About 15 k on the trail. 2400 ft ascent, 2855ft descent. 4hrs 45 mins.
Another brilliant day. Not a cloud to be seen. Just as well a lot of the hike was below the tree line or I would be much more than the pink I am currently.
After a quick walk before breakfast walk into the village for a baguette, very continental, we a had a leasurely breakfast, packed up and left the apartment that had been our home for two nights and drove to where Tina had picked me up the previous afternoon.
There followed the usual 2hr hike to the first col. the walk started by running long side a concrete water channel in which the water was decidedly hurrying along.
This part also had nice views over another reservoir below.
The trail shortly left the channel and struck steeply uphill. Most of the climb was below the tree line with not much to be seen, though one interesting feature was the precision of the estimates of the hike duration on the sign post … to the minute.
One the way up I passed two couples with whom I had chatted/walked for bits of previous days on the trail.
After the standard 2 hours I reached the first col and its great views.
I stopped here for almost 1/2 hr having lunch and airing my feet. Then it was on. Down a bit and then up a lot more for more great views.
Then it was time for the long descent.
Soon I was down in the woods again and not much to see. The trail got progressively easier as I approached the end, allowing a relaxed end to the hike.
Met up with Tina. Had an Ice cream, checked into our cell, a shower, a wander around the monestry gardens, a G and T and now this. A good day.
A much shorter day today. I thought it would be longer given the vertical involved, I reckoned on 5 hrs as did the signage, but the easy well paved donkey trail and fit legs cruised me up quickly and easily.
The observant of you might be asking why I did not start at Soller. Well, 1. Soller is a large town. 2. We had discovered that the next natural stop, the refuge at Tossals Verds, could only we booked by Internet, and they needed at least 4 days notice. We were too late for this so we decided to stay two nights in the Soller area, and that Tina would ferry me back and forth to starting and finishing points where the trail crossed at major road. Fornaltx seemed a nice comprise place to stay. So while today was short, tomorrow is going to be long. 8 hrs according to the book.
We have found a nice apartment in Formalutx. So this morning, rather than drive down into Soller, I walked twenty minutes or so down to Biniraix where I joined the trail and started uphill.
It is just as well I walked rather than getting Tina to drive me down to where I should have started in Soller as there was a running race happening that morning up the same trail. I walked on to the trail, past police on motor bikes blocking vehicular access, just as the last of the runners were making their way past.
An 1h 30 mins saw the worst to the climb over. On the way a met a group who were going canyoning, and a group of three Brits over for a long weekend, repeating what they had done last September. I finished the hike in their company. They were going on to Lluc which is what I am ding tomorrow. But another 6hrs on. Instead I had a very pleasant afternoon with Tina.
An shorter day today but quite strenuous. I woke feeling like having a lie in, but after a great breakfast I felt more energized and off we went. Tina drove me back into Valldemossa and after picking up a sandwich for lunch I set off following my GPS. Unfortunately it was taking either a short cut or an old route. Fortunately this became clear sooner rather than later . I was then left with the decision whether to follow the gps or the guidebook. I choose the latter. ( the short cut looked very steep.) Various archeological sites on the way up, lime kilns, charcoal burning sites and a snow hole for storing snow/ice for use in the winter. Any way it worked out well, and 2 hours later, on schedule, I was in the ridge. Very windy up there, I had to carry my hat at times to save losing it.
I nice traverse a long the ridge line with views down to Deia below. Then a very long, steep descent down into the village.
A two part day, a couple of hours to Esperles where I met Tina for 11ises, then another 4 hours to Valldemossa.
The first part started with another hour long climb, but on roads or tracks so the going was good. Then a long unremarkable traversing descent into Esporles. More people on the trail today, probably because I started at a more reasonable time. A German couple, 4 German ladies, and another couple, probably German. Still a fairly light flux all things considered.
Esporles was overrun with cyclists but we managed to find a table at one of the many cafes. After a iced tea and chocolate cake I was off again. Another even longer up hill and the into what was advertised as a badly marked section but in fact turned out to be ok with little resort to the gps needed. Despite being high there were very few viewing points due to the nasty low shrubby and straggly trees. The viewpoints when they came were usually from the edges of precipitatous cliffs.
Thru this section I was trailing one of the German couples, which made route finding a more relaxing experience. After a long final ascent came a steep descent into Valldemossa and a sudden tourist overload. Tina was not there to met me as we had arranged to met at our hotel. Unfortunately this was a good k out of town. At least it was down hill, though even that I did not really appreciate at the time.
The hotel, booked the day before, is in an old converted farm, and they have done a wonderful job of it. After shower and launder we drove back into town for an apperitive and dinner. All very civilized.
Today had a bit of every thing, road walking, an uphill slog, nice traverses and easy down hill tracks. I had not meant to do this stage as the web site and guidebooks advised against it do to property disputes. However a new guidebook was published just before I left which made no mention of these difficulties so, despite having to drive back to the start, and it going tone a long day, I went for it.
We had a late start as we were now staying an extra night in the hotel and had to change rooms. We eventually got to the start of the hike about 10am. A large group of hikers there were blocking the entrance to the parking spot, fortunately they were going in the other direction.
The hike started with 2k of downhill road walking, then an hour of solid uphill walking. My legs did not seem to have the spring in them they had had the previous day and it seemed like hard work. But I gradually got to find my comfortable pace. A lot of this uphill was on rock, from cairn to cairn. I imagine this the dry stone the route is named after.
Some interesting navigational issues, but by and large I did not have to resort to the gps very often.
The views really opened up as I went up.After the ascent was a long traversing descent which eventually met up with a track which really sped this up. In fact I was on track until the village where I had arranged to met Tina, around 3pm, for a late lunch.
After lunch I continues on for the last segment to Banyalbufar and our hotel. This is the segment where there had been a long standing dispute about access. Fortunately now resolved for it was after a bit of a climb, a lovely traverse through pine woods. It skirted the lovely house whose grounds took up a significant part of the walk. The a steep descent down a well maintained path into the village.
19k 3400 ft vertical 5 hrs 45 mins with an hours break for lunch with Tina at St. Elm.
Day was split in two with a nice lunch stop in St. Elm. The route was generally easy to find. I must say I like navigating by GPS. It automatically shows you were you are relative to your desired track, while with paper maps the first question is “where the hell are we?”. The frequent breaks to consult it force in rest breaks. The first section used a track for much of the ascents, but had a rough steep descent. After lunch it was the reverse. It was slow steep and rough going up, so much so that I thought I would be late for my rendezvous with Tina, but suddenly the last 4 k turned into a nice track and we arrived simultaneously at the rendezvous. Great views all along the route as it is generally quite high above the sea. The weather was good through out. I converted by pants to shorts very early on, and was hiking in just a long sleeved shirt.