Mountain paths. Very nice. Neil sat on his eTrex Vista and broke the glass.
At 7am we got a taxi to the end of the asphalt road north of Finistrat. From there we climbed from 500 to 920 metres. After the coll the path drops steeply to Polop. Neil slipped and landed on his backside. In the process he pulled his knee and now has a temporary limp and reduced speed. He also cracked his GPS receiver glass by sitting on it. That could have been much worse: a comedy injury! The weather clouded over and became cool but we had fleeces and cagoules. Although it looked like rain, the cagoules were not needed. This was an excellent route for plants. We saw some we had not seen before and we saw Cytinus which is rare.
In Polop we waited for the bus to Benidorm. We got out at the main bus station and walked 800 metres to the railway station. This transport was decidedly NOT integrated. To get from one station to the other, we initially headed in the wrong direction. We crossed the railway legally using an underpass. Then we went across industrial badlands, crossing the railway illegally to get into a ravine, then under the railway and across the barranco. To get out of the ravine, another illegal railway crossing was needed. Then it was plain sailing on a road to Benidorm Disco station. How did we know the way? We followed a very well trodden path. The town planners should get their act together on this one. Benidorm Disco station should be moved 800 metres so it is right beside the bus station. The illegal path should be upgraded and signed.
The very first really exciting walk I did after breaking my hip was this walk. It is breathtaking. Neil enjoyed it as well so he wanted to log it to put it on wikiloc. We couldn't find Pedro but booked another taxi for 7am. This should mean reaching the end of the asphalt above the Fonts del Moli at sunrise. The ride was longer than I remembered it and it was just about light when we arrived 27.50 euros for the taxi. Neil had difficulty reading his GPS in the dawn light and said that's how he likes it.
We carried on up the track which had been improved in places but was not yet asphalted. The views of Puig Campana and the stegosaurus are stunning. It is cool and we do an audit of the plants we see at each altitude. There are regular spraints on stones along the way probably put there by foxes. We don't see anyone at all. On the lower slopes of Puig Campana there are terraces with almond trees on them. It is just that bit cooler up here and they do better than the citrus trees which predominate lower down. After about 30 minutes, there is a barrier blocking vehicular access.
Our walk starts at about 400m and climbs steadily to about 900m - just what you can do safely in a day in the Himalayas. At about 500m we saw purple orobanche. We also see cytisis hypocistus. It is very easy to spot as the ground is relatively clear of undergrowth. Is this because it prefers this kind of habitat or is it because you can't easily spot it when it is covered with other vegetation. There are also no pines nearby. Neil has taken numerous photos and made a way mark so he an ask his man. I would like to read any papers he done on orobanches, cistanches and cytisus as we often see them and it would be nice to know more about them. We also see a bluish mallow.
On our left and much nearer now we can see the two white globular antennae. We pass an arbutus unedo. After 15 minutes we pass the end of the stegosaurus. We should later go along his length on the other side. After 20 minutes we see a right turn to Puig Campana. This track would join our current walk onto our earlier one and the Puig Circuit walk. We continue on our track and go round a deep tureen. Other plants seen astralagus, teucrium,pink cistus,rock roses white, yellow large,yellow small and pink, we see rosemary several genistas quercus ilex globularia black euphorbia eryngium (leaves only) summer squill (leaves only large asphodel (leaves only). We saw mathiola plain and sinuata which a special Costa Blanca type. The effects of rainfall earlier in the year ca be seen. There is a landslide and a huge branch has broken off a massive pine tree.
One hour out we see a new building not yet quite finished ahead. Our way marks tell us to take a right turn here. We do this but soon realise that we are not now replicating the Polop walk we did some10 years ago. We think if we had gone straight ahead at the house, we should have gone past the stegosaurus and down the stony track which was ganz steinig and not at all a normaler Wanderweg. Our track passes round the other side of the pummock and we don't see the stegosaurus. The track here is much narrower and steeper than we recall. The signpost which we saw last tine has been removed to make way for the house. The walk is in many ways just as nice as the other one and has the added bonus of providing us with yet another way down from Finestrat. Euphorbia yellow big and small helianthemums orobanche pinkish brown.
By 9.15 we have climbed to 850m. Doing ascents in the early morning is a breeze as it is cool and the hillsides are in shade. At 9.30 our track splits again and we go right. It is very clearly marked with a yellow and white stripe all the way. Purple prickly bunny flower. The track continues. It is narrow and sometimes steep but never too difficult. At 10.15, Neil does an involuntary glarseade and cracks the glass of his GPS by sitting on it. Luckily none of it goes up him and he is OK. As he is sitting down already and we have almost done two hours we decide to have a break. Neil tells me how earlier he had lock jaw. Is this RSI of the jaw - a teacher's disease?
Verbascum blue rush flower feathery mountain yellow cabbage, blackberry tree huge pink pea valerian (eaten by something) ibex? feral goats? bunny flowers borage. Amendoas olives figs on abandoned terraces. white cabbage purple pea red pea white astralagus non spicata pink scabious purple soft thistle
920m white allium pink allium 12.05 we get to a blue house white convovulus cneorum type reseda 12.30 we get to a small embalse. It has taken us four hours. We see where our old track joins back on with what we have done today. The ascent on the previous walk was on wider tracks and we passed the meditation place with indifferent drains. The early descent was much steeper. Today's walk had a steeper ascent but a less severe descent. I was sorry not to see the backside of the stegosaurus or to pass round the base of a vertical cliff face. We are unlikely to do it now because Neil has kneemoania after his glarseade and next time we shall be too far north to do it sensibly. I see a ferula on the right down the slope. bituminosa cuscuta red. The steep way down has been roughly concreted and there are miradors and picnic places from time to time. This makes it hard work as your feet are always at the same angle.
At 13.00 we see some rock climbers. The face has been marked out with suitable routes which is useful for beginners. I have never done rock climbing. Neil says he couldn't do it because he couldn't even climb a rope at school. Climbing ropes was about the only thing I could do but it never occurred to me that this was a useful starting point for rock climbing. I thought you might need to pull your weight up with your arms which I couldn't do so neither of us has tried it.
Beyond this is a zizz man emptying his bee hives. Neil swiftly puts on his hat. I suggest a break on the terraces and he says yes but the last one. He isn't keen on zizz even though I am a dab hand at extracting stings. We have done 10.8 km and have now descended to 350m. We see our first cape sorrel. We also see an abandoned avocado orchard but the trees are in flower and there is no fruit.
At 14.00 we cross the fierce road and pick up another quiet lane into town. Our entry is much nicer than last time avoiding the busy road. We need to weave our way through a building site but end up nicely at the bus stop. We wait about 50 minutes for a bus which takes us to Benidorm bus station. A retrarsed Valencia bus comes in but we don't have tickets and any way we might not be allowed on for just one stop. Neil's kneemoania has seized up so I go and looking the number 10 to Altea drops outside up the e hill. It doesn't so we walk along parallel with the railway line negotiating a barranc by crossing the track and clambouring down to the bottom.
We arrive at Benidiom Disco station with two minutes to spare for the 16.10 train. We get home early. The walk was 13.2 km and probably similar in length to our other Polop walk for which you get a wallop but not was not the Polop walk. Last time we got a bus down to Torre Dorada as this one comes through the town and on to Villa Joyosa bus. My mustang on the first Polop walk had a thin sweater and emergency poncho but no doubt a story book, Spanish dictionary possible a Catalan one as well so the load was different. We will add ibuleve to our lists as I could have done with it in Calabardina and Neil could do with it now.