Saturday, May 19, 2012

Capileira - Valle de Toril

Another variation in Poqueira Valley above Capileira is the Valle de Toril circular route. With 16 KM length and a duration of 5-6 hours the perfect option if you bring enough time and do feel like more action then the usual Cebadilla circular which will be only 7-8 KM. If you are looking for a seclude trail off the beaten track this may be for you as the Valle de Toril is on of the quietest trail you will encounter on this side of the Sierra Nevada.

Once you have reached the highest point, follow the water channel all the way to its end and return on the other side of the hill. Since you follow the water flowing downwards you are basically walking on even level the perfect walk with great view and guaranteed animal encounters as usually very few people walk here. If you are attentive and quite you could encounter wild boars, foxes and the very rare genet ( Especially in April with lots of snow left the chances are very high.

The trail is rather easy to walk. There are some heavy landslides on one side of the hill and passing while in midst of rain can be very dangerous. If you are walking during winter time bring good and waterproof shoes - everything is going to be wet. A good tip is to carry waterproof socks since having solid heavy boots can be a load to. Just remember temperatures in Spring can differ from 25 degrees in altitudes of 1000 M and 5 degrees above 2000 M. Once the sun goes and it gets foggy the mountains here can become a nightmare.


Capileira - Valle de Toril

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Monday, May 7, 2012

Puente Palo - Sorportujar - Capileira

This is the perfect Alpujarra round trip for everyone with a little more time then just the usual "Three Pueblos" trip in the Poqueira Valley, namely the "Cebadilla" route in Capileira. Instead of "only" walking alongside the Poqueira River this trip will first bring you to Rio Chico River - both of these Valles high up there in top "must-see" list of the Sierra Nevada area.

The trip with good 25 KM is perfect in spring and late summer as in peak summer season it will be too hot to walk as so many others here in southern spain.

You need a car for this trip because the entry point is way above Orgiva. In fact it takes a good 30 mins. from the road to Capileira to the Puente Palo. The road is almost all the time accesible. You should consider tough that for its most parts its a dirt track with sometimes heavy potholes. If you are not moving around in a lowered sports cars you should be ok - or as long you have 30-40 cm play and are adventures all is good. I have seen people driving Opel Corsas up the same road.

The first part of the route will take you along the Rio Chico Valley with its pristine pine forests and unspoiled nature until you meet the GR-7 route at the large dam you see on one of the photos. It seems that the dam was constructed to catch the debris/rocks so that the river will not become a wild ravine ragging through Orgiva or if its use was to be a water reservoir once.

From there its just a small jump to Soportujar following from here on the GR-7 long distance path all the way to Pampaneira. From Pampaneira up the Pocqueira until you meet the "official" path leading you to Puente Palo. There are at least 2 shortcuts to meet the same path going up straight from Pampaneira in direction of the Oseling Buddhist Monastery and if you are lucky you will make it less time then the official route. There are no signs - just your nose.

Once you reached the highest point of the trip above the Monastery we are back again on the most beautiful part of the track following the Acequia de Almira leading to Puente Palo (see for more pictures)

Good trip!

NOTE: if you turn off to drive up to Puento Palo on the road to Capileira and you see big yellow signs saying the road is closed or inaccessible you have three options:

1) Think un-spanish and make another trip somewhere else 2) Think spanish and ignore all signs 3) Think german and ignore all signs to go as far as you can and connect with the route from somewhere else

The part from Pampaneira up to the crossing to Puente Palo is/can be tricky because there have been a) landslides b) there are many small paths/tracks from sheeps/goats you may go astray. Just remember what ever goes down to the river will not bring you up again as there is no path in the bottom of the Poqueira Valley. If you are not sure where to go - Look for the path with the most foot prints.

Photos: here

Puente Palo - Sorportujar - Capileira

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Friday, March 2, 2012

Cabo de Gata - Agua Amarga to San Pedro

A must see must do day trip for everybody traveling in northern Andalucia is the Cabo de Gata Nature Reserve Park.

Not all of Cabo de Gata is under the national park and it could be well said that the part under protection is the most beautiful and unspoiled part. The nature park spans a approximate 45 KM distance walkable from Agua Amarga up to the "Torre de los Lobos" to the south of Las Negras. All of it is fairly easy to walk. A must, a must do because you will see the most beautiful beaches along the Andalusian cost line since some of them are not accesible by car.

Walking through the desert like landscape is a real treat and you will find some very interesting fauna and flora. The water around the nature park is also a marine reserve so if you are lucky you will also see normally unseen creatures in the sea. The views are stunning in every direction - inlands into Europe's one an only desert the Tabernas and its offshoots and of course the blue and endless bathtub like Mediterranean waters. Especially a treat in early morning and when the sun goes down.

This trip is a relaxing day trip with plenty of time to dip in the pool. You can walk the way until San Pedro and return the same way. There is no other way back! Or you could pitch a tent in San Pedro and walk the rest the next day. It is not that easy with public transportation - especially in off season. There is a bus from Las negras but on weekends connections are very limited if at all. The best thing is really to just walk, take a backup tent and see where the wind carries you. The path are all good and walkable and can be even walked at night. It its recommended not to walk in summer because its too hot and there is only water in a few places. As in the Sierra Nevada National Park it is also allowed to pitch a tent for a night if i doesnt look like you are going to stay there for long.

Choosing San Pedro as the destination or even staying there, can be very interesting provided you are open for alternative ways of living. San Pedro being a Hippie retreat since many many decades has a unique charm of its own. And a lot of the houses, paths, fields and gardens are being taken care of with much love and patience if you consider everything is brought by boat only. According to hearsay the people of San Pedro had their hands in the game when the natural park was founded and boundaries were set.

We are all very thankful that these place still exist on the spanish coast. Enjoy the trip.

Photos can be found here:

Cabo de Gata 1 - Agua Amarga to San Pedro

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Backdoor El Condor - Tabernas Almeria

While driving the A92 from Granada to Almeria/Murcia, some 20 KM before Almeria lays the Tabernas - Europe's one and only recognized desert. With a dimension of 288 square kilometers it spans all the way to the Mediterranean sea, giving parts of the nearby Cabo de Gata Nature Reserve a unique landscape no where else to be found in Europe. Being Europe's only Desert a whole lot of Films have been shot in the unique setup of the Tabernas. From Lawrence of Arabia to The good, the bad and the ugly to name just a few.

Today there a 3 wild western theme parks/towns left. You can find a real western fort, shows, zoos, saloons and what not. But ... there is also one western town which has been abandoned many years ago to decay in the reckless temperatures of the Tabernas. The oldest one "el condor" is accessible back doors when taking the exit to all the western towns and then off to "Western Leone" or "Mini Hollywood. Just half a kilometer after the entrance to "Western Leone" you can park you car and walk down into the Arroyo to find the old town. Its a 1-2 hours walk - just be careful with snakes, take enough water and remember you are not supposed to go there :)

Deepmining in Orgiva

Its 2012 and time for new adventures.

One thing i dont not encourage people to do but nevertheless wanted to share are the mines de carriles of Orgiva. I posted a trip last year (see here) which is a trip in the Sierra de Lujar around the area of the mines. Being one of the biggest and oldest mines in spain i wanted to share some photo impression from inside. the mines are supposed be a system of almost 700KM! The whole mountain is like a swiss cheese. The mines were operated more then thousand of years and in the were shut down only in the 70ties. The walk in/outside the mines is adventure pure because of all the remains, hidden entries, spectacular views and curiosities to be found around the mountain.


If you are experienced enough and have considered all appropriate security measures a stop over when going or leaving from Orgiva is worthwhile a stop.