Thursday, 24 November 2016

Day 2 0f Hiking in the Alpujurra in Spain

1st November

14 kms, 5 hours, 385 m ascent and 520 m descent.

After the celebrations in our plaza the previous evening, the morning dawned clear and peaceful. We set off with a spring in our step, in the crisp morning air, enjoying the crystal clear light across the Poqueira Valley. We felt confident that for at least the 1st 1/2 hour of the day, we would know where we were going. 

After descending to Bubion, it was a steep climb to 1565 m. Thankfully the trail had very few steps or rocks to negotiate.

Capileria in the distance. Bubion in the foreground.

And still climbing higher!

The summit appeared to be getting closer.

Finally - 1 1/2 hours later!

The next half hour gave us respite, the trail gradual, until the descent down to the village of Capileirilla began.

 This marker was easily spotted. Some weren't.

Following the notes looks simple, but if you forget to keep an eye on your distance travelled, then several options appear to be correct, or you have gone too far.

As we made our descent, I was grateful I wasn't in Australia and staying alert for snakes. Silly me. Frank suddenly called out to step right. This fellow had already passed Frank and caught up to me, but thankfully it soon headed off the track. Research has informed me that there are 13 different snakes in Spain, 5 of which are venomous. I believe this to be just a viper.

There were very few wildflowers, but this yellow bush brought a splash of colour to the otherwise brown, arid terrain.

Coming out of holm oak woods, we were greeted by this lovely vista, but we were to drop right down into this valley and then back up again.

In Capileirilla, we just couldn't locate a right turn to be taken. Suddenly we were on the edge of the village and enjoying the wonderful autumn colours of this tree. After looking at our map, the decision was made not to retrace our steps, but to follow the road to Pitres. The peacefulness was soon disturbed by the continuous honking of a horn and we wondered what on earth it was. The answer took me back to my childhood - the bread delivery van.

The leafy green on either side of the road was a lovely relief from the browns of most of the trail.

Our plan worked. We sat here and had lunch before attacking a steep descent to Mecina.

Even though I may dwell on the brown palette of most of this hike, we were still amazed at the productiveness of this steep, dry, rugged terrain. All along the paths, in gardens and on farms, there is an incredible variety of produce growing. The sound of trickling water accompanied us regularly, but was hidden in the network of channels for irrigation.

I included this one for Nathalie of,
The grape vines were readying for winter.

As was this tree.

Interesting path down......

to Mecina.

The notes had told us to look for a large threshing circle. We would see many of these over the next few days. Found! Now for the next clue.

I was impressed with where this grapevine was growing. Another oft seen spectacle.

Time for some official road walking, as we begin to ascend again.

It was All Saints Day weekend, so families were tending the graves of their loved ones.

As we gained elevation, the constant humming of a helicopter was heard. We couldn't see smoke, but there was a bushfire in the next valley and the helicopter was dumping water on it. A small aircraft also flew over twice, spraying retardant. 
Taking a breather, we enjoyed the view back to the villages we had visited.

Next, the village of Ferreirola.

I wonder how old this vine is and growing through concrete!

 Many villages had water fountains and wash houses. This one was the clue to turn left.

This area is one of many areas of Spain, hoping for heavy falls of rain soon. November is one of their wettest months and none had fallen.

Atalbeitar, another delightful white village.

Finally after the last steep climb of the day, we arrived in Portugos. We followed the notes to the village church up this road and then discovered that our hotel was actually at the entry to the village.

The church bell tower.

After a refreshing shower we sat on our balcony and soaked up the sounds and beauty of the valley. Dogs barked, birds twittered and goat bells tinkled. The sunset colours added to the tranquility.  After dinner, the lights of the villages shone brightly. I wish my camera could have caught them more clearly.

We were footsore and the knees just a tad tired, but this had been an amazing day of hiking. I would love to read your comment.


  1. You have been hiking in Spain! How lovely is that!
    Such beautiful views and great photos... except that it was an unpleasant surprise to see a snake still in November. :)
    Wishing you a happy weekend!
    PS Lynxes are not dangerous to humans. I'd love to see one! :)

  2. What wonderful things you've seen on your walk! Spain looks beautiful - I love the white-housed villages. Looking forward to hearing more about your trip.

  3. This is a great post. The area looks so much like parts of California-- or even Arizona. It's no wonder they made westerns there. I hope they get rain soon.

  4. It is so annoying when the signs disappear. We walked about 10 K today and had to backtrack at least 3 times when we lost the red and white GR signs. How many kilometers are you water each day? The cemetery looks a lot like the ones you see in Italy.
    I was interested in Bill's comment. Many long years ago I went through the middle of Spain by car and it looked so exactly like spaghetti Western country that I couldn't believe it!

  5. I am enjoying catching up on your hiking in Spain. What a beautiful area albeit a bit brown. The villages are such a contrast with their white walls. I do love all the baskets of flowers gracing the buildings.

  6. Hello again, Helen! Thank you for your comment of yesterday! I think your question was about the landscape photos. The first three images were taken about at 9 a.m. and the last photo (with stars) was taken about at 5 o'clock p.m.

    1. Thanks Sara. I was curious as to how much actual daylight you have. I guess it diminishes as winter progresses. So different to living in the tropics.

  7. Darlene would love the challenge of all the route finding that was needed. Thank you for taking us along on your journey, I am enjoying reading your commentary. I almost feel like I am ascending and descending with you!

  8. A fine village to village hike, a chance to see the real Spain. I'd have been thrilled to see a snake as they are rare in the UK