At last the arrival of the cooler weather means that we’ve been able to start our walking season in earnest. On October 27th, Carla and Douwe took us to the Cañón de Almadenes on the Segura River between Calasparra and Cieza. We always know that we’ll have an adventure on one of their walks and through no fault of their own, this occasion was no exception.
They had organised everything perfectly: in the middle part of their route we would split into two smaller groups where Douwe would lead one group on the narrow climb down into the gorge and for people like me, who felt a bit anxious about the very steep and infamous section, Carla would take a less scary diversion. They’d invited a local person to join us and he made it very clear before we set off, that if there was rain then nobody would be entering the gorge. Apparently, the narrow path on the deep and steep sides becomes dangerously slippery – and that’s without mentioning the horizontally suspended iron ladder with no handholds! This is definitely not a place for people who suffer from vertigo! And rain it certainly did. However, this did not spoil our fun because Pepe’s local knowledge was extensive and he treated us to a safe (but certainly not tame) alternative.
He led us up a deep and mainly dry barranco where we had to clamber up waterfalls and over rockfalls and other obstacles. It was very sad to see the black remains of the extensive fire that had been started by arsonists in the area a few years ago. Subsequently many fallen trees have been repositioned in order to prevent further potential erosion. We walked past archaeological digs, through tunnels in the seemingly impenetrable foliage where we found hidden caves that we had to climb up into and others, down in to. At some time in the walk three Spanish cavers/potholers joined us and delighted in disappearing down what seemed like rabbit holes to our uninitiated eyes. We scrambled a lot and at times needed all 5 points of contact (hands, feet and rear end) to gain access to these fascinating secret places and the experience had us giggling like the children we’d once been. Fantastic! Unrepeatable!
Our third outing of the season on Saturday 10th November was very tame by comparison, but enjoyable nonetheless. A last-minute hitch required a change to the planned programme, but this allowed Martin and I the chance to show an old favourite to some of the newer members. The news at Bar La Carmen in the Campo de Ricote where we met was a little unwelcome – the hunters were shooting wild boar that day and the mountain had been closed off the night before! (Note to self – check the CARM website before winter walks). Luckily, on closer discussion it turned out that the hunters were going into the higher point of the west of the sierra whereas we were aiming downhill to the east. Thankfully we were safe to continue without running the risk of being shot.
With a total distance of about 10km this is not a long route, but erosion since the recent rains had left some sections needing greater agility than on previous occasions and the loose gravel, particularly on some downhill stretches of the Senda de Los Forestales, required some impressively nifty footwork. Thankfully, everybody was wearing appropriate footwear so we didn’t leave too much blood behind as evidence! We’re a tough lot and all obeyed the ‘no whingeing allowed’ rule, so were permitted a brief snack before starting the long return route via the Rambla de Charrara. Nearing the end, we climbed the two long zigzags out of the rambla in order to start our return to Bar La Carmen – the place to find some of the tastiest cuisine in the area.
The next planned walks will all be on Saturdays:
December 1st Cehegín
December 8th Otos
December 15th Bullas
Walking in the Region of Murcia 12€
Senderismo por la Región de Murcia
See page 24 for full details
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