3 Feb 2012

Hiking to the Cabeco d'Or... and discovering it's greener than I thought!

Is it really February already?! When did that happen? Where was I??? I guess busy with classes, hiking the trails or lost in my new Kindle (that thing should come with a disclaimer! "Warning: having a Kindle will result in many sleepless nights due to excess reading" or some such thing, lol!). In any case, I'm way behind on my blogging! I've barely even been able to keep up with what you guys are writing, let alone organise my thoughts (and my photos) to write my own posts! Time to fix that!

So three weeks ago I finally managed to hit the hiking trails again, heading out for the second time with the group "El Trenet Senderista" on a gorgeous sunny January day... which didn't feel at all like winter! In fact, in spite of what you see in this photo I spent most of the hike in short sleeves! (I will admit to both shirts being Iceabreaker merino shirts so warmer than a regular t-shirt).


We started out on the Sierra de la Grana, near Jijona (where the turrón comes from!), and were off for a ~16km to the Cabeçó d'Or which you can actually see behind me in that shot (lighting's not great since the camera focused on me). For me the novelty this time, was a special hiking companion:



My dad decided it's time he hit the trails again too! :o)  I figured it would be better for him to join me with this group instead of the Centro Excursionista 'cause they're quite a bit more hard-core (lots of climbing).

So like I said, beautiful sunny Sunday, not a difficult hike (just long), so plenty of opportunities to stop and admire the Mediterranean heather and rosemary flowers left over from last year (they still don't seem to get that it's winter!), click them bigger:


We also came across some elements that seemed a bit out of place...

bathtime? :D



Since we don't have any huge national parks around here, our hikes inevitably take us across someone's land as we cross from one trail to another. Sometimes we see old abandoned masías, sometimes houses that are still lived in, like this one:


After our guide stopped by to ask for permission to cross their land, we walked along behind the house, got a laugh at their roosters and chickens, and admired their creative choice of a dining room:

"oops! I forgot the salt in the kitchen... who's going to get it?" ;o)

Why build it out there? Well to enjoy this fabulous view of course!


You can see all the way down the mountain to the sea, which is hard to make out in the photo because the sun was in that direction... What you can make out pretty well are two almond trees... early bloomers! I can just imagine that field full of blooming trees... will be gorgeous in a few weeks (they usually bloom in Feb)!


We got plenty of spectacular views on this hike, both in front of us or whenever we stopped to look back behind us:


 
That is when you could afford to take your eyes off the path! I already said it wasn't a difficult hike, but it wasn't easy either 'cause you had to keep a close eye on where you put your feet whenever we climbed up or down a steep bit, 'cause there were plenty of these little loose rocks just waiting to make you take a tumble!


But no one had any problems, and we kept getting closer and closer to our main destination, the Cabeçó d'Or:

looking up at the Cabeçó d'Or

Our path would wind around its southwestern flank, heading towards the coast. You can actually see the path here:


To cross over to it we had to hike down and across these fields:


Take a closer look at that photo, you can just make out the huge Puig Campana which I hiked up just before Christmas! (a bit off-centre, under a cloud) :o)

So down we went, and when I stopped at the other side of the field and looked back, it really hit me what a large group we were! Doing these hikes with a bus instead of cars has its advantages (can do linear routes instead of going back the way you came), but it means to keep the costs reasonable you have to fill up the bus... and 50 is a lot of people to have on the trail with you! :p

people or ants?

Oh well, waiting for people to catch up gave us time to goof-off... check out these two red-faced redheads!


Or even better, a well!!! :O)

"helloooooo?"

Aha! Finally found an almond blossom I could get up close and personal with. These flowers are so beautiful! And short-lived...


But enough dawdling, it's almost lunch-time and we need to keep winding around this mountain!

"you coming or what?"

Quick stop to receive instructions from the guide: "we'll be stopping for lunch at that pine tree". Can you figure out which one he's talking about?


Uhuh... me neither! Fortunately there were more people from the group ahead of us who did know, and once we got closer you could see them setting up and it was quite clear which pine tree he was talking about! :p


Walking this trail, I just kept saying how amazingly beautiful it all was! I've seen this mountain from Alicante so many times, but never thought it would be this impressive up close, with the sheer rocks climbing to the sky and all the vegetation... Had you told me before I started up these hikes that Alicante wasn't brown, it was green, I would never have believed you!


 
So we had a nice long stop for lunch (as usual with the Trenet gang, an hour's lunch), and I had to cover up -not from the cold- from the sun! It hadn't occurred to me to take a hat... thankfully I didn't need my scarf to keep warm, just to keep the sun off my head!


Lunch on the side of a mountain, with friendly people, surrounded by vegetation, and with a fabulous view...


What more can you ask for?

After lunch we had about 2 more hours of hiking along the path you see here, going round the mountain 'till we met the bus at the Cuevas de Canalobre near Busot.


This area had me quite intrigued and decided to come back some day and go exploring up in there!


Plus I got to see another almond tree starting to bloom:


All in all, a fabulous (and tiring) hike!



That was three weeks ago (Jan 15), I went out again the next two Sundays as well, so keep your hiking boots handy 'cause I'll be taking you out again soon! ;o)

9 comments:

  1. I am absolutely loving these hiking posts. If I EVER get to your part of the world, I'm going on a hike with you. The views are stunning. And you are probably hiking past a ton of geocaches. LOL.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You'd better come in the Fall then, cool enough to hike, but the Mediterranean's still warm enough to go swimming! ;o)

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. I've got plenty!!! It just never dawns on me to pull it out in winter! :p (I did remember for the next two hikes, although the last one it stayed in my pack and I just wore my beanie, cold!!!)

      Delete
  3. What an invigorating hike you and your dad had. The views are really quite splendid – I bet the air is fresh too – get all that oxygen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely lots of fresh air! Not that that's something we're short on around here, living next to the Mediterranean and all that... but it is nice to inhale that mix of rosemary and thyme in the air! :o)

      Delete
  4. I love that creative dining room. Of course everything would taste better there. I also love the pictures of you and your dad. Wonderful and very beautiful, Cris!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I want that dining room! :p

      Delete
  5. Thank you so much for this blog post, Cris! It only gives me the desire to go back to Europe and take a long hike in the hills (be they in Provence or Burgundy). :)

    -Barb

    ReplyDelete

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)