I thought we were in fairly good shape arriving here but – We are in PAIN! Our room is one flight of stairs up from the lobby and we are determined to not use the elevator, but the moaning and groaning going on as we go up and down the stairs must make the other guests wonder if the hotel is haunted! Mike is giving me a lot of dirty looks these days.
Our morning session was yoga again. I actually liked it a bit better than the first time, so there’s that.
Today’s activity was hiking. Our destination was El Torcal. El Torcal is a National Park Reserve. It is a small mountain range that lies between Malaga on the coast and Antequera. Something like 150 million years ago, there was a small inland sea there. Maybe 60-ish million years ago the seabed was uplifted by geological processes and is now this small mountain. It is limestone, which is rare in the area, and over the years a lot of erosion and freeze/thaw action has created a fairlyland of interesting rock formations. The park is about 6.6 square miles.
I was able to take a lot of pictures because we were walking so slowly. There’s no other way to get through there!
We had an assistant guide today – Lily. I met her on my last visit here and was delighted to see her again. She was so much fun to have along.
There are some marked hiking trails in the park, but they have done very little to smooth the way as you will see in the pictures. There are no safety fences or strictly forbidden areas that I’m aware of. Here is the first of many pictures I took of the “marked path”:
As I’ve said -David is not one to follow the marked trails, but today for some reason he decided that we’d stick with the trail.
Everywhere you look there is something interesting. There are formations that David and others have names for.
I’ve been here a few times and have rarely glimpsed the mountain goats (Spanish Ibex) that are here. For this hike, they were popping up left and right! This area is also used (or was at some point) by cattle farmers because in past visits, I’ve seen cows in the most astonishing places in the maze that is Torcal.
This one stayed pretty still as we walked quite nearby to it.
We moved on:
That yellow arrow is saying: “Yes…UP THERE!” David leads the way.
The whole region has been very dry this summer. From what David says, in September there’s an annual pattern for rain to fall and they are all looking forward to the first rain. I’ve been taking pictures of dried flowers/plants along the way. In Torcal I found something green!
This mountain goat was showing off! There were actually quite a few of them under the trees but the shade was hiding them from the camera.
At first glance, you’re thinking…”Oh more rocks!”… but David spotted several mountain goats over there.
A bit of zooming doesn’t show them too well.
More zooming helped!
Something dead, but will still poke you!
The arrow is saying: “Yes, turn sideways and go in there!” (It was wider than it looks)
I’d asked David to see the ammonite fossil impressions (old sea shells). They are up on the very top of the mountain -at least in the area we were in. We got to a place where there was no path and David said…We go up through here. A few steps up presented the first challenging part of the climb up -a narrow rock that had to be carefully negotiated. At this point, Mike said… I’ve enjoyed seeing the mountain goats, I do not want to try to be one! He had already seen the ammonite fossils on a different trip, so decided to wait for us by the visitor’s center.
As we got higher, I saw him walking below and took a picture of him. He, in turn, took a picture of us. We weren’t to the highest point yet.
If you’re not feeling sure footed, or nervous about heights – I wouldn’t recommend going the way we went! Mike turned around seeing the first “dicey” spot to navigate. There was a worse one up higher.
Me (and Lily) at the edge of extinction! It is hard to see in this picture, but there’s a bit of a cliff a couple of feet behind me.
My view over the edge:
Second one. These are about the size of a dinner plate.
What goes up, must come down. David continued on a trail-ish that circled back around to the parking lot.
David should just paint a yellow arrow on his back -we go where he goes! This is probably one of the only spots where he made a point of making sure I got through it OK. It was slightly challenging!
This is the only named formation that I got a good picture of. Do I need to tell you its an elephant?
While David and I were off being dare-devils, Mike took some nice photos:
All too soon, our visit to El Torcal was over. When we went to get into the van, we noticed four women lacing up roller skates and we wondered – where on Earth do they think they’re going to skate up here? The answer remains a mystery, but the way down is ALL downhill and no guardrails. I have been known to rollerblade…it is hard to control your speed on a small hill, let alone a mountain! Oh the folly of youth (tsk-tsks an old bat who had plenty of folly in her youth!)
Off we went back to the hotel to prepare for lunch and then our afternoon in the gym. In the gym, Ramon, who we actually liked the first time we met him, had planned a diabolical exercise routine that had us begging for mercy. (OK, I exaggerate, but it was challenging).
Categories: Antequera Spain 2021 Part 3