Sunday, April 19, 2009

Los Alayos del Dílar

We’ve had several very nice trips over the last few months, but they’ve prevented me from taking the last couple of hikes with Llega Como Puedas. Not that I’m objecting…Italy and Greece were quite wonderful…but I do enjoy my mountain hiking. This last weekend’s hike was my first one in Granada, and the first one which took me to a Spanish national park: el Parque Nacional de la Sierra Nevada. This is the real Sierra Nevada, after which the California range was named. You can see the pictures at

Based on the weather during the last week, and the forecast for the weekend, I’d fully expected to be hiking in the pouring rain. However, the weather gods smiled on us. We had beautiful skies with puffy white clouds all day (almost). Right at the end of the hike, we had the proverbial “cuatro gotas” (four drops) of rain, but it never turned into the downpour that was happening back in Córdoba.

It was a long drive to Granada; the bus left at 7:00am from Córdoba and picked up two people along the way, and then of course we had to stop for breakfast. The Spanish do know how to enjoy a hiking expedition. By the time all was said and done, it was 10:30 before we were on the trail.

The Llega Como Puedas hikes always have at least two leaders (ruteros), one of whom usually leads, and the other who usually brings up the rear. Whenever we get to a decision point, we follow the very Spanish custom of a general discussion about the proper route. Sometimes the ruteros disagree, and split up. This can be a bit disconcerting; you have to make a decision about which one to follow. So far, they’ve always connected back up at some point.

Los Alayos del Dílar are in the Sierra Nevada (literally, “snowy mountain range”) just south of Granada. Happily, we didn’t get up into the snow, although we could see the white-covered peaks. In the course of the day, we crossed the shallow Río Dílar twice. Both times, I took off my shoes and waded barefoot, so that I wouldn’t have wet feet all day. It was a steep, rocky hike to el Castillejo, the peak. For me, the descent of these steep slopes is more difficult than the ascent. I made good use of my walking poles, which I suspect saved me from more than one nasty spill. From the top, there was a magnificent view of the Granada area. One of the compañeros told me that we could see the Alhambra, although it was so far away that I couldn’t see it clearly.

The hikes that I’ve done in Spain have involved a lot more cross-country trekking than I’ve done in Oregon or California. It was a lovely day from beginning to end.

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