|Ares del Mestre|
The landscape remained quite spectacular the whole stretch. Like Morella Ares is an old hilltop city with seemingly endless terraces around it. I was soon wondering why there were some oranges on the dirt road. This was far too high for orange trees and far too many oranges to be leftovers from other hikers. I soon found the solution: farmers feed the bad oranges to their sheep (which seemed to enjoy their vitamin rich food). At the end of the day I was to dip down into another beautiful valley - and then of course to climb up again. Unfortunately I was a bit short on water when I came across the ruins of a farm on a ridge. No farm without water but there was no stream or spring. But I found what looked like a cistern and it was still full of water. Someone had a plastic bucket attached to some rope and carefully I could lift up the container. The water was surprisingly clear but I nevertheless treated it because there was God knows what floating in the cistern.
|Campground at St. Juan|
|Villahermosa del Rio|
|Hot Springs in Montanejos|
After a quick shopping stop in the well stocked supermarket I headed out into the night in the hope of a quick campsite. Of course it was all uphill but with my new headlamp I finally found a nice pine tree campsite on top. Next morning I surprised two early day hikers who could not believe to see someone already ahead of them. This is another breathtaking stretch of trail as you are walking on top of a narrow gorge. Especially with the early morning sun the views were incredible and the trail tread was great. But it did not stay that way...
|This is trail!|
The climb up to Bejis is another lunatic GR 7 attempt to get the trail off the road. Instead of following the road the GR 7 climbs up a totally overgrown hill where I got stuck again in blackberry bushes. A stretch of 500 m took me almost an hour because I got so stuck I could not even turn around and just go back to the road. After that I was so fed up that I roadwalked to the next little village instead of taking the trail - I could not take any more bad surprises.
I was now ready for a rest day and another day's walk brought me eventually to Chelva and its Hotel La Posada. I seem to be the only guest... But the heating is working, there is a good restaurant next door and a supermarket in town. A good place to plan the rest of this trip and my return to Germany in 7 weeks.