggested I disappear for a couple days and hike the Narrows River at Zion National Park.
So I decided to get some water shoes, borrow my aunts hiking stuff and head out there for an overnight.
The drive to Hurricane Utah wasn’t too bad except it was boring and you have to watch your speed since you frequently pass by small town speed traps along the way.
I was happy to settle down at my sleepy motel.
I started early the next day to give myself time to figure things out. Most importantly I needed a map and to check what the flash flood forecast looks like for the day.
What you are essentially doing is hiking in a river in a canyon. The river can be shallow or deep in many places. I have been told the water can even be over your head in some places so you are essentially swimming.
I must have picked the perfect day to visit. Little threat of rain and the river level was low. In fact, the worst I had was up to my waist.
Be sure to not bring anything you don’t want destroyed by water and/or have dry bags.
Once you take the long shuttle ride there is about a mile hike to the river.
Jump right in, the water is fine.
The hike can be done in a day (up and back) or multiple days with camping (permit required). I had a guide to how far I could go before I should turn back but I ended up just turning back based on time. I expected to drive back to Las Vegas that evening so I hiked two hours up and two hours back. Not quite sure how far I ended up.
It was amazing experience. The weather was perfect, the river was perfect. I am so glad I got to sneak off to do the hike. If the stars align for you when you are in Zion then do it!
Last day was a 3:30 am wake up. This is to ensure a sunrise view from the Sun Gate. Fate had something else in mind for us. The rain from the night before continued throughout the 3 hour hike. We walked through puddles; I fell on wet rocks. Luckily it was no more than a little soreness as a result. Right before you get to the sun gate with that first view they play a huge cruel trick on you and make you climb these “monkey” steps. The steps are large odd steps that require your hands. I cursed like a sailor and climbed up the last challenge to get to the reward. However at the top there was no view really (see photo above). It was foggy and rainy still. No photo moments for me so we continued on to the next vantage spot where the view was a little better.
Everything about me is wet at this point
Finally when we get inside it clears a little. Just in time for our tour.
Everyone stops to wring out their socks.
The fog lifts more and more and the day turns out to be beautiful. What a great reward!!
After our tour we have some free time to wander around. Some climb back up to the sun gate. I am spent so I just wander around a little bit then go to the bus to take me to Aguas Calientes. I vow to come back and next time do the train option so I have the energy to do extra exploring of Machu Picchu.