On sunday, 20 January, Nadie
and me started the trip driving from Madrid to Tarazona, Zaragoza. We left at 11:45 AM and stopped for having lunch on a meadow near Medinaceli, Soria. We went into my car again and procceded driving. I should avoid you to stop in La Muela gas station, they don't know how to differentiate between 1.09 and 1.009 so they'll charge 1.09 for a diesel liter when they advertised 1.009 on their cards. Obviously we didn't filled our tank there. Once in Almunia de Doña Godina we turned left taking A-121 to Alberite de San Juan and N-122 to Tarazona,
Zaragoza. Brujas de Becquer Hotel was our base for attempting Moncayo (2316 m) next day. After arriving hotel we went for a walk into the town and had supper in Peña del Athletic de Bilbao Bar.
Monday 21 January started with an early awakening because of the muzak alarm so at 7:30 AM it ringed. I was taking pics of Moncayo at dawn. We had breakfast in the hotel café, went to a pharmacy and drove to Santuario de La Virgen del Moncayo (1600 m) passing Grisel and Lituénigo. There is a view point over Moncayo near Grisel but we were in a hurry and didn't stop. At 11:25 AM we started the ascent from the parking (1580 m) below Santuario. There was ice covering some sections of the trail and the snow was very hard. So we put our crampons on near Pozo de San Miguel entrance. Soon we took them off and followed the rocky trail on the shoulder between Circo de San Gaudioso and Pozo de San Miguel. At 2145 m we stopped for having lunch, put our winter wear on and re-started after 20 minutes. Reached Point 2283 at 3:15 PM and continued to Moncayo summit (2316 m, 3:35 PM). Stayed there another 20 minutes until descending on the same trail. We ruled out ascent and descent on El Cucharón because of the very hard snow. Didn't carry rope and we only took an ice axe. Had to put our headlamps in the final section and reached my car at 6:55 PM. It was a nice and sunny day on a beloved mountain. Dinner was on the same Peña del Athletic de Bilbao bar but this time we were hungry after ascending Moncayo.
Tuesday 22 January started with a coffee and a car wash. Then we drove to Monasterio de Veruela,
near Vera del Moncayo. It closes on tuesdays so we couldn't see it. Then we started our trip to The Pyrenees. Stopped in a gas station near Zaragoza and eat something. Continued to The Pyrenees passing Puerto de Monrepós (1280 m), stopped for taking some money at Sabiñánigo and near Biescas for eating again. We were so tired after having ascended Moncayo. Stopped again after passing Puerto de Cotefablo (1423 m), where I took some pics. Finally we reached Torla, Huesca. We asked a group of women where to find Casa Mirabel, her cousin sent us to the village center. We met landlady's mother, who showed us their house. We carried all our luggage there. Then landlady appeared for charging the rental. Maribel is a nice woman who knows well Ordesa NP and surroundings. We went to the only store which was open in the village. Bought some supplies and back to the rural house for having supper and going bed soon.
Wednesday 23 January. We got up early (7:30 AM) after having nightmares both. Had breakfast, prepared our back-packs and drove to Nerín taking A-135, N-260 and HU-631. The last was snowy in some sections but there was no chains needed. We parked near the NP barrier (1360 m). The day was sunny and there was no much snow on Estiva de Nerín so we didn't put our plastic boots on as in Moncayo. We wore light boots and rucksacks. At 10:30 AM we were starting the route to Mondoto (1957 m). We crossed a large field of Buxus sempervirens
and went into Barranco Ballatar, it's a narrow creek wich had water. There was snow on the ground but we pushed forward towards Entrata d'a Estiba (1804 m), a broad col between La Estiba (2004 m) and Mondoto. The snow became soft so we put our gaiters on. We reached the summit at 12:50 PM and stayed there 1h 10 minutes enjoying the sun and views. We also had lunch and took many pics. We didn't need our winter wear, only wore t-shirts and tights. When descending we stopped near the creek for taking our gaiters off. Were back in my car at 4:00 PM.
Thursday 24 January. Spare time. We left Torla soon in the morning, took N-260 crossing Puerto de Cotefablo (1423 m), A-136 to Embalse de Búbal. There I was taking pics before stopping in the French frontier parking, near Puerto del Portalet (1794 m), where we were astonished by Pic du Midi d'Ossau (2884 m) presence. Then we drove down Valle d'Aspe on N-134 and stopped at Artouste-Fabrèges,
a small ski station where we were drinking a coffee. The area is nice, it's surrounded by mountains and there is a lake too, it's called Lac de Fabrèges. Anyway, it was our resting day so we asked the cafe owner which places to visit. He said that Col d'Aubisque and Lac de Gaube roads were closed because of avalanche danger so he recommended us drive to Pau.
