17 Feb 2012

Hiking off the beaten track between the Xorret de Cati and Rincón Bello

Still running three hikes behind on these posts... I seem to get out on hikes more often than I have time to write about them! :p

This was the second time (of the 3 hikes I've done with them) that the guy in charge of the "Trenet Senderista" took us on a hike that included a fair bit of "off the beaten track", by which I mean not following "official" marked paths or anything... just a trail through the vegetation (or crossing fields to go join a different trail). And I LIKE IT!  Even if it means having to be twice as careful about watching your step, as one lady learnt on this hike...

started at Hotel, followed "red" towards the left until "caserío" then took a ravine round a mountain and finally came up to Rabosa for lunch

Sunday January 22nd, 9 a.m., we all piled into a bus (and a van, way too many people on this hike!) and head west out of Alicante, straight towards the mountains you can see behind the city (the Maigmó), a drive through them until we reach the Xorret de Catí, a gorgeous recreational area with lots of hiking trails through trees and fields and over mountains, some choice mountain climbing spots, and a hotel and campground for those who want to spend a night. Locally it's famous for having hosted the end of an "etapa" (relay?) for the Vuelta Ciclista de España on several occasions (Spain's famous cycling race, one of the three "biggies" with the Tour de France and Giro de Italia).

Shortly after we started our hike we came upon an almond tree with a single blooming branch in the middle of a field. I just love these flowers (pink this time!), so of course I had to stop and take a few photos! ;o)  (click them bigger)




















I was also delighted throughout the hike to be able to identify the Sierra del Cid, a mountain you may remember I climbed last November with the Centro Excursionista de Alicante (CEA). It's a tough one to forget, what with the steep climb up to the peak on the right of the summit...


The whole area between the Xorret de Catí and our destination the Rincón Bello (on the other side of the Cid) is mountainous with vegetation-covered valleys in between.


So even though this group doesn't do hikes that are as strenuous as the CEA, in this case a decent amount of climbing and descending along our 15 km hike was unavoidable.


The pine forests gave me the chance to take some interesting photos playing with light and shade, like these (first when we stopped for our snack, second while waiting for everyone to catch up in the woods):


Waiting around for people was a bit annoying, but it did give me a chance to pay closer attention to my surroundings, and spot things like this strange pine tree tumour:


Our hike took us around the Foradá, a mountain with a hole in it at one end, and very popular for mountain climbing:


If you click these two photos bigger, in the first see if you can spot the climbers on the rock face, and in the second spot the hole in the mountain!

mountain climbers in action
the hole that gives the Foradá its name

Have I mentioned yet that we were a big group? 68 people!!! *silence* Yup, I know... TOO MANY! I think the guy in charge learnt his lesson and I don't think he'll take on that many again (he told me he felt bad for leaving "regulars" who had called in late on the waiting list). In any case, waiting around in the sunshine wasn't so bad... fabulous views to enjoy and all that... and some goofing off with my dad who joined me again on a hike (haven't managed to get him to come back since then though). Here we are with the Maigmó behind us, and if it weren't for the exposure problems resulting from shooting into the sun, you'd be able to see the Mediterranean (and Alicante all teeny-tiny) in the distance behind us.


I implied early on that this hike was a bit more "adventuresome" than previous hikes... and it all started when we can up to this abandoned masía


and decided to go down and around it instead of over and down the other side (like I've said before, this group tries to avoid strenuous climbs).


So down we went to the base of the mountain, following the course of a dry stream bed in a ravine.


Let's look up for a moment and admire the sun bringing out the colours in the stones:


So, dry ravine, right? WRONG! It had rained the week before... not much and not for long, but enough for there to be some water in the stream bed so that you would want to wade through it (wet shoes and feet = ugh!), and enough to make things very slippery...


Things got pretty iffy after one women slipped and fell and broke her wrist (I've been told she's doing much better now, but she sure didn't enjoy have to walk out of there for several more hours with a wrist wrapped up in someone's scarf!). So we decided to climb out of the ravine and up to drier ground to see if we could find another path.


We waited while our guide checked out all possible options...



But in the end we had to head back down and deal with the ravine as our only other real choice was to head back the way we came and by this slippery point it wasn't worth going back... So very carefully everyone climbed back down and was much more careful as to where and how they put their feet, and no one else got hurt.


I must say though, it was lovely down in there!


With all the delays we were getting to be very hungry and were VERY happy to see our lunch stop appear ahead of us, the Rabosa, a refuge and picnic area run by Elda's Centro Excursionista (and the spot my previous hike up the Cid had started and ended at).

looking over at "La Rabosa"

We enjoyed a nice leisurely lunch lounging around in the sun, and many people took advantage of the presence of a bar/restaurant to add a beer or a coffee to their meal. ;o) Then we headed out towards the Rincón Bello, starting by walking towards the Cid, and then around its left side base (I didn't take many pictures since I'd thoroughly documented that part of the hike when I climbed the Cid in November). It only took about an hour and a half to reach the Rincón Bello, which is very deserving of its name! (translates as "Beautiful Corner").

Rincón Bello

If we hadn't run into problems earlier on the hike this is where we would have stopped for lunch, and then done some hiking in the area afterwards.


But since we were running late, we took the shorter route along the road to meet up with the bus. Since that's a bit boring... some people took it upon themselves to add a spark... I'm not naming any names, but you might recognise this jumping loon...


On a rise just before we found the bus, we finally got a decent view of Alicante (with the town of Agost in the foreground):


It was a long and intense hike, so we were definitely glad to find ourselves back on the bus and on our way home about 7h after we'd started...


6 comments:

  1. As always, the views are stunning! Loved the hole in the mountain and the gorgeous colored rocks. And the photos of you and your dad are always nice!

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    1. My Dad and I are photogenic, aren't we? ;o)

      but you forgot to mention your buddy Pol!!! :p

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  2. I cannot imagine a hike with 68 people! And to wait for some, then have someone break her wrist. Sounds like you and Dad had a great time anyway. Good pictures, too! I love that blue blue sky.

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    1. Definitely too many people... I guess that's the problem of going out on a bus with someone who makes his living with these hikes... he needs the people! But I don't think he'll be taking that many out again.

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  3. Ouch! That poor woman...at least she'll have the very fond memory of what that experience was like to recount to her friends and family for many years. Especially if she remembers that pink almond flowers.

    Also: Floating Dad is floating! :D

    -Barb

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    1. Floating indeed!!! And without any special effects required! :p

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Hey there! Yes you! The quiet one in the back... I'd love it if you hung out for a bit and shared your thoughts!

I might stop by your place with an answer, but I'm more likely to reply right here so click on "email follow up comments" if you'd like to see what I and others have to say and come continue the conversation! ;o)