Come hell or high water – Mascùn
Somtimes the temptation to do one canyon is just too strong. You just have to do it, come hell or high water – literary. The last canyon on our Sierra de Guara trip was Mascùn. Why saving the best for the last? Because, like I mentioned in the previous post, there was big flooding in the area before our arrival and most of the canyons were soaking with water. As a result we were postponing it the way to the last day and hoping that the water in the canyon would drop.
But by the looks we couldn’t be more wrong. The water level was quite constant for four sequential days, with couple of flash floods as a result of heavy thunderstorms. As we hiked up the Mascùn valley we saw that the doing the canyon won’t be a peace of cake. But the hike was long, so we had time to mentally prepare ourselves for the coming high water hell. With Mascùn it is like this – you have to hike for three hours, than you spend 3 to 4 hours in the canyon and than you have to hike back to Rodellar for another two hours. Luckily I haven’t done the math otherwise I am not sure I would do it. But boy I would be missing an experience…
So the hike up was long and demanding. But also scenic. We knew more than a half of it from earlier day when we did Otin. I was in the fast hiking mood (it doesn’t happen often) so I was pushing the guys to walk faster. We reached the canyon in less than two hours and a half. But when we reached the top of the canyon and saw the amount of water I was left speechless. Marjan, who trusts me and my experience said: “Sensei has worried expression on his face, that doesn’t look promising”. But then the decision came – Andrej, who is the most experienced canyoneer I know, said: “We can try this first abseil and if we see that I doesn’t work, we can hike out after this section”, pointing at the trail, going out of the canyon. It seemed like a good idea at that time… So we did the first section of waterfalls and saw, that it isn’t such a big deal.
After that we had a group meeting. Will we do the canyon? I was a bit reserved and said: “I want to do it, but it doesn’t seem like a good idea, since we don’t know the canyon.” But on the other hand voice in my head was saying: “May come hell or high water, we will do it. If it will be lethal, my life will at least end in amazing canyon”. I don’t know what was going on in heads of my friends but hopefully they were more positive. In the end all of us were saying Yes and we married this Mascùn.
Whitewater proved to be strong. The second section of waterfalls had huge eddys in the pools so we decided to to rapel guide/tyrolian with the floating anchor. It worked well for the first guy and then he installed the rope to the next achorpoint so we were able to pull ourselves out of the eddys. Neat.
But on the next anchorpoint saying too many cooks spoil the soup proved right. Two guys were preparing it for the abseil and they managed to make non-retrievable rope (installed releasable eight between two bolts :)). After some angry pulling of the rope from the bottom I saw the mambo-jumbo that happened. I was getting ready to climb up and undo the mess, but Andrej stopped me and said he would do it faster. Well, it isn’t hard to say no to shunting :). So he climbed up fast, avoiding flow of water as much as he could and solved the situation in no time… Rope was saved so the descend could continue.
Apart from that no drastic thing had happened. Of course we were really careful about abseiling into deep pools and avoiding stepping into waterfalls. If you use your head, this canyon is doable even in higher water level with experienced group. For us this water level had increased the “value” of the canyon. Like everything you value things much more if they are hard to get or achieve. Hmm… maybe I should become more hard to get so girls wouldn’t dump me? 🙂
Well, the canyon is superlikable. The only problem is couple of long sections where you have to walk. But even there the scenery makes you forget about the pain of walking. I was surprised that the canyon also has really nice enclosed and dark section. Unfortunately it is to dark to take photos – so no photos from there. However I made tons of decent shots in the canyon… Doing this canyon without a camera should be considered a crime in my opinion! 🙂
Like I always say – time flies when you are having fun. We were out of the canyon in about three and a half hours, which was quite a success given the water level and our rope incident. And then there was the long hike out. At the end of the day my watch said I need 120 hours to recover my body. I didn’t care, since it was our last canyon in Sierra de guara.