In early spring Spain’s peach trees burst with colour and a sea of pink blossoms fill the verdant valleys. We were lucky to accidentally time our trip to see them in Murcia region and now we have another chance in Catalonia. We headed to the village of Aitona as I’d seen photos online of endless pink trees fading into the distance. It didn’t look quite the same in person, I think we were a few days too late for this spot and we watched from a hill as farmers were picking flowers off the trees to prevent them from overproducing fruit. The sea of pink was now mostly green but maybe we were just in the wrong area as the tours only finished the day before our visit so I’d of expected the blossoms to still be abundant.
We decided to drive to the field that had the brightest pink blossoms and we had fun taking photos there. Quite a few petals had already dropped on the floor so it definitely felt like the end of the season. As we drove down the main road though we found another field with the plumpest blossoms we’ve ever seen. Each branch was absolutely covered in candy pink blossoms and there was barely a single petal on the floor so this field was at it’s absolute prime.
After a couple of hours in the area we hit the road and headed even further north. We can’t quite believe how far north we are now, our plan was to spend longer in southern Spain but the weathers been appalling and we already feel like we’re being rewarded for our decision to come north as we haven’t had a drop of rain today. Hooray! We ended up camping in lovely, quiet area on a piece of land between two canals which was rather unique. The road we were near led up to a dam so we took a stroll to see the steep walls and clear blue water.
After about 10 days of awful rain and cloud we finally felt the warm sunshine on our faces. We didn’t want to waste a second of it so we woke early as we had a 70km drive to reach a trailhead. The route was called Congost de Montrebei and it was approximately 20km long. We parked along the road as the carpark was only open during the weekends, which was lucky for us as it meant we saved €8. I expected to struggle to get a place on the road but during the week we were the only people there, in summer it’s so busy people have to pre-book a parking space!
It felt so good to be out in nature again and this area felt particularly wild. The hike started with a vast view across the valley with a meandering river which is supposedly home to otters. After about 30 minutes of hiking we arrived at the entrance to the canyon. The water below us was a milky green colour and the canyon walls rose skyward. We couldn’t quite believe how tall the walls were, Craig declared it to be Spain’s version of Yosemite. The walls headed vertically up 500m and at times the canyon was just 20 meters wide.
The path was carved into the rock face but they had just enough space on the bends for benches to stop and soak in the view. We descended down the trail and crossed a bridge before having to go all the way back up again. Now the fun part was about to start though; our route was leading us along wooden platforms that zig-zagged down the cliff face. There were gaps between the wooden planks so we could see right down to the floor maybe 100m below us.
Craig’s vertigo kicked in almost immediately but I was fine luckily. It was pretty sketchy though, the metal wire to hold onto was quite saggy and there were lots of awkward steps over the abyss. To make matters worse the steps were tiny so we had to concentrate on taking each one carefully. It was a really fun path but it seemed totally unnecessary, there must’ve been a simpler route around this cliff face so we felt like a worker was given free reign to create a path however they liked and the maker of this one got rather carried away.
The weather clouded over a little but the views were still jaw dropping and we soon arrived at the second vertigo inducing part of the route with a wooden trail clinging onto the edge of a cliff face. It was very similar to the crazy trails we did in China, but the drop was less and in China the path was covered in ice with gaps in the fence big enough to slip through and die. We found the route much more enjoyable than the similar hike we did in southern Spain called Caminito del Rey. It was such a contrast as we had to pay to do that hike and it’s fully booked weeks in advance. Whereas this hike was totally free to do and also free of people, we saw about 10 all day so we didn’t have the annoying feeling that we had to rush to get a photo before people stepped into the shot.
We continued down from the second cliff-edge and made our way to a Refugio at Montfalcó where a short track led us to the little stone church of Ermita de Santa Quintero’s. It was set on a rocky ridge high above the lake which now looked a fabulous blue colour. The setting was really impressive with the wild landscape and this really rustic church with a slate tiled roof. We had lunch on the ridge and then started the long journey back. The sun came back out which meant the lake popped with the most intense blue colour.
We headed up the cliff trail and had to wait a moment as two trail maintenance staff were fixing something. They let us pass and said to be careful as a plank of wood was missing. As we climbed up the vertigo inducing trail we heard the sound of them drilling and sawing behind us, a little disconcerting on such a precarious path! The hike took about 6 hours so we were exhausted when we got back to Helga but we were so happy to finally have good weather and beautiful views again.