Gaspésie Park is like a real heaven for trek lovers; unfortunately for, heavens gates were closed due to the bad weather… The park includes the Chik-Chok mountain range, but it’s open for visitors only till the end of September. Since 2 thirds of the park were out of bounds, we climbed up Olivine Mountain. The walking train was very nice, not too long, and it reaches all the way to the summit. But again, if you’ll come at the right season, you’ll find a verity of other, more attractive trails in the park.
There are a lot of walking trails in Forillon, so here is a short list:
At 9:20 the first bus departed to the entrance of the reserve. On the way you could already see the turquoise canyon formed by the Krka River. When we got off the bus we were told that the boat sailing to the island didn't leave until 14:00, and the other boat takes a 3.5 hour cruise and leaves around 12:00. Both options weren’t that appealing so we decided to go hiking inside the reserve according to the description in the brochure. First we walked by foot in the reserve for an hour and 15 minutes, crossing small wooden bridges over waterfalls, the most famous of them was Skradinski Buk – a wide waterfall descending with tremendous force. When crossing the nearby bridge you get small splashes of water from the waterfall and it’s very impressive.
The walk to the lake was easy and took us an hour. From there we took a boat for 20 minutes to the other bank of Lake Kozjac. From here we followed the G2 trail which led us through countless waterfalls and lakes with a deep turquoise color. Until you reach the reserve you really can’t comprehend how the color green has so many shades and how it fits the blue and turquoise, with waterfalls in different size and form coming at you from every direction. When we got to the rail cart after another 45 minute walk with mild slopes muscles I didn’t know I had were aching. We decided to leave the reserve and after waiting for the rail cart we went on another 30 minute walk, with a view of the reserve from above. That walk was easy too.
In the hostel we met many people (mainly who traveled with a car), and we planned with one of them to go to the the national park together. We took the drive to the park entrance from the lodge (50 rand for a car), and the drive was really short.
We left our big bags at the entrance and walked down to the information booth where they explained to us about what the park had to offer. We chose a trail that included the first day of the Otter Trail (a hiking trail so popular you need to book a years in advance! It's 5 days long; we tried to see if there was any vacancy, but there was no success). The trek was beautiful and most of it along the shore line. It ended with a large waterfall where the trail ended.
We made it to the 13:00 tour. During the month of May the last tour departs at 15:30, and we were very happy not to be on the last tour. The entrance fee is €14 per person. The ticket saleswoman warned me that inside the cave you have to go down and up 500 stairs. As if I wasn’t terrified enough of the cave already… inside the cave the temperature is 12 degrees (c) and I carried my down coat with me, a decision that turned out to be a big mistake. I took off the coat right away and had to carry it all along, switching from hand to hand. The beginning of the route is on a trail outside the cave, a downhill slope and a fast pace. I finished it wet, and had to catch my breath while the guide gave us an explanation about the cave. We formed two groups and I asked the guide to walk at a slow pace so I could finish the trip without collapsing, and she did. The cave is amazingly beautiful – not so much because of stalactites, the trail sticks to the deep canyon, the cave ends isn’t easy – 200 stairs you have to climb straight. When you go outside you can see the path of the of the river between the cliffs, which is also a beautiful sight. The walk took us 2.2 hours, and not 1.5-2 as we were informed before.
Eventually we arrived at the Tolmin Canyon, near the town of Zatolmin. We walked in the canyon and climbed the bridge and saw the river from above. At one point we had to go down narrow stairs with no railing, but we were too tired and preferred to go back to the entry point. We went to see the river on a trail near the entrance, and here too, after 15 minutes of walking I couldn’t go on and had to turn back around, but my husband proceeded and came back with great pictures.
Across the road from Camping Koren there is a small parking lot to your right. We parked the car and walked from the right side of the entrance to the camping section on a dirt road which joined the river shortly and then ran by its side. The turquoise color of the Soča River was hypnotizing and we went up on the suspension bridge and were reminded of the Capilano Bridge in Vancouver. We continued to the waterfall, passing small bridges with no railing till we reached the end, and behind the rock appeared the waterfall, descending to a pool of water. A gorgeous sight. The trek took us an hour and 50 minutes in both directions.
Once we got close to the reservation, a huge blue lake and a saddle shape mountain welcomed us. The lake hypnotized us with it's beauty... Finally the day painted in blue with the sky up high. First thing, we went to the reservation center where I found an interesting board with all the pictures on birds that exist in the area, with a button beside each of them. When you press the button you can listen to the bird tweet. Recommended! (There's also toilet there). Before the visitor center there's an example for Lapland tent.
We crossed the road below the tunnel and turned right onto a bridge where we parked our car and started walking by foot along the reservation canyon. The canyon is rocky, some black and some marble like gray. We went to the end of the canyon and then got back to the bridge and turned right on the south bank for a circular walk till a wooden bridge and back on the north bank. The entire walk with a 5 minute break took two hours and was wonderful.
Finally we were wearing sun blocking hats and not wool hats.
Warmiwañusqa ("Dead Woman's Pass") resembles a fatigued woman. Here the trail passes through a cloud forest containing Polylepis trees. After the pass the trail drops steeply to the Pacaymayu River drainage. At a distance of 2.1 km from the pass is the campground Pacaymayu.
Walking through the cloud forests on The Trail. Photo by Steve Pastor