Thursday, 15 December 2016

Day 5 of Hiking in the Alpujurra in Spain

4th November

17 kms, 620 m ascent, 880 m descent.

Trevelez to Berchules

The weather report the previous evening was not favourable for a pleasant day of hiking. It stated that there was a 95% chance of heavy rain all day. Knowing we had another steep climb to 2020 m, we were a little concerned as to how we would cope. We tentatively made the decision to travel with the luggage transfer, but would wait to see what the morning would bring.

There was no muted pink sunrise as of the previous day, but thankfully there was no rain either. The sky was heavy, but not ominous. 9.15 saw us shouldering our packs and making the descent to the base of the village. Here we crossed the Trevelez River to commence the days climbing.

Up until this point we hadn't met any other hiker on our trail. Suddenly, we were in a queue, waiting to take the narrow path upwards. There was a group of 10 Canadians taking our route for half the trail, before diverting to a different destination. We overlapped a Danish couple, off and on all day. Their notes had them road walking for much of the afternoon. They were also booked into our hotel.

Wood stock piles were a common feature along the trails. Given where we found them, the time and effort to create and then transport them back to the villages, without mechanical means, I find the whole exercise quite staggering. We were going slow just hiking.

In several areas, as below, the piles were beside the gravel track, but  no effort had been made to collect them and the logs were just rotting away. Very difficult to fathom.

Yet again we crossed a water channel on the side of the mountain.

During our ascent the terrain varied. Both steep and gentle inclines, mixed with open vistas and pine forests. Sometimes wide smooth paths, but often a narrow twisting trail, but always giving a feeling of a dry, harsh ruggedness .

Mid morning we farewelled Trevelez.

The trail winding ahead.

The precarious position of old farmhouses. This used to be a maize and wheat growing area. Several threshing circles were passed.

My white line indicating the trail we followed in the latter half of day 3, 2 days previously.

Somewhere beyond the X, day 3 began.

About midday we had all but reached our summit of the day. The sky was still heavy, but no rain. An icey wind however, was blowing across the valley from  Mt Mulhacen  [Spains highest mainland peak, 3478.6 m] where snow was falling. We happened upon an overhanging rock and decided it was the perfect spot to rest and eat lunch.

100m away was  El Porticheulo - 2020 m. A group of mountain bikers under the guidance of an English couple, based near Berchules, were busy taking their summit shots as we approached.

Jenny and Tim were a delight to chat with, if only we had had more time.


And so the long descent commenced, very gently for the 1st few kilometres.

I'm hoping someone can name this delicate mauve flower for me. I assume it is an alpine plant.

The lower field was being prepared for sowing a crop. I found it difficult to imagine any surviving......

but the tomatoes had done very well.

The last few kilometres were endless. It didn't help that we had made a bad decision re the route, and dropped steeply down a road, only to find ourselves in a farmyard and having to retrace our steps.

Finally we found the road into Berchules, even though we still couldn't see the town because of the steep descent.
This hen house with a view brought me some light relief.

Down, down, down.

On a hot day this would be most welcome, at the halfway point through town.

Finally, balcony view back up the village.

The view across the valley to, I believe, the Mediterranean Sea. [mid horizon]

Our hotel was owned by an English lady who had lived in Spain since 1960. We were welcomed  cheerfully and a beer quickly washed the tiredness away.

We felt proud of today's accomplishment and so relieved that the day had stayed fine. For the locals desperate for rain, it was another day watching the clouds and being disappointed. Since our return, the rains arrived, but in some areas of Andalusia, caused dreadful devastation.

I would love to read your comment.


  1. No wonder the Spaniards felt so much at home in parts of California!

  2. Glad the heavy rain didn't materialize! So interesting to walk through a different environment.

  3. Such interesting and inviting views and paths... and you must be fit! :)
    The tomato field looks beautiful and well-cared. It's always sad when first there isn't enough rain and then there comes too much of it.

    In case we don't "see" each other before Christmas, I wish you a very merry Christmas time and a happy start for the new year. See you soon!

  4. I wonder if the wood was from thinning the forest and they just haven't burned the piles? What an interesting hike so far.

  5. A real challenge that walk but such a variety of scenery and working landscape. A beer always taste so much better after a long walk :)