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Trip Report: Hiking in Ordesa Gorge, Spanish Pyrenees (page 1)
All photos by Todd unless otherwise noted.

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Participants: Todd & Steph
In our last episode, Todd & Steph were last seen canyoning in the Sierra de Guara Mountains in northern Spain. Now we find our intrepid adventurers have traded wet suits, harness and rope for backpacks, sleeping bags and trail mix for some trekking in Ordesa Canyon in the Spanish Pyrenees.
We start off from the small village of Torla with the intention of hiking through Ordesa Canyon up to the mountain hut of Goriz which we'd use as a base for further hikes. Unfortunately it begins to rain steadily as soon as we begin our trek, making us wonder whether keeping the wet suits wouldn't have been a bad idea.
Not only are my shoes squelching pleasantly along with the tune that's stuck in my head (a march, appropriately enough), all the waterfalls are all flowing nicely. 
Now where did that trail go? I know it's around here somewhere. Hiking in Europe on the weekend isn't so different sometimes than waiting in line at the grocery checkout counter, only without the tabloids and breath mints.
Guess this is what happens when there isn't enough outdoors to go around.
The mountain hut of Goriz is located at 7200 ft near the head of Ordesa Gorge. The refuge is one of the largest in the Pyrenees and sleeps up to 90 people during the more popular summer months.
In order to allow for such a large group of people, sleeping accommodations are, shall we say, 'cozy'?
A better adjective might be 'sardine-like'.
The next day dawns cloudy but dry as we begin to hike higher into the mountains. We're not exactly prepared for a mountaineering adventure and really don't have a lot of experience in that area (for some reason the lowland desert that is found around Phoenix just hasn't prepared us for these types of conditions). But we gamely forge ahead, figuring we'll learn as we go.
And what did we learn?
No snow suit, ice axe, crampons, skis or hiking poles? No problem.
No sun block? Big problem. 
While I've read that solar energy reflects off of snow, magnifying the effect of the sun so that you are exposed to solar rays both from above and below, it's simply not intuitive. Unfortunately we are both rather sunburned by the end of a long day of hiking. We did however, achieve our goal of hiking to the Breca de Rolando, a huge breach in the limestone walls at the top of the ridge that separates Spain from France. 
The Breca is mythologized  in a poem written in the Middle Ages describing the Battle of Roncevalles. In the story the Moors attack the rearguard of Charlamagne's army (lead by the hero Roland). Roland mistakenly delays sounding his horn to summon the main body of the army and as a result, finds himself with his back (literally) against a wall. In order to escape he uses his unbreakable sword 'Durandal' to hack a route through the mountain.
Rudyard Kipling wrote quite a few of these types of tales in the early 1900's in his Just So Stories, using a fairy tale to explain natural phenomenon. Today we have creationism.
Here we are standing directly in the Breca with the French Pyrenees behind us. The French side is even more rugged than the Spanish one, and has harsher weather conditions since the entire ridgeline faces north.
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