The only thing we really wanted to do in Cazorla National Park was hike a very famous trail “Rio Borosa.” Everyone’s pictures look like this:
Beautiful, clear water with a winding old wooden path alongside of it. It’s not a very long path and most people just use it for the swimming holes. No matter what we wanted to hike this.
Fortunately Chris had found a longer path that went to “some lakes” but that was all we knew. It was said to be 14 miles long round trip. So we boiled a bunch of eggs and packed sandwiches for the day.
As we were making lunch we heard a small incessant noise. 4 kittens were trying to come in our front door. The only thing we ever hear in our apartment at home is honking and motorcycles going by (we live on main street). So we genuinely didn’t recognize kindly sounds like mewing kittens.
After walking to the trail head from our hotel, we immediately saw a large waterfall. The color of the water was unreal – completely clear and clean – with a tinge of blueish green. We didn’t edit the pictures at all, this is what it really looked like.
Having been in cities, castles, and the “desert” for the past year, this was the first time we’d really gotten in the middle of nature or seen water. The smells and sounds (like the kittens) were initially jarring. Woodpeckers were everywhere, as well as hundreds of blackberry bushes. You felt like you could drink the water and feast on berries and just live.
We walked in total peace for miles. We were walking at the bottom of a valley, above us were mountains and aside of us was the river. Soemtimes it was as calm as a stream, other times it roared into waterfalls – as small as a person or as long as a bus.
We hit a sign that said “Fin de Sendero” End of hike. Except
- The GPS said we were barely halfway done
- The path clearly kept going
- The waterfalls were getting bigger and more fantastic.
End of hike, nope. We kept going. It only got more beautiful and amazing. Counting from around the “end of hike” there were at least 14 waterfalls. Each one kept getting bigger and more fantastic. There were also 2ish wispy waterfalls barely spraying off the end of a huge 100 foot sandstone cliff. It looked exactly like New Mexico – if there was water.
In a bit of wind it looked as if the water never actually touched the ground, but just evaporated into the air. As we approached we saw it definitely hits the ground and a very small stream was forming at its base.
We kept hiking. Groups of partying teens power-walkedpast us. We would find them later swimming underneath waterfalls, eating huge picnics and drinking beer. Living their best lives. This was better than any beach could’ve ever been. The temperature was perfect, the swimming holes deep and the crowds minimal.
I should mention the snakes for anyone keen on swimming. There are many “Culebra viperina” or water snakes. A snake who likes to just hang out with his head out of the water but the rest of him floating. Or in the bushes next to the water. We learned from the visitors center it’s a eats pretty much everything – fish, amphibians, birds, small mammals. It can also dive underwater (!!!). It doesn’t attack people but will groan at you, pretend to attack, or even emit a gross smell to ward you off.
We met many of these snakes – the first snakes we have ever seen in Spain. They, too, were living their best lives. Looking happy as could be in the water/bushes. The ones we met didn’t seem to care too much about people. I practically peed upon one before either of us noticed the other.
The trail just kept going. We started hiking up, up up, where it looked like the trail just ended.
Turns out there was a massive tunnel to feed water into the hydroelectric plant. There was a barrier and enough space for hikers – our gps said to go through so we did. It was pitch black at time – everyone was using phones for lights. We timed it, it took 5 full minutes to walk through the whole tunnel (it was really that long).
At the end many people just turned around but if you kept going you would finally hit the lake that was promised. It had a huge dam that fed the entire river – the sign even said “Nacimeiento Aguas Negras” basically the “birth” of the river. All of those waterfalls and everything starts here – this little lake with a dam and little waterfall.
We had thought we would be hiking 14 miles round trip. By this time we had been hiking uphill for 5 hours (I mean, obviously, we were hiking uphill to the beginning of the river). We had already hiked 9 miles. Exhausted we ate our sandwiches. Of course this is when the thunder and lightning appeared out of nowhere. So we packed up and began the long walk back.
It ended up raining lightly – enough to feel really good in the heat. The lightning stopped (we were never that high up or exposed). So we walked leisurely downhill for 9 miles.