10 Nov 2012

Windy hike up the Sierra Ventos

Rainy day Sunday today. Which hereabouts translates into cancelled hikes! Yes I know, in other parts of the world people hike rain or shine or snow or wind... but it rains so rarely here the locals are a bit allergic to atmospheric water! Add to that hiking trails involving bare-faced (so slippery when wet) rocks and "dry" riverbeds and hiking in the rain becomes a teensy bit dangerous...

Oh well, if I can't hike at least I can write about it! I'm behind with my posting again (yeah, I know... no comment!). This hike was two weeks ago and I hadn't even gotten around to selecting and editing the photos for my Facebook album! I've got people impatiently asking me about them since I'm kind of the CEA's unofficial photographer! Woops!

I don't think I've ever been as happy to put the clocks back an hour as I was two weeks ago because it meant being able to sleep an extra hour on a day when I had to leave the house at 7h30 to go hiking! We all met up looking a lot more awake than usual and ready to hit to trail and enjoy the sunshine, albeit a bit surprised by the cold wind that was blowing something fierce! Thank god for layers! I had a long-sleeve on over a short-sleeve merino shirt, originally planning on hiking in short sleeves once we got going, but instead I eventually put on my polar fleece on top of it all and was wishing I had taken my windbreaker! Stupid me for not looking more carefully at the weather forecast (I just noticed sun and 14ºC, ignored the wind info). I've learnt my lesson, next time windbreaker gets stuffed into the pack!

Our destination was the Sierra Ventós, just in front of the Maigmó (which I climbed last March) and only a 1/2h drive from Alicante. This meant that as we climbed we kept getting some really good views of the city with the Mediterranean behind it! 

Alicante with the Castle atop the Benacantil in the centre.

The hike started out easy, a trail along then under the highway, and gradually climbing until a twist in the path had us facing our first challenge: what looked like a steep wall straight ahead!

Meant about half an hour of steady climbing, in several spots requiring the use of hands as well as feet! :p

But it felt good to be challenged...

and even better once on top! ;o)

The mountain behind me there is the Sierra del Cid which I climbed with the CEA last November.

We waited for everyone to make it to the top, catching our breaths, enjoying the view and checking out the path along a ridgeline up to the peak.

Yup, we're going that way! 

pointing up to the peak of the Sierra Ventós

Just be careful not to jump fall over the edge...

Nice addendum to the view: an eagle! We don't get to see much fauna around here so it was a real treat! :o)

But onwards and upwards.

Once we reached the "first top", we had to make a left and head along the rocky ridge...

Which had some curious "windows" in it to frame the fabulous view!

We walked along a narrow path, at some points almost "glued" to the wall face!

Don't worry, it's not as scary as it looks! (I had that photo taken specially to "scare" my mom, she gets nervous when my sisters and I have scary photos involving heights, lol!)

After that it was once again up, up and UP!

With the world at our feet...

Only 905 metres (2970 ft) above sea level I know... but when you've been climbing for almost 400m (1312 ft) and there's a steep drop below you it sure feels impressive! :p

Our very own "Charlie's Angels" got together for the sequel...

A lot more action packed this time!

We even took on a 4th Angel! ;o)

And Pol made a new friend! :o)

But enough playing around at the summit... it's WINDY up here!!! We headed down a bit looking for a more secluded spot for our mid-morning snack.

Unfortunately it was windy everywhere so we ate quickly and moved on...

A quick look back at that ridge:

And a few moments to just enjoy the view!

Straight ahead through the trees...

Then step down out of the wind and into a very thick pine forest!

now you see me... as soon as I step in here you don't!

And that's where things got complicated! There was quite a big gap in the group at this point, and the trail was really tough to make out. So some of us spread ourselves out a bit to maintain a link between those ahead and those behind. Unfortunately the last people were a mother and her very scared daughter who were moving along at a snail's pace accompanied by one of the guides... In the end the other girls went on down before the group disappeared completely while I waited for the rearguard to let them know how far ahead the rest were... We ended up making our own path down through those trees, and about an hour later (very slow going because of the girl) breathed a sigh of relief when the pine trees gave way to some old abandoned olive trees and we found this abandoned farmhouse:

After that we found a dirt road heading in the right direction...

full of wild boar (jabalí) tracks! :o)

Let's go around the bend and see what's there, shall we?

Hey! When did we leave Earth for Mars?! This has such a feel of Barsoom, it's freaky! :p

Had to backtrack a bit 'till we found this small dry riverbed...

Followed it upstream...

until we came upon the "Vía Verde" (track along an abandoned railroad) and a picnic area with some of our group who were sitll waiting for us! :o)

So we had lunch with them and then strolled along the Vía Verde until it brought us back to our starting point.

Where we celebrated with a well deserved round of coffees, teas, beers whatever! ;o)

toasty warm at last! ;o)

All in all about 10.6 km (6.6 miles) which should have been done in about 4h and ended up being over 5h...  Hopefully next time the people who join us will read the information sheet better, specially the part where it says "have some hiking experience and be used to mountainous terrain"! :p


  1. That certainly was some hike. . Looked much higher and longer than the distances quoted. What a workout but fabulous vews enroute.

    1. The cold wind made it feel longer too! But was definitely a lovely outing! :o)

  2. Another awesome looking hike. I enjoyed your "Angels" photos.

    1. lol! We had to do several takes because of the balance issues and then the laughing! Those were so much FUN!!! :o)


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