Key lessons learned and trip summary:
- It rains…even in dry Sierra Nevada
- Pack enough food! The calorie outtake is huge and the hunger will come
- Useful phrase: “¿Hay alguien por aquí?” (“Is anyone here?)”
I’m asleep – dreaming. I have a dream that I’m taking a hot shower. Ooooh…how enjoyable. Wait….But something’s wrong. As I’m slowly waking up, I quickly realize that the water pouring down on me is not hot but actually very cold and that instead of being in the shower, I’m actually outside sleeping under the stars with frozen nose and wet sleeping bag. Damn! It started raining at 2 am and continued until morning.
“Is it a regular morning yet?“, Thomas wakes up. „Probably yes“, I answer. „But it’s difficult to say”. All we can see all around us is grey mist. With a great dose of self-denial, I crawl out of the sleeping bag and pack my things as fast as I can. Everything is wet – sleeping bag, shoes even the backpack. The only things that survived are clothes and items in a drybag (waterproof bag). We are packing in the rain. As soon as we are finished, the rain lets up. Every cloud has a silver lining though – we broke a record for earliest departure. Slightly after nine we are already hiking the first mile.
My cravings are incoming! We are stopping on the first possible spot to make a coffee. As I’m taking out the necessary things, I hear Thomas say: „Look, we have a company“. I see 2 pairs of curious eyes looking at us from a small meadow next to our path. 2 horses came to check out strange visitors. They are just as soaked to the bone as we are. After the coffee break, we continue further. Foggy clouds are flowingin the valley underneath our path. Nevertheless, the first sunrays crashing through the black clouds can already be seen in the distance. Maybe it won’t be that bad after all.
At eleven we reach a stream with a camping table next to it. We fill the water supplies and I catch up on the morning hygiene routine that I skipped. It consists of cleaning the face with wet wipes, hair brushing, changing the sleeping shirt for the hiking shirt, putting on the deodorant. Thomas is a bit impatient already. It’s taking me quite long, I admit. We also have a second breakfast (tortilla with cheese and chorizo). Hiker hunger? (= wolf’s hunger once all the stored body fat is burned). Well, it’s probably too early for hiker hunger but we are definitely very hungry.
It’s still cloudy during the lunchtime. Nevertheless, in the afternoon the sun is shining again. We pass by an old stone bridge. There are some blackberries nearby and so we take a little break to fill in some sugars and vitamins. We stop for a break quite often today and so we soon lose the extra time we gained in the morning. There’s no way we will make 20 km today.
The sun is shining, I take out Sir Joseph (sleeping bag) and attach it to my backpack in order to dry it. It looks funny – almost like if I would be carrying a wounded person. I thought the blackberries we have found were the highlight of today and that there will be nothing better. But I was wrong. We bump into half-ruined cottage with an apple orchard. Shouting all around: „Hoooolaaaa!, ?Hay alguién por aquí?“ (Hello, is anyone here?) we search for the traces of human presence. Nobody answers and so we take few apples without permission. I swear to you that these were the best apples in the world! You can’t buy such apples in a supermarket. Yes, we might be a bit hungry and not 100% objective but still…I have never enjoyed an apple so much in my entire life.
Before we know it, we are climbing a big hill again. There’s one camping spot better than the other. We’ve only beaten 15 km today so far, hence it’s still too early for camping, I guess. I wouldn’t mind stopping a bit earlier today but I keep up the pace (and my mouth shut). When Thomas takes off his backpack and sits down on the most beautiful spot of them all, I cheer up. It would be a pity to miss this spot with such an amazing view. For the first time we build our tent today, we dry out our things, cook, play cards. Just chill and enjoy the views. Perfect! Around 8.30 pm we go to sleep. When falling asleep I feel quite cold. Mmm…probably the sleeping bag – is it still wet or what’s wrong? I fall asleep relatively quickly and I sleep uninterruptedly up until the morning.