Puig (Mount) Galazo, located on the west coast, is a challenging climb. The country lane leading to the beginning of the track is a challenge in itself!
You turn off a small country road onto a narrow lane which initially traverses olive groves before entering forest and hugging steep slopes, bringing you to the car park at the foot of the climb. The lane has had little maintenance, is steep, and the further we travelled along it, the worse it became. Loose stones, crumbled edges and potholes increased in frequency the further we drove – finally to be confronted by a massive, impassable washout in the middle of a really steep section just before the car park. There was absolutely no way forward and no space to turn around at that point.
Some 50 metres back down the lane there was a small section of solid level land that we hoped would afford us the opportunity to turn the car around – otherwise it would mean reversing an awfully long way. A hazard in itself. So – just how close to the edge of a drop do you risk going, when you hear the tyres scrabbling on loose stones trying to get purchase? Close enough! Breathe! Wait for pulses to return to normal!
The lower section of the climb wove steeply up through light forest which eventually opened out into low scrub. The higher we went, the more rocky the terrain, with the narrow dirt trails giving frequently way to paths of loose shattered stone and occasional rock clambers. If you don’t put your feet in the right place as you ascend you can get yourself stuck. We ascended one ridge line to enjoy a spectacular view of … fog. The entire island was shrouded in the stuff. The only visible sights were the ragged peaks of other mountains. So we continued upwards anticipating that, as the day wore on, the fog would dissipate.
The trail continued to meander along the mountainside – rocks and shrubs on one side, precipitous drop on the other (why did I think doing this was a good idea I ask myself) for several hundred metres until we came to the rock slide. I’d been warned about this section but, until you see a 200 metre wide rock slide and know that you have no alternative but to cross it, you can’t really appreciate what you have to face.
The first thing you have to tell yourself is that the rock slide stopped moving a very long time ago. Just because it looks like its going to start moving down the hill again is irrational … until you step onto a large boulder, it wobbles and your heart leaps! Or your foot slips between rocks, throwing you off balance and making smaller rocks settle further down (back to heart leaping again).
Considerate hikers have placed small piles of stones on top of stationary boulders, marking out a crossing of sorts. So you leap and scrabble and wobble and keep moving and don’t think about the fact that you’re going to have to do it all again to return!