We step back in time today, 65 million years in time, thanks to some pleading in my part to convince Chris to go 100 km out of our way to see the many dinosaur footprints found around Enciso. He really is a very good boy, he gave in pretty quickly, considering he was convinced he was going to be in Pamplona today.
Even in modern times, this strikes me as harsh place to live. I can’t imagine how they survived in days past when everything had to be done by hand, especially water collection. Closer to Enciso, in a job of hurclean proportions, the hills have been terraced, presumably once for farming but now lying bare. Thousands of stones were used to shore up each layer – it must have taken generations to complete.
Enciso is a town in decline – from a population of a couple of thousand once, it’s dwindled to a little under 200 at last count. It’s surprising, given that they are the gateway to a fabulous paleontology find.
We’ve somehow managed to start one walk and divert onto another that goes for 13 km before dinosaur footprints. Hmm, local kids messing with the signs I suspect. Back we go, somewhat hot and disheartened. Checking the signs again, we try for another find, the next village over, and it’s on the way we hit pay dirt – a massive dinosaur replica, scowling down at us from high on a hill.
Tiredness aside, I bound up the hill, determined to see it all, grumpy pants a little behind. Dino bliss – it’s exactly what I’d hoped for, with the added bonus of even more dinosaur models to marvel over.
The next village offers another set of footprints – all up there are 23 kilometres of findings, footprints set down at a time when this was a steaming alluvial bank, miraculously somehow retained into the transition to rock.
Eventually, I’m dragged away to make a start on our journey to Pamplona late in the day. Along the way we see many eagles circling the sky, and once, an eagle’s nest set into a mountain (the white marked hollow, below)
Arid plains turn into olive groves, in turn, back into vineyards. We make it further than expected, to the town of Estella, some 40 km out of Pamplona. Dinosaur footprints: well worth the 200 km detour.