Hiking here can be a bit boring - all you see is olive trees. Harvesting time also makes stealth camping interesting because you don't know if you are going to be woken up by farmers... On the other hand you'll always find a flat clear spot in these olive plantations for camping. But as there is no undergrowth and the trees are usually far apart it is difficult to hide. I set up camp very late and try to be away before sunrise and the arrival of the harvesters.
|Nothing but olive trees|
Although it can be freezing cold at night the days are warm, almost hot. I did a quick shopping in Jodar and was then off to Torres. The GR 7 climbs up a mountain and then descends steeply into the next valley. The climb up was easy on a dirt road and the views from the pass down into the valley great. But how would I get down this steep slope? Someone had driven up an old car and then pushed it down the slope. The car wreck seemed an awful reminder of what can happen to you if you slip... But the descent was not as bad as it looked and I was soon down in olive country again. The climbing had taken its toll and I did not make it as far as expected that night. I ended up on the the steep ascent up to Torres when the sun set. One of the terraces rescued me by providing a flat spot for camping. And despite the altitude of 1.200 m and no tree cover I did not have frost in the tent.
Next day was a real highlight as I was crossing another small National Park, Sierra Magina. From Torres I steadily climbed up to 1,600 m on forest roads. Once up on the pass I was greeted with spectacular views of the snow covered Sierra Nevada. I sat on top of the pass and had lunch. It is January and I was sitting there in the sun enjoying the fantastic views - and felt incredibly happy.
Unfortunately this happiness quickly disappeared when I realised a couple of hours later that my gpx track had been cut off. Although I had downloaded the whole track for this Northern variant only half of it was on my GPS. My only explanation is that the track must have had more than 10.000 track points and had therefore been cut off when sending it from my computer onto the GPS. That meant no tracks for over a week! And here the GR is badly or not marked at all. Luckily I have paper maps with the trail marked on them but a GPS track would be much better...
|Along the River Cambil|
Only the last day into Alcala la Real dragged a bit. I had chafed my feet on the downhills and I was hurting a bit. Plus Alcala does not come into sight until you are literally standing in front of it. I had a reservation and just limped right to my hotel where I spend the evening trying to heal my feet.