Bardenas Reales de Navarra
I have been walking the Bardenas Reales de Navarra since 2004. This incredible territory is located some 80km SE of the city of Pamplona, in the heart of the Ebro River depression. What you can admire here is what remains of a huge alluvial deposit after milions of years of erosion: tall cliffs, bad-lands, scrubsaline steppes, mesa shaped highs, deep ravines. To some extent, the place has the looks of southern Utah. Yet, because its soil is mainly composed of marl, the zone is extremely erosive and fragile. Thunderstorms shape the landscape and the changes can be seen on a human scale: a canyon visited in July may have disappeared by September. The hostile climate, though, did not deter people from using this semi-arid zone for agricultural and grazing purposes. Archeological sites dating back to the iron age have been found.The Junta de las Bardenas, in Tudela, administrates the territory, and a lot of good work is being done. Yet, if the days when caravans of 4x4 paced up the place in every direction are now over, we must keep in mind the Bardenas remains a very fragile and sensitive zone that deserves all our care and protection.