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]

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Ruta 10(ish) – Valverde del Camino

Our first peek out of a window this morning showed us not just clear blue skies, but good visibility; the dust cloud had gone. Excellent!

It was Route 10 that I’d chosen for today and having searched Wikiloc for the corresponding gpx file I’d found one that looked approximately the right shape and length, and with the same start point, as the line shown on the official route map. I didn’t go as far as to do a detailed comparison between the file and the official map, as it was a bit of a faff to keep flicking between them on the screen of my phone, so it wasn’t too much of a surprise to find mid-walk that we had deviated from the official route.

Unlike yesterday’s outing, which started right at the opposite end of the town, today we could see the first waymark as soon as we stepped out of the warmth of Colin and into the slightly chilly morning. Within a few paces we were on an ex-railway bed, with views :-). Leaving the almost flat, often straight, track to go through a tunnel under a road I discovered for the first time (after 9 years of ownership) that tunnels and light-reactive glasses are not happy partners: without my glasses on I could see bugger all in the tunnel; with them on (and still in their state of fully dark) I could see the same. Mick kindly guided me through the flooded sections and we both popped out dry-shod into the light at the other end.

It wasn’t much later that I commented that we hadn’t seen a waymark for a while. About two seconds later, I spotted a faded one on a rock to the side of the track. That was the last one we saw, even though, I now know, we were still on Route 10 at that point.

Up to nearly the top of a hill the forestry-type track took us, with a fine view opening up before us:

I now know (having studied the official map in more detail after we finished the walk) that it was at the next junction, where we took to a dirt road, that we diverged from the official route. That wasn’t a problem – it was always going to be easier to follow the gpx track I’d downloaded than to play ‘spot the waymark’, particularly given that we’d only seen one in the previous half an hour.

The area around Valverde (in as far as we’ve seen it) isn’t spectacular, but it’s very green, pleasant and rolling and we went over a couple more of those undulations, and past a couple of pretty ponds (we scared a stork into flight at one of them and we heard the arc as it flew into an electric cable; it appeared unscathed as it turned and went off in the opposite direction) before finding ourselves back on the railway bed for the last few hundred yards to Colin.

The outing came in at 5.5 miles, with an official ascent statistic that I don’t believe at all (1600’).

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