We got up early again and prepared for a long day in the mountains. We had breakfast, prepared packed lunches and washed up before driving 25 minutes along the valley to Fuente De.
From here, we took the cable car 800m up the mountain to about 1700m. We enjoyed the view from the viewing platform before heading off up a wide track.
The track rose steadily uphill. There are several tourist routes in the mountains but we planned something a bit more exciting than the wide track. We had chosen to follow a path over a col almost 2500m high. The track we were following became narrower and steeper and, once we reached 2200m, we turned off onto a small path. This was quite difficult, with rocks in some places and scree in others, and a steep drop on one side.
We eventually scrambled between tall rock massifs and emerged on the col, Collado de la Canaloma, after about 2 hours. The views were stunning and we stopped for a while to enjoy them while we had a snack and some water and consulted the map for the route down.
We initially had trouble finding the path down but eventually found some cairns and followed them. At one point I was worried we may have gone wrong but John checked our position using the GPS and we were roughly in the right place. The path became more difficult, though. The scree meant it often felt as though we were walking on marbles! However, the views made it all worthwhile. The awesome rock pinnacles gradually gave way to rocks and scree, before becoming beautiful green meadows.
We also spotted several chamois but they were rather shy and danced over the rocks to avoid us.
The path down took a long time to negotiate. We were now following green dots painted on the rocks and suddenly the path disappeared down a gully. We had no option but to continue, although the path was very steep with a sheer drop on one side. I picked my way down, listening to John breathing heavily as he followed me, more worried than I was about the drop 🙂 . Very relieved, we finally reached the bottom of that section and stopped for some lunch. In the photo, the path is fairly obvious on the green scrub in the centre of the picture. It then turns left, below the 3 or 4 small caves (above the big one), down the scree and around the base of the rock wall.
From this point, after a rough rocky start, the path became easier underfoot and relatively level. We were very grateful for this because my knees were sore and John had developed a blister under his big toenail. We soon reached the green meadows, covered in wild flowers, and grazed by sheep, goats, cattle and horses. We could also see the mountain refuge we were aiming for in the distance, looking forward to a cold beer.
After a break, we planned to take a path back round to the top cable car station and travel down. However, although it was clearly marked on the map, we couldn’t find an obvious path and decided to walk back down instead. We’d already been walking for over 5 hours and it was a really hot day so I was a bit worried. I’m not good in the heat but we had plenty of water and food and the only other option was to go back uphill, which I didn’t fancy at all!
We followed the wide tourist track downhill for about an hour before taking a turning back to Fuente De. This path wound through forests and flower meadows and was very beautiful. However, I was very hot and tired by now, and had a headache, and John’s toe was very sore, so we were pleased when, after another hour and a half, our destination came into view.
Back at the van we had ice creams and cold water before heading back to the campsite. This was a fantastic day’s walking and one we’ll always remember.