Torrent de Pareis is a magnificent gorge running from Sa Calobra on the coast, to Enscorca near Lluc. A well-publicised trek involves walking the route taken by the river from the top, down to the sea, making the return journey by bus. Unfortunately, the night before our day in this area, we had torrential rain and so we were reluctant to commit to the walk without knowing the conditions downstream. We therefore decided to head to the bottom of the gorge and make our way upwards with view to returning the same way.
The road down to Sa Calobra is somewhat exciting. It drops from 600 m to sea level in a straighline distance of about 2.5 km. At times, the cliffs are very overhanging, at others, the road passes through tight gorges and at one point en route, the road actually makes a 360 degree turn, looping the loop horizontally and passing under itself before continuing down the mountain! To welcome your arrival at the coastal village, the charge for parking is a hefty 0.04 euro/min! We recommend arriving very early to take one of the five free tourist parking spaces (we managed this).
The rewards of making the journey were great. After a short stroll along the sea front, we followed a path through a tunnel in the cliff, emerging at a beautiful beach. We were lucky enough to be amongst some of the first tourists that day and so we were able to appreciate the place without the hustle and bustle of the many coach tours that would inevitably arrive later.
After assessing the flow (or lack of) down Torrent de Pareis, we changed into sandals and started our journey into the gorge. After a short distance of boulder hopping in the mouth of the gorge, the walls became almost vertical and the base of the gorge narrowed to less than 5 m. This part of the gorge was truly spectacular and we spent quite a while admiring the cave-like formations and the sheer size of the slot, before continuing upstream.
The way on was punctuated by a series of obstacles, first a climb over a very shiny wedged boulder, then a squeeze through boulders and then a commiting traverse around another boulder that blocked most of the slot. As we proceeded onwards it became clearer that each consecutive obstacle filtered out another subset of people from carrying on upwards :-). Eventually we got to a point where the canyon started to open up and where the guide book suggested that all the tricky bits were already overcome. At this point, we took a last look up the canyon and turned around to make the return journey. On our way back we admired the gorge some more and wondered whether Pete and Tish would fancy climbing some of the pitches (we noted bolts on some faces).
After returning to Sa Calobra, we drove around to the next village (Cala Tuent) for a swim in the big(ish) waves before making our way back along the winding road.