The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Thursday, 4 February 2016

PR-A 354 -  Sendero de Los Molinos y las Fuentes (East section)

I’m getting better at sussing out where walking trails are available, particularly now I’ve found a couple of helpful websites*. My first knowledge of this one came about as we made our way gingerly down the last section of the pass to Abla yesterday (after a bit of an incident with overheated brakes), when I happened to notice a waymarker and we were going slowly enough for me to see that it was route number PR-A 354. The official route information was found and the gpx file downloaded, but we decided only to do one chunk of the trail today, cutting short by walking down a road (this isn’t a walking holiday after all, so short routes which can be fitted in before lunch are perfect).

After relocating ourselves from one of Abla’s motorhome aires to the other, we were perfectly positioned about ten yards away from the start of the route, which soon had us walking alongside an irrigation channel:

The first couple of kilometres or so were somewhat lacking in interest, taking us mainly through scrubland, close to the motorway. The land the other side looked better, and that’s to where we were headed:

If you ignore all the flyovers in this next snap, then you’ll see that Mick is walking along a dry river bed. All bar a couple of the rivers we’ve seen have been dry, but often very wide with evidence of signifiant water erosion, which suggest that the rain pattern is of the flash-flood variety. When do those rains occur? Is it summer thunder storms, as we don’t seem to be seeing much evidence of winter rain (albeit this winter may not be typical).

Just before finally crossing under the motorway (which, despite appearances didn’t happen where the above photo was taken, we veered off left at that point), there was one of the redeeming features of this section of the walk, in the shape of an old aqueduct, juxtapositioned against the wall of an elevated section of motorway:

The next snap has got itself a little out of order. I can’t remember exactly where it was, but it was definitely before the aqueduct, and it was one of the more attractive areas of the first section of the route, giving expansive views (including of the nearby windfarm). The building remains, at which Mick is looking, was obviously a big, grand place at one time:

This place wasn’t quite as grand, being a cave dwelling with a modern extension stuck on the front:
[Doh! You'll have to imagine it - I don't have access to that photo right now]

Then we were into the hills and climbing, although nowhere near as much as the official information about the trail had stated**, through an area containing an unexpectedly high variety of plant-life.

Having taken lots of photos of the scrubby first half of the walk, I failed to take many of the attractive second half – but it was jolly pleasant. Coming out on a road, right next to a church it was but a stroll back down the road to Abla and our start point. We’d walked 5.6 miles with around 500’ of ascent. Tomorrow we intend to go and walk the west side of the route***.

A stroll around the town/village was had later in the day, before we relocated back to our original aire (it’s a nicer and quieter place for spending the night … I say as somewhan starts beating a drum at the adjacent sports ground!). This snap shows a typical narrow street (this one having a fine view of snowy tops at the end of it). We reckoned we could have got Colin along this road without much bother. He couldn’t have tackled any of the side-roads though.

(* lists all PR-A routes by region, with links to the official data sheet, although I can’t find them depicted on a map, which makes it a bit arduous to work out if there are any in a particular area. Then there’s, which I feel like half the world already knows about and that I’m late in discovering, but it seems to be a fantastic resource for finding other people’s gpx routes.

**The official route information says this trail has 820m of ascent. Looking at a map, I couldn’t see anywhere near that amount. It was as we stood looking at the information sign at its start point that we saw the elevation profile in detail and realised someone had come up with that number based on plotting a line on some electronic mapping and believing the number it came up with without considering the believability of the shape of the elevation profile. The route did not go up and down five feet in every ten paces as that elevation profile would suggest.

***The original text of this sentence said that we were going to walk the east side tomorrow (on the basis we had done the west side today). A debate broke out with my proof-reader, who thought I had those directions the wrong way round. I was so absolutely sure of my correctness that I couldn’t understand how said proof-reader was getting it so wrong. I brandished my phone, with the map and route displayed … darn it, my proof-reader was correct. Don’t you just hate it when that happens?)