Sunday, October 31, 2010

30 Oct 2010 - Col de Rates

Paul and Jean, friends who live at Calaspara in Murcia, came to visit us for the weekend. They also enjoy walking, and have accompanied us on some of our favourite local walks during previous visits.

They had admired Col de Rates, our local mountain, and were looking forward to walking it. It was unfortunate that on the morning we planned it there was an overcast sky. After weeks of blue skies our timing was not good. But at least it was not raining.

Being overcast it was also quite chilly, so we wore jackets to start the walk. The walk starts with a gentle climb along the side of the mountain, and we were soon ready to take off the first layer.

The gentle climb soon becomes steeper, but good tracks all the way. After our recent experience of overgrown tracks we were pleased to find that these were quite clear. So the walk to the top was not too difficult.

It was windy and quite cold at the top, so we did not linger long. We had planned to stop for our picnic lunch just below the summit.

The path down is also quite good, and provides lovely views of Parcent and the Jalon Valley.

As soon as we stopped we had to put our jackets on again, as it was quite cold without the warming sun. We always take a flask of hot water on our walks to make fresh tea or coffee. And on a day like this it is particularly welcome.

The views from our chosen picnic site are the best in the area. Even on an overcast day like today they are impressive. There are panoramic views of the Jalon and Orba valleys, the surrounding mountain ranges and the coast from Denia to Calpe. We were able to point out the previous walks we had done together and villages they had visited

Although we have done this walk many times, it is always a joy to do it again. Even when the weather is less than perfect. And it is always particularly nice to show it to someone who has not walked it before.

The mosarabic path back to Parcent requires careful attention to where you are putting your feet. These old paths were well made, and survive the occasional “gota fria” rain storms. But they are very rocky, and many of them loose. This is good excuse for frequent short stops to admire the view.

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