Mulhacen at last!
29 June 2012 @ 00:15
Today we took a walk up mainland Spain's highest mountain (3479 m / 11,307 ft) and although Steve has been several times before, it was a first for me, and not too strenuous at all thanks to the summertime bus! We set off soon after 09.00hrs (already getting hot) and slowly bumped our way up to the Hoya del Portillo, then on to the Mirador de Trevelez, where we were dropped off. A family group went off to the Refugio de Poquiera, but we and one other chap headed due north and plodded up towards the summit. At 2,500m it was Hagloff fleece weather, and by the time we reached the summit I was very glad to have it on and the legs of my zip-off trousers! It might have been 30 degrees in Capileira, but only 10 up there and windy!
We met several magnificent wild mountain goats, who calmly gazed at us but did not stir from their resting spots in the sunshine; a mother and her young kid wandered away from us, the youngster staring inquisitively, while yet more junior members lounged on the overhanging rocks, in no way disturbed by the 1000m drop below them. The views from the top are spectacular: Caballo in the distant west, Veleta and the Laguna de Caldera deliciously close, Alcazaba and the Siete Lagunas less visible - and in the haze our old friend Pena de los Papos! And all around us the broken, scattered rocks, scree and stones that high altitude weathering brings into being. Descending through this chaos towards the Laguna was as tiring as climbing up along the ridge. Next time, however, a separate assault on Veleta will be needed!
We met a Scot on the summit and walked back with him to the Portillo, there being no homeward bus. Thank goodness for that, as apart from being very likeable, he also had a car parked there and could give us a lift back to Bubion. My knees were beginning to feel quite threadbare and drinking water was running low, so this was a real boon. Another message here - always 'camel-up' before your walk (we shared a litre of water on the bus) and take plenty for the descent, at least another litre apiece. Filling up beforehand meant we didn't need any water at all until we reached the summit.
So here we are, back at home, several cold beers later...Italy has beaten Germany, the tennis tomorrow should be good, I have wild cherries to make into jelly and green walnuts for an alcoholic winter treat - nocino - and about 20 friends are coming on Sunday for tapas and wine...time to go to bed and try to sleep...if we can in this absurd warmth. But a good day had by all :)
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