GR221 Day 2: La Trapa to Estellencs
Miles hiked: 13.5-ish
Total miles: 21-ish
Chips smashed: 0
A heavy gust of wind shook me awake as it had a few times in the night, but this time I got distracted by the glowing horizon before I could fall back to sleep. Alpenglow fuzzed out the ocean/sky transition in a pink haze behind sa Dragonera. Eh, 7:30? I could eat breakfast now. I spooned granola while watching the world brighten.
The wind from yesterday kept at it through the night. I needed to gather some bits of clothing that were scattered about. But it was a warm wind, and its friendly dryness reminded me of happy days on the deserty part of the PCT. Taking a lesson from those days, I got hiking before the sun started to heat things up.
The trail rose gradually on a shady traverse of the terraced basin above La Trapa. When I say terraced, I mean dry stone walls stacking previously cultivated fields, now green with mixtures of scrubby flora. I reached the sun as I exited onto a wide saddle with the first views north, along the Tramuntana range, the spine of Mallorca. It was a pretty humbling sight, knowing that I was planning to walk through and over all those steep mountains. This next week is not going to be easy. Truly rugged landscape with zero transition from sea to summit. Mallorca is built like a castle, with shear cliffs rising from its Mediterranean moat.
An easy cruise on dirt road in a cooling breeze kept me feeling fine as I navigated through a thickening slurry of German day hikers while nearing highway Ma-10. I turned left at the junction for an exciting 2km roadwalk, getting buzzed repeatedly by packs of sport bikes. They made me feel slow and quiet.
I left the road at Ses Fontanelles, a refuge maybe sometimes, to follow the trail back into the hills. Again, when I asked to fill my bottles with tap water, I was told that it would kill me. I actually believed this guy though, so I begrudgingly purchased 4L to see me through the rest of the day and perhaps the night.
The sun was in full force as I began the 2,000ft climb up some mountain I can’t pronounce the name of. I used my umbrella for a time, but caught enough of a breeze higher up to make it unnecessary. The trail was savage, and not really much of a trail at all. Linking cairn to cairn over sharp limestone was careful work and slow going. Big tufts of cárritx hid the markers to great effect, which made route finding an iterative process. It was fun, but damn hard going. I lunched in the shade halfway up to recharge on a PB sandwich and totally perfect, uncrushed chips.
A little bit lost, then a little cliffed out, then a little scrambling put me at the wide top of Mola de s’Esclop among a conga line of marathon competitors. Not a cloud in the sky. Just a warm wind and clear views of what seemed like the entire island. Palma to Port d’Andratx, then the entire route so far. Second lunch on top.
The drop down the other side was straight forward. Single track transitioned to dirt road, then to fully paved. Cárritx to pine to oak. It was steep though, so I felt pretty well pounded by the time I strolled into Estellencs at 6pm. Terraces of citrus orchards extended below the quaint spot, and I imagine very little has changed there in a very long time.
I still had 199 days worth of food on my back, so all I needed in town was water. Nervously I poked around the old church looking for a hose or tap, but had no luck. Fortunately, there was plenty flowing through the old communal washroom trough. I filtered a few liters, then loaded my heavy pack onto aching shoulders to go find camp.
Mercifully, I didn’t need to go far before making home on an old terrace with a great view of the town and the dramatic cliffs above. The golden hour commenced then closed while all I could do was sit in a daze and shove food into my mouth. Totally pooped. Feel a little beat up. The good kind, though. The miles haven’t come easy out here so far. A lot more left.