Friday, June 03, 2011

Hiking in the Sierra de Guaderrama: Manzanares el Real -> Mataelpino

A bit earlier start than the day before since there seems to have been sufficient push for an earlier breakfast time that the hotel opened early. We start out along the same path we've been taking into town with a plan of maybe heading up to La Maliciosa, but definitely heading in that direction. After crossing the river, we follow the path until it hits the parking lot at Canto Cochino and then pick up another trail that leads us up the other side of the valley (we shouldn't have needed to go this far, but the bit of trail connecting the two that is on the map doesn't seem to exist). Up we head on a nice broad path to a saddle and parking lot (Collado de Quebrantaherraduras) where we cross the road and then head up more steeply on a shaded path through the woods. The weather is good, with occasional clouds blocking the sun (no problem when climbing!) but there are some low clouds stuck on the ridge from two days ago. This bodes poorly for La Maliciosa.

After climbing a few hundred more meters along the really nice path we hid the saddle at Collado Porron and have a break enjoying the view out. We decide that rather than doing the last couple hundred meters up to la Maliciosa Baja only to discover that the main peak is cloud bound, it makes more sense to go ahead and head down to Mataelpino and enjoy a lazy afternoon. So down we head, quite steeply through ever increasing vegetation, until we are surrounded by blooming lavender and Cistus flowers (Zistrosen)... crazy! At a beautiful green meadow we stop and enjoy lunch with a view (after changing places once due to an ant invasion).
Once in town we try something new and use the map+gps software on greg's phone to lead us most directly to the hotel/spa. This works pretty well except for a screwup with particular house numbers on the street (a couple hundred unexpected meters of walking along the road ensue).

Postscript: by the time we're more than halfway down we can see that La Maliciosa is, in fact, not cloud bound... ah well, you win some you lose some. It is a nice lazy afternoon at the spa though. ;-)

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