GR221 Day 4

GR221 Day 4: I’m Going To Regret This Camp to Canyon Terrace Camp

Miles hiked: 15.75-ish
Total miles: 55.5-ish
Regrets: 0

I slept fitfully, worried about getting an early enough start, worried about the rain party getting started before I was ready. My watch decided to self destruct the night before so I could only guess the time based on the brightness of the sky. Sure, I could have used my phone, but I’m above that sort of thing. Dense clouds made it difficult to judge dawn, but eventually there was no denying it. I had made it through the night without getting rained on! The risky cowboy camp worked this time. When I did turn on my phone, it was 6:50am, which meant the rain was here. I had no time.

I chewed a handful of dry granola as I jammed things into my bag. A few drops started falling as I folded my groundsheet. Whew, just made it. Clouds blew across the barren saddle as I started the exposed traverse of a wide ridge of peaks. My path was a well-made, if degraded, cobble path supposedly commissioned by an archduke back in the day for carriage use. Peculiar. While it is probably an awesome place to be in good weather, I wanted nothing to do with it besides using it swiftly and safely to get me to the other side of the mountain.

Carriageway to the clouds.

Rain came in hard showers, intermixed with harder showers of hail. Occasionally I caught a glimpse down to the coast, but I also occasionally spotted a flash or heard a rumble. Now I really wanted to get out of there. Nothing motivates me to move quicker than lightning when I’m up high, the tallest thing around, with metal sticks in my hands. Alas, nothing motivates me to stop faster than an urgent need to poop. Sooo, not the best timing, but it all worked out.

I tagged the summit of es Caragolí before turning off the carriageway onto a normal trail for humans that would hopefully guide me safely down a break in a cliff to more protected terrain below. I slid down some mucky switchbacks next to a big drop that I’m sure would look impressive when not filled with cloud. The rain somehow intensified, overpowering the blocking ability of stunted oak. Probably a bit later than I should have, I went into full turtle mode, pack cover, umbrella, and rain jacket. Unfortunately, there was nobody around to tell me how cool I looked, but I knew.

Sliding down some switchbacks on a convenient cut in the cliff.

Down, down, down through oak forest, then olive terraces overgrown with cárritx. The carwash was in full effect and the trail covered in inches of water. I was soaked. It sucked big time. When I planned for this trip, I expected that it might rain, but I did not anticipate the cold. So cold. It’s a game changer. All I could think about was getting a roof over my head so I could throw on some layers and stop moving for a minute.

I got my roof on the outskirts of Deià, under the entrance arch of the temporarily closed es Molí hotel. I slammed some calories, threw on some layers, and did a little jig to warm up. The rain died down after a while so I got going again, hopeful that the worst was behind me.

All praise es Molí! A good stoop.

The actual village of Deià came and went before the trail followed a similar routine to parts of yesterday, traversing through bulges of olive terraces above the sea. The weather was improving and with it my mood, though occasional showers did blow through and I wouldn’t have called it warm. When wet, the Drystone route transforms into the Slipstone route, so even the gentle track required much concentration.

Slipstone at its slipperiest.

I became happy again as I neared Port de Sóller. It was almost partly cloudy and warming up. A view was all I’d get of the harbor before turning inland once more to Sóller, but it looked like a nice place. The island high point, Puig Major, had a dusting of snow that I thought leant some credibility to my miserable morning.

Pounding pavement into town had me feeling pretty beat. I didn’t think much of Sóller at first, bigger a busier than the more charming villages, but the center was beautiful and the grocery store well stocked, though it took some extra walking to find it. Still, I didn’t stay any longer than I had to, feeling out of place and unwanted, as smelly as I was.

The sun finally makes an impact on the wander around the valley.

It was warm and sunny-ish as I walked more roads around the valley, passing through Binibassí and Biniaraix. Big groups of day hikers strolled by in the opposite direction, shutters clicking, boots thumping. I really needed a break to dry out my feet, so I found a patch of sun down an alley and let things air out for a bit. The first real break in a while and much too short. My pruny soles did smooth out a bit, though.

I switched socks before the final launch of the day into Barranc de Biniaraix, a soaring gash of red and white limestone cutting into the valley walls. It looked a lot like parts of Zion National Park. A well built stone path brought me way up, deeper into the gorge. Endless olive terraces rose steeply above. Never before have I witnessed such completeness of human touch. Cliffs had been turned into flat ground through immense effort. Hard to imagine it was worth it, but what do I know. I pitched camp on one of these terraces, optimistically cowboying. There is a cold wind, but only a chance of showers so I might get away with it. I’ve gotten away with worse!

Beautiful stonework, but so much effort. In the barranc.

Despite some good moments, it was kind of a garbage day in the end. I hate to say that because being out here is a privilege, but some days are just crappy. Still, it was productive and I am that much closer to good weather. And, finding pleasure in smaller things, my delicious dinner of marinara and baguette totally rules. The day is done. Things are improving.

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