Another perfect morning and I took my time, re-lighting the fire to defrost both me and my socks. Ate my porridge and set off at 10.30 through more of the same as yesterday: up hills through the pines and down dry river valleys (probably good kayaking to be had here when it finally rains enough).
By late afternoon I reached a highway and the excellent Meson los Prados where I had my first good meal for a few days. This put me in much better humour for more tracks through the pines until I reached the El Canuelo permitted camping area. There were some rather unattractive stone cabins that were definitely less comfortable-looking than my tent but I did find a folding chair which I used to watch the night sky. Zero light pollution meant I could spot all those satellites floating about up there. Will it be like the Pacific soon, with massive clumps of space junk orbiting the earth?
Dismissing this depressing idea, I enjoyed listening to the wind in the trees and noted that, for the first time for weeks, the barking dog chorus was having a night off.
I got up and took advantage of my comfy chair for a while until the sun reached the valley. I was feeling much better for a good meal and subsequent sound night’s sleep.
Pines, pines and more pines but at least it was mostly downhill, though I had a detour through an adjoining valley as I missed the route. The sun was strong today and it reached around 25 deg as I took a gravel track down another dry river valley. This would be impossibly hot in the summer, I realised. I definitely chose a good time of year, although the winter has been abnormally warm and dry, even for southern Spain. Good for me, that is – but there is a desperate need for more rain here.
While I was taking a break and rummaging through my pack, a Spanish gentleman stopped to ask if I was ok, which was kind – and maybe a sign of how battered I was looking. Eventually I reached the top of a massive wide-bottomed gorge with views to the caves on the other side. The path snaked down the steep gorge side to the town of Albunuelas below.
I had been planning to catch the afternoon bus to Granada from here but today is Andalucia Day – a public holiday – so no bus. Instead I waited at a bar (surprise!) for an expensive taxi ride instead. I had time to have a leisurely meal in Granada before catching the train back to Jimera. I arrived at around 11.30pm to a rapturous reception from all three dogs.
No tent to put up – luxury!