Hiking Mont Rebei Gorge
In these crazy times of COVID pandemic, reminiscing – and writing about – past travels gives me a particular kind of escapist comfort
Remember when two years ago in March, we wanted to experience the awesomeness of Mont Rebei from a kayak, but had to call it quits at the last minute because of awful weather?
Well, the plan was to go back this time last summer with a group of friends; instead of kayaking we would hike & swim. That plan failed epically.
Here are a some of the things I re-learned in the process.
Planning for a Misadventure
Cramming the itinerary
If and when you decide to go hiking Mont Rebei, it’s not a good idea to start piling on a bunch of other stuff to your itinerary. That is, unless schedule means nothing to you, delays don’t bother you, and you’re okay with winging it.
Our group was ‘on the clock’ so we were most definitely not okay with winging it. Still, optimistic as I sometimes get, I decided to add a quick panoramic stop to see the Murala China de Canelles in its full splendor.
Because Google Maps and this one other blog both estimated it’d take us 45 mins to get there. The blog advertised that “once at the abandoned church up the hill, you only had to hike for a couple of meters”. Pretty reasonable, right?
Wrong. Be aware that the route is not fit for all cars. Unless you have an all terrain, it’s going to be tricky to get to this panoramic spot. And it definitely won’t you take just 45 minutes.
Some 8 kilometers into the awful dirt road, we parked precariously next to a vertical rock and reasoned that we would walk instead.
Another bad idea. Especially at 11 o’clock in the morning, with rapidly soaring temperatures and nothing to shade you from the scorching August sun. I know you don’t need a PhD to figure this oneout, but mistakes tend to pile up as they keep eachother company.
Soon after we realised that ours was not the brightest idea, we had to go back to the car and head to the planned hiking to Mont Rebei.
Between the time we wasted on that dirt road and the gas station food stop, we only got to the hike starting point in Montfalco at 2 PM.
Anyone with a bit of common sense will tell you that hiking at 2 PM is not a good idea. Not in August. Not in Spain.
Last Minute Changes
If you’re not 100% sure of all the details, don’t go changing your route. Allow me to explain.
If you want to hike Mont Rebei gorge, you have two main starting points, (NOTE that the hike is not circular)
- 1. You either start at Albergue de Montfalcó, a hostel close to the hiking route, where there’s also free parking available.
- 2. Or you go to Parking La Masieta. This is a private parking, and it’s imperative that you pre-book your spot.
Our plan had been to start off at Parking La Masieta (which is the easier side) and follow the route carved in rock until we reached the water and the infamous Montfalco stairs.
Once there, we’d enjoy a good splash in the crazy turquoise waters, and decide whether we want to go further (up the stairs) or simply do some sunbathing before heading back.
NOTE: If you start hiking from the Albergue de Montfalcó, you’ll get the harder (and I would also add less scenic) part of the hike.
Why did I change our hiking route at the very last minute? Well, I only heard about the parking pre-booking requirements by chance, at the gas station that morning. By then, it was already too late to book a spot. We were forced to reverse our itinerary.
DO Book The Parking
Here’s the official website for book your parking spot at Parking La Masieta (website in Catalan, but we all have Google Translate).
It only costs 5 EUR, and you’ll be happy you booked. Early bookings can be made until 23:59 of the day before. It is recommended to arrive between the opening hours and 11:00 hours.
The Road Not Taken & Getting Lost
If you’re out hiking Mont Rebei – and hiking in general – best not wander off by yourself, and risk everyone’s good fun by getting lost.
Lost without your phone, water and – in my case, my epipen.
I wandered off because I decided to have a quick dip in the water, while my group caught up with me by the first set of stairs.
I thought to myself, ‘I’ll only be 5 minutes, and I should see them from afar.
Not quite. For a few precious seconds I didn’t pay attention, my group didn’t see me in the water and they carried on without me – perhaps thinking that I had somehow achieved warp speed, and they’re too slow to catch up.
Luckily I didn’t need the Epi pen, and there was a water fountain on my way back. But the situation could have gone either way (even more so with my signature clumsiness, or my newly acquired allergies). Don’t be like me.
Here’s what happened: Once I had a quick dip in the impossibly turquoise waters, I scrambled back up the trail to wait for my friends, unaware that they had already passed by, thinking I was up ahead, trailblazing.
Some five minutes later, I started retracing my steps back, after concluding that they won’t be coming down (the terrain wasn’t the easiest). So I went back up, and up and back, thinking that they’ve gone back the starting point (Heh. Quitters!) and are probably sipping beers and waiting for me.
The sun was August-in-Spain-at-3PM-scorching-hot.
Obviously, my friends were not there. What to do, what to do? I should call them, of course! But I didn’t have my phone.
Kindness of Strangers
“I got separated from my group and I’m not sure where they are. Can I use your phone ? “
The girl came down the main road with me for some 300 meters, to the nearest spot with reception. Also, she looked rather surprised that I had knew someone’s phone number by heart. (To tell you the truth, I wouldn’t have, but my husband’s number is almost identical to my own. Let me have this small win! )
She saved his number, in case I need to call again. “La Chica Perdida”. “Lost”
We eventually reunited, 3 hours later. By that time, I was feeling all sorts of bad.
- I felt bad that I had abandoned my group, who were probably getting pretty worried – and pissed.
- I felt bad that my husband didn’t get to enjoy the waters, having stayed behing on a cliff, to play sentinel (in case I happened to pass by)
- And I was really frustrated at myself, for missing out on the very best part of the route
Curious What I Missed?
And here’s what I missed hiking Mont Rebei:
Good people, I urge you to plan ahead and don’t be irresponsible hikers like me. Other than that: whether hiking Mont Rebei of kayaking, do give this stupendous location a shot ! You won’t be sorry.
What was your latest travel misadventure? Let me know in the comments section!