Day 2: The Gorge after the Dam

by andrewwelch

Posted from Region of Murcia, Spain.

There was a man in the only building beside the dam which looked as though it could have been there to service the dam.

He didn’t notice me. When I saw that that gate to pass into the gorge beyond the dam was locked I boded my time then carefully hauled the backpack and myself over it and walked swiftly down the steps.

I pushed onwards into the gorge. It was a reversal of the geography. The flat now became the vertical, the smooth channel worn by the water when it had flowed down here.

Steep dark grey mountains formed the valley sides. Trees grew precariously from cracks in the rock and birds roosted high above. Carcasses of trees that had failed to stay rooted in the rock face had fallen and smashed onto the rock, dried and splintered in the sun.


Being in a steep sided gorge the other side of a dam felt as though it held an inherent danger whether from falling rocks (of which I was reminded poignantly by a huge boulder to scramble over wedged across my path). I could not camp and there was no water availability. I also had to remind myself that there was thankfully no water that could be release from the dam floodgates.


I rested in the shade of an over-hanging rock which had been carved away as if by a large tunnelling machine creating a concave, wave-like formation.

After some time walking I passed a Scouts shelter and noticed a red manhole cover. It wasn’t locked so I opened it. I looked down into a hole cut into the rock to see a water flow underground. I later discovered that this was likely part of a Qanāts system.


A qanāt is one of a series of well-like vertical shafts, connected by gently sloping tunnels. Qanāts create a reliable supply of water for human settlements and irrigation in hot, arid, and semi-arid climates.