Well, that day was different. A first visit for me to the Via Ferrata paradise that is found at John Hogbin, Zafarraya. Lots of steep ladders (some decidedly more wobbly than others), Tyrolean Traverses, rungs, zip wires and cable bridges to negotiate. All good, clean and exposed fun in the sun!
There were also a couple of pendulums thrown in for good measure. On one of these Kiersten got her rope snagged and was left dangling out in space, until we figured it out.
If you plan to do this then it's vitally important you have all the correct Via Ferrata equipment and also a pulley for the zip lines. The knowledge of how to use them is absolutely essential. Despite the danger implied by the photos and the video we were at all times securely fixed to cables and anchor points. Best option that I recommend, if in any sort of doubt or you haven't tried this exhilarating activity before, is, as we did, to take a Guide along with you.
We dropped lucky. The night before the walk was planned we had the first real snows of the winter in the mountains. The temperatures were low as the resilient group of Nomads congregated at the trailhead at the base of the Barranco de San Juan, close to the town of Guejar Sierra. All around us were brightly coloured forests, the tops lit by the early morning sun.
It was too cold to hang about so off we went along the start of the Vereda de la Estrella path that leads into the mountains. Just short of a kilometer later we cut off to the rights and ascended easy slopes to the Casas de la Hortichuela.
The mountain path now steepened through forests, the golden autumnal colours highlighted by the low winter sun.
It was a cold, clear morning as a large band of Nomads congregated at the car park at the town of Pantano de Bermejales. Today was a first for all of us, a trip down the river gorge of the Tajos de Bermejales, northwards towards the town of Cacin.
The initial few kilometres provided a gentle introduction to the rigours to come. Ahead the gorge just hinted at it's magnificence rather than laid all it's wares to view.
Unexpectedly, we arrived at a series of rungs and a ladder climbing a near vertical rock. What? I had expected simple wide paths as this walk is frequented by many people, especially at weekends. Nevertheless, the Nomads gritted their ageing teeth and climbed the impasse with much aplomb.
The Nomads stayed overnight in Alhama de Granada and had a pleasant but somewhat noisy evening in the town's only bar that was open.
Next morning was bright and clear, not as cold as we had anticipated. We drove to La Robledal where we commenced our ascent. We knew this would be a tough day with over 1000m ascent. The initial forest tracks were easy enough, but shortly we left these behind and took to an ever steepening mountain track.
This section had numerous “Miradors” on the crest of the ridge that provided an excuse for a welcome break, photos and water replenishment. The track continued to get rougher as we climbed.
A nice 12km walk on a cloudy day through the lush forests along the Cañada del Sereno in the Parque Natural de la Sierra de Huetor.
Not the most inspirational of walks given the overcast conditions and general lack of photographic opportunities, but interesting nevertheless. Of special interest were the autumnal colours and variety of trees. Not only pines but many varieties including the rare Maple and Weeping Willow around the Fuente de Teja.
The highlight on a dry day would be to try to ascend the spire of El Pulpito but in the dampish conditions the limestone rock was slippy and we didn't fancy the challenge. Another day perhaps?
Last Tuesday the Nomads walking group headed to the Sierra de Huetor just north of Granada. There was a peak there that I had seen many times from the A92 motorway during my years in Spain. It is called the Penon de la Cruz. I never climbed it before because, quite frankly, it looked a bit uninteresting and boring. How wrong was I?
The day had started off as a normal Alpujarra Nomads day walk but soon turned into a bit of an extended pub/beach crawl.
We started (fully clothed!) at the nudist beach at Playa Cantarijjan and hiked slowly up the gentle coastal path towards Playa Cañuelo. Within 10 minutes we turned right and up the steepening and rocky slopes to the summit of Cerro Caleta 200m. Some great views towards the sea and Nerja to the west. Then its an undulating ridge to join the road to the NW before dropping down the road to the Bar at Playa Cañuelo.
This is where things started to go wrong. I arrived to find a “cerveza grande” waiting for me. This was followed by another and then food galore, primarily platefuls of chips. Suitable fed and watered the walking took second place to chilling out on the beach.
Photos from yesterdays walk in the beautiful Dehesa de Camarate near Lugros. We were a bit early for the October explosion of autumnal colours but a nice walk nevertheless.
We stayed overnight in Guadix at the Cuevas Abuelo Ventura. Spent a very convivial evening eating and drinking at the Liceo Accitano Restaurante Café Bar.
A good time to try out my new Sony 6400 camera. Some successes but overall I feel I have a lot to learn about using Aperture and Shutter Priority settings. Still, I managed a decent macro shot of Autumn Crocuses and managed to slow/blur the motion of the stream.
There's something uniquely satisfying about reading the weather right. 10 minutes after finishing the walk today in the Monachil Gorge the heavens opened. Really good to be back enjoying Los Cahorros, 15 years since I was last there. Thanks to the Nomads for the good company and jovial banter. Good session afterwards in the bar too!