Granada’s location in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range puts plenty of day hikes a bus ride away.
Monachil, a small village at the end of the line where the bus driver executes a very neat about-face in the tiny plaza, is the gateway to Los Cahorros, a narrow chasm through which a fast flowing river cuts its path. The main road through the town, and to the beginning of the trail, was covered with small pellets.
Cable and timber plank suspension bridges (no more than four persons at a time), sway perilously high above the torrent as you make your way to the serious beginning of the trail. The odd missing plank adds to the sense of adventure. Part of the trail is atop a water pipe which supplies Granada; much of the trail is bordered by massive blackberry bushes which scratch and hook into your clothing; some of it is narrow goat track; and other parts require a firm grip of D-handles fixed into the rock face as one edges along a narrow ledge a few meters above the rocky water course.
The trouble with this sort of hiking is that you get to a point where going back isn’t really an option. You know you’ve done some challenging parts and so trust that you’ve got it in you to overcome the next challenge … even if it is under a rock overhang, along a narrow ledge, on your hands and knees!
Choosing to do a round trip means your return journey is across very steep, dry, hill country covered with gnarled olive trees. By way of contrast, tiny spring wildflowers
provided patches of colour in grassy vales.
An apiarist had placed some twenty beehives in one such vale. He was suitably covered, smoking his hives and gathering honey. The hives were not too close to the rough road, but close enough for a few bees to be buzzing around. One flew into my hair. I wasn’t impressed and neither was the bee. The sound of an agitated bee, caught in your hair, buzzing angrily near your ear is very disconcerting. After seemingly interminable seconds it flew out … then did a u-turn, flew back into my hair and stung me on the top of my head! Well … now I knew where it was! I’d never been stung by a bee and was worried at how severe a reaction I might have to the sting. Although we managed to rapidly remove the barb, I had visions of a huge lump manifesting itself on top of my head. With no antihistamines, the only thing to do was to keep walking back to Monachil, some 3 kms away.
A small taverna by the roadside seemed like a sensible place to stop, check the sting and have una copa y tapas. So there we are, chatting to the barman when we hear the clank of dozens of bells. The next minute a herd of perhaps 60 goats is blaahing past – many of which have to step up the step into the bar for a look, before skittering back to the herd. The barman was quite nonchalant – the goats pass by with their goatherd every day.
Mystery of the unidentified pellets solved.