It's the préfecture
(capital) of Pyrenees-Atlantiques départment.
There we had lunch and visited the old village. In the afternoon we took N-134 to Gan and Oloron-Sainte Marie. There we noticed that we were not in the desired road and drove back to Herrère de Bas where we took D-928 to Arudy. Our maps didn't show the area above Pyrenees, that's why we had that error. From Arudy we returned to Spain on D-934 and C-136. We stopped at Biescas for buying some supplies and drove back to Torla on N-260 and A-136.
Back in Ordesa
Friday 25 January. Since we arrived Torla Maribel had been talking us about Miradores del Molar, a nice viewpoint over Cañón de Ordesa. So on friday we decided to attempt the ascent there. We left Torla (1030 m) at 8:50 AM, the temperature was freezing and we left the house well wrapped up. We descended to Puente de la Glera (965 m), spaned the bridge over Río Ara and took a forest trail (PR-129) to Camping Río Ara. There we followed a nice trail in the forest wich crossed the forest trail in five points. We left Barranco (creek) de Diazas to the right and there were a beautiful cascade in it. At 10:30 AM we reached Ermita de Santa Ana (1450 m), a little hermitage near Casetas de Diazas. Stopped 10 minutes for eating something and continued on PR-129. The trail is on Sierra del Balcón from this point. We reached the new Mirador de la Cruzeta (1650 approximately - 11:15 AM) on a new point where the path crosses the forest trail. Continued on the steep trail and before reaching a new cross we saw a winter fur chamois running in front of us. We took the snowed forest trail, put our gaiters on and reached Miradores del Molar (1986 m) at 12:50 PM. Then we stopped 20 minutes for having lunch until going to the Point 2008, where we were taking more pics.
Descent first section was in the forest in order to take a short cut. But on a curve we took the forest trail. Finally we descended quick to Torla as in the ascent but doing a 10 minutes stop at Ermita de Santa Ana (1450 m - 3:15 PM). Crossed Puente de la Glera (965 m) and reached Torla (1030 m). At 4:50 PM we were resting in the rural house before going to by something and Torla to buy something and taking a walk in Torla. We also drove to Broto (905 m) for buying some supplies that we didn't find in our village. Returned to Torla, had supper and went to bed soon.
Jaca and Castiello de Jaca
On Saturday 26 January we got up early but not as in last days. Saturday would be the departing day, we had to leave the house. Had made a date with my youngest brother family and some friends near Castiello de Jaca, Huesca. We'd go there for having lunch. So we decided to go touring before then. We drove to Jaca
on N-260 crossing Puerto de Cotefablo (1423 m) and N-330. Jaca is a well known and big village near The Pyrenees, I'd say more, it's the capital of Aragonese Pyrenees. Though we both had been there in other occasions but it's so beautiful and we were walking its streets, taking snack and buying some supplies. Then we drove to Castiello de Jaca where we got lost finding the grill restaurant. We asked some people and reached the place. There we joined Aurelio, Blanca and their little children. Aurelio and Blanca are two good friends who live in Zaragoza as my brother Juan. They went with us when we climbed Mont Blanc in 2001. Nadie knew them from an excursion to Morezón, Sierra de Gredos. My brother's family were there too. So we were enjoying a tasty lunch, with nice company in a beautiful place. Children enjoyed of an exciting poney ride til the time when we all had to depart. They went to spent the weekend in Jaca, where Blanca has a house. We had to start the return to Madrid. Had done a reservation in the same going hotel of Tarazona, Zaragoza. The trip was at night on curved and little roads so it was tired. We took N-240 to Puente la Reina de Jaca, A-132 to Ayerbe (passing near Riglos), A-125 to Tudela, Navarra. There we stopped for having dinner in Mc Donalds. And finally we reached Tarazona on N-121.
Sunday 27 January. Once again we got up in Tarazona's Las Brujas de Becquer hotel. This time it was not as soon as the first time, when we were going to climb Moncayo. Were having breakfast in its restaurant and drove to Monasterio de Veruela
taking N-122 and Z-373. At leat we could visit it as well as Museo del Vino. The first is so beautiful, I didn't think it was so nice inside. The last was quite interesting. We bought some presents to our families and started the return journey to Madrid passing Borja and Alberite de San Juan, where we took A-121 to La Almunia de Doña Godina. Hopefully we had prepared some sandwiches so we didn't have to stop until Medinaceli, Soria. There we had a cofee in a nice pavement café and again followed A-2 to Madrid.
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