GR221 Day 1: Port d’Andratx to La Trapa
Miles hiked: 7.5-ish
Total miles: 7.5-ish
Busses taken: 2-ish
It’s good to be back on the trail. A new country, a new island surrounded by a new sea, and a crazy local language, but everything makes sense again. Back on the trail. Back at home.
A great day starts with at least a descent night’s sleep, and I got that in the Palma airport where there is a huge open air terrace that includes trees and fake grass. It was deserted when I set up to cowboy camp at just past midnight, cool evening air and stars overhead. Seven hours of quality shut-eye later, I crushed a breakfast burrito then hopped on the overcrowded bus to Palma de Mallorca.
Even after embarrassing myself repeatedly with attempts to speak the local language, I transferred to bus 102, cramming in the back with my overloaded pack. There were some tense moments when the whole bus of locals got in a heated argument, but again, any understanding eluded my comprehension. 1.5 hours to my stop at Port d’Andratx.
Mallorca is freaking beautiful. It just is. Colorful limestone cliffs covered in pine forest shoot from the tranquil Mediterranean, a vast tye-dye of all of the blues. Boat masts, fertilized with mucho dinero, sprout from the marina just as the plate glass windows of luxury homes cover the surrounding slopes. Perfect weather. Idyllic. I changed into my grody hiking garb, ate the peanut butter sandwich I made three days ago, and got hiking.
The walking was easy around the harbor on a wide promenade with one busker playing to himself. A steep climb followed, easily getting me to sweat off the sunscreen I had just applied. Mountain bikers busted down while I wandered up. At the top I was treated to the best breeze and alright views. A lot of blue water, a lot of pine trees.
An easy cruise on a gradually descending traverse earned me another tough climb, but I was happy to grind it out. It felt darn good to be on trail again, seeing the sights, smelling the smells. It’s the smells I miss most when I’m not hiking. They are the hardest to remember. The warm dirt and pine were instantly familiar, bringing back a flood of memories and smiles.
At the top, a short side trail took me to the summit of Pintal Vermell, the high point in a long cliff of yellow limestone. Stunning views up there. Water so clear and blue, it didn’t quite exist. Sa Dragonera, a sharp island that would feature in many views to come, revealed itself with a tastefully restrained cap of cloud atop its pointed crest.
A rugged downhill section through the trees got me to the beach in Sant Elm. The water looked inviting, but without a functioning fresh water shower I knew better to risk the future chafe by getting all salty. Next time. Sant Elm was nice. Too nice for my tastes, but people were having a good time. I struggled to find a place to refill my bottles, but eventually got the job done even after being warned that the tap water wasn’t safe to drink. Is that even possible in an EU state? I’ll find out soon enough, I guess.
I cut inland at the end of town to see how far my weak and pasty winter legs could take me. Moving was easy enough through a flattish forest section on a dirt road, but then the sweating started again when I hit the final climb. Well worn and slippery, the trail climbed relentlessly up to meet a soaring cliff. It dodged left around a bulge to miss it, but there were still some sections requiring hand maneuvers. Views at the top were excellent, sa Dragonera in a big way, and a steady wind soon dried my sweaty shirt.
The historical ruin of La Trapa proved to be too beautiful a spot to pass up. Terraced fields, shady trees, and endless views killed what was left of my wavering desire to hike further. 6pm, hungry, unbeatable campsite. You just don’t argue with that combination.
An epic dinner accompanied an epic sunset with views all the way to Ibiza. Curry couscous and BBQ pulled jackfruit finished off with Oreos and chocolate peanut butter. Mmmm mmmm. I need to eat a lot because I packed about 200 days worth of food. After all the hiking I’ve done, I have come to accept the inevitability that I will always start a trip with too much food. At least it’s stuff stuff I like.
Nothing left in the day but the moon, my gurgling belly, and the music of wind in the pines. And a lot of Germans. I’m surrounded by Germans.
Can’t wait to do it all over again tomorrow. Good to be back.