Lessons learned and trip summary:
- Prepare yourself for a long ascent to Peña Partida
- Get ready for the snow in October Sierra Nevada.
- 2 refugios (emergency shelters) on this stage
- Wild boars are shiest
I was woken up by strange animal sounds. Weird screeching. Different from the one we heard during the night. But I can’t link it to an animal in this case either. Anyway, it’s quite lively in here. Morning coffee, raising sun, orange skies, freezing in my sleeping bag with all clothes on…just a typical morning routine. The night was cold and so is the morning. Luckily, we are not shaded from the sun today, like we were yesterday and so it reaches us quickly. When packing my things, I suddenly look at the nearby meadow and I petrify. There are 3 big wild boars. They notice me as well and for a moment we are just staring at each other motionlessly. “Look“, I whisper to Thomas. The moment they hear the sound, they’re gone in a second.
We depart really soon today – around 9:00 (yes, that is soon for us). The sun shines bright. It seems like another warm sky-blue sunny day is ahead of us. I decked out today…That means I covered the pimples with make-up and put some mascara on. Since I’m carrying these two unnecessaries the whole time, I better use them at least once. We start ascending right away. Soon we encounter the first traces of snow. With the raising altitude, the snow becomes more and more abundant. Maybe the German brothers told the truth after all. What seemed unbelievable yesterday, is today’s reality. The guys must have had harder times than we do though. They had to smooth the path that we are now following and they had a bad weather while now the sky is perfect clear blue.
The ascend is never-ending. I’m sweating profusely and my fancy look is ruined. The terrain is getting worse – it’s either the soaked green-swards or slippery slush. My ankles suffer. We constantly lose the trail and struggle through snow-covered dwarf-pines somewhere in the slope off the trail. I try to concentrate on each step but every second one is wrong…I either flounder in the soft snow or my foot slips on the wet dwarf-pine. It’s painful and exhausting. My energy level is low and since we run out of chocolate, I don’t even have anything to boost it with. Tragic…The views are fantastic though. I feel almost like in Alps or Himalayas even. Hard to believe we are in Spain.
Bam! Before I know it, I’m lying on the ground with throbing pain in my left ankle. Awesome, Kristýna! You sprained your ankle for the third fuc**** time in few days. Congratulations. I can’t believe this. I simply can’t. I burst into hysterical-desperate-angry tears lasting for the good 10 minutes. I feel right on my trekking pole but luckily it didn’t break. After a while I get up again and hobble forward. When I finally catch up with Thomas, we just sit quietly for a while. Later we make lunch, I take two “vitamins I” (Ibuprofens) and ice the injured ankle with snow. I have to continue, there’s no other choice. Luckily, these breath-taking views are taking my mind off the pain.
We arrive at the cosiest shelter so far at the Peña Partida peak (2450 m.a.s.l.). Our 12th stage of the trail ends here. We do have a company – middle-aged cyclist who somehow made it up here on his bike. Crazy. We take some pictures for him, then we take few of us and one more of a posing wild kid-goat. This place is nice but it’s way too soon for accommodation. We still have few kilometres to hike. Apparently, we will gradually lose the elevation we have gained today. The total descend on the next stage is 1200 m.
Even though the afternoon stretch is beautiful too, I’m not exactly enjoying myself. I have to think twice before I take a step and that’s really exhausting. The trail turns into a narrow path with a steep hill and big creek down below. We encounter interesting timid grey-black cows. But neither this encounter nor the views have the power to improve my mood anymore. The last 5 km I literally count each meter, walking wearily and lethargically…On 18th km we come across another shelter. The choice of spot for tonight is clear. Refugio looks promising from the outside. However, it’s not that great from the inside – it’s quite fumy and there are many flies all over the place. The walls are decorated by many (more or less artistic) signs and doodles….Some of them literally scream: “I was created under the influence“. Above all we are amused by a piece named “God was a mushroom”. This place gives me the creeps, I won’t lie. But there’s no way I’m walking any further today, so it will have to do.