The walk to Orgiva


Just got back from a fabuloso holiday in the lower Sierra Nevada. Had a super time, saw lots of wildlife: Deers, Ibexs, Iberian Goats, Booted Eagle, Golden Oriole, Blue Rock Thrush and flocks of Bee Eaters. The Bee Eaters were amazing, a sight I will never forgot.

I had a very determined attitude towards the walks on my holiday due to a few health reasons. I will not give in. We went on a few walks that we have done before and some new ones. To get up and down some of the mountains you have to walk up or down a zig zag path, these paths were made by the mountain people so that they could use donkeys to transport materials. These paths can be enjoyable in the shade but in the heat of the day they are hard going.

We decided to take a route towards Orgiva from Mecina. We set out from Ferierolia and began the walk along the bottom of the mountain, we then began the gradual walk up the mountain up the zig zag. The views were stunning you could see all the seven villages of the ‘La Taha’, the snow at the top of the Sierra Nevada and then right down the mountain towards Orgiva.

We made good time and reached the top of the mountain in about two and a half hours. We got to the top and there was a sign post which stated that Orgiva was 2 hours 20 minutes. My immediate reaction was ‘yes, I can do this and we must conquer the walk to Orgiva’. Therefore we set on our way. The Husband said I strolled off like a crazy lady and he struggled to keep up. I knew it was hitting midday shortly, we needed to get down the mountain. This was our first mistake of the day, this particular mountain went on and on and on winding down slowly not so much of a zig zag more like half way across the mountain and back again! There was absolutely no shade, we carried on. The Husband suggested we went back after an hour of walking down, but we should have been nearly half way by then so we carried on. We finally go to the bottom of the mountain, the path markers seemed to disappear here, we were exhausted and sat in the shade, had a snack and a little water. We were running low on water.

Whilst we sat a hiker walked by, so we decided to follow his direction, this was our second mistake. We followed where he went and continued to climb upwards, I thought I saw a sign so we hiked an hour up this mountain. We were both struggling, I had four knees at this stage. We carried on only to discover that the sign was an old telegraph pole, so we had no alternative but to head back down the way we had come. This was dangerous, we had hardly any water left and were both knackered. We made it to the bottom with many sweats and tears from me. We waded across a river and set to along a road…..we finally reached a sign post which read ‘ORGIVA 2 HRS 20 MINS’, how can this be ? (turns out the sign posts were wrong!). So, off we went along a very long winding road, we took a risk and filled our water bottles up from a trickle that was running off the mountain into the river. This road went on for ever and ever, we finally approached a road with houses either side, yippeeee we thought. What fools, we still had four kms to go, there were houses all along this route but no water fountains, there were also orange and lemon trees just out of reach. We finally arrived Orgiva and made our way to a bar, we had a coke and a beer, followed by another beer. We had missed the last bus and had to go to the Police Station. The Police Officer had to call four people before he could get a taxi to take us back! It cost us 40 euros but we gave him 50 – it was the best 50 euros we ever spent!

On the drive back up the mountain the taxi driver suddenly came to a halt, an Iberian Goat ran in front of the taxi and perched on all four hooves on the barrier at the side of the road, as the taxi driver said it was ‘magnifico’, three more joined him and the rest stayed the other side of the road. It brings a whole new meaning to a ‘site for sore eyes’….we were both done for but this was breathtakingly amazing.

The taxi dropped us off and we headed straight to the piano bar, we ate pizza and chips, drank a lot and slept like babies !

We were lucky, we beat the mountain and saw some fantastic sights but my god it was hard going!

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