Friday 8th April Vallada to Casa Benali

Just to be absolutely clear I have no idea what's coming next, I have no more than a vague impression. To be honest the "taking each day as it comes attitude" is even more pronounced when you have someone else walking with you. Because they are slightly more worried about accommodation than you, they end sorting what is actually the only real challenge, finding somewhere to stay. All I have to do is walk and wait for whatever surprise the walk throws up.

As I mentioned yesterday I had formed a vague impression of what this stage of the E4 was going to be like, wide valleys and wide moorland like tops and was OK with it. Having crossed the wide valley in which Vallada sits, with a new motorway and, I guess, a new high speed rail line at the bottom, the route took us into a gorge. The gorge which was gentle at first, soon became the most dramatic I walked along so far on the E4.

I'm still trying to work out what the gorge is a called but we started going through it about 9.15 and it wasn't until 12.30 that we the route climbed us out of it. Because it meandered the views were literally changing every 20 or 30 metres, particularly as sometimes you walked along the very bottom of the gorge and sometimes a little way up along the side.

Borranc de Bocquilla

Borranc de Bocquilla

Great shapes climbing out the gorge

As well as the gorge the other feature of the day was the heat. To be honest, despite the constantly changing views the climb out of the gorge was a bit of a relief, the heat had started to make it feel claustrophobic. Up higher at about 700 metres there was a bit of breeze but no shade at all. We did find a restored refugio to have lunch in but there was still a lot of walking to do.

Worth mentioning, given that I have moaned about road walking, that this is now a distant memory. In Murcia, but particularly in Valencia, the GR7 has been as off-road as you could hope for. In fact today, as I ploughed through endless waist high rosemary bushes, prickly scrub oaks and other unnamed exfoliators I started to think dream of a nice bit of metalled road.

So today's walk was 29 kilometres and involved a climb of 1100 metres. At about 26 kilometres we were at the bottom of the valley, out of water, with another three hundred metres to climb. This was a blow but we still managed to get to the top and find the road and ring for a taxi which we hoped we would be waiting for the call and would respond immediately. Nearly but not quite, he was on another job and would be at least an hour. We sat under a small tree, very thirsty, but with no options. Then heaven sent, a man turns up on a motorbike, a man in a uniform with lots of impressive badges but not a policeman. After a quick diagnosis of our situation he decides to ring the taxi driver to instruct him to get to us faster. He can't get through, no signal on his batphone. Instead this superhero shoots off down the road on his motorbike and comes back with a full bottle of chilled water. Barely giving us time to express thanks he shot off to do someone else a good turn. I'm in love with the Spanish.


Actually the taxi driver was a nice guy as well, wonderful chilled black Mercedes, which told us that, at 5 o'clock the outside temperature was 30 degrees. The taxi driver took us 20 kilometres down the road to Engura, there is nowhere to stay on the trail, and will take us back again tomorrow.

By the way, last night I did the numbers, I have now done 1,000 kilometres, only 4,000 left.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations with the first 1000, John! Well-done. And indeed, do not feel uncertain about not knowing where to sleep next night - some place will come wherever you are! As long as you have taxi phone numbers on you, you will be safe. Hold on, Menno