GR221 Day 6

GR221 Day 6: Font des Prat to Coll de Pedregaret

Miles hiked: 9-ish
Total miles: 74.5-ish
Open grocery stores: 0
Accurate Mark Twain quotations: 0

Mark Twain once wrote that the coldest winter he ever experienced was springtime in Mallorca. Or something like that…

Tucked away in the oak wood near Font des Prat, the night was quite pleasant in the end. When morning came, I thought it was fitting that I didn’t need any shelter on the one night I set up my tarp. That’s just the way it goes, but I wasn’t complaining. Not much had changed overnight, however, and high clouds still appeared to be blowing through at a good clip out of the north. I slept in a little, trying to give the weather time to improve, but I was still on the trail by 8:30.

More spooky holm oak forest protected me from the wind as I climbed to Coll des Prat. It was chilly despite the effort so I hiked in my rain jacket for warmth. When the trees changed to lumpy cárritx, the wind quickly sapped the feeling from my fingers. A quick glance over my shoulder to catch a view down the valley, then a few steps more up into the cloud. No more views.

Walking at cloud level, too early too be this cold.

I was pretty bummed as I switchbacked up the muddy gully that was passing for a trail these days. I had been looking forward to this section for the sweeping views of a different kind of mountain terrain than I’m used to. I had even hoped for a shot at a summit or two. But not in this. It was not my time. I accepted that, but wasn’t happy about it.

Coll des Prat is the highpoint of the route at 4,000ft, not that it mattered to me with nothing to look at. Wind gusted ferociously over the saddle, cloud limiting visibility to 20 yards. I was lucky that there was a large stone wall to hide behind where I put on all my layers and ate something. My thermometer said it was around 30F out of the wind. Yeah, I believe that.

A fine view at Coll des Prat.

Without much worth waiting around for, I started the descent to what I told myself would be a warmer world. I will never need to walk through a cloud again. The way was well marked over more slopes of cárritx, so the limited visibility didn’t give me any trouble and some unseen obstacle blocked the wind so that I was comfortable in all my layers again. Snow pits came and went, relics of a time before refrigeration existed on the island. More ruins, more cárritx.

A snow pit. Better at collecting cloud than snow today.

On the way up to a minor saddle, the clouds lifted a bit, revealing enough views to have me saying “this is awesome” again. After being beat down for a few days, my mood can turn quickly when I get something to look at, and this was changing the game bigly. I could see to the sea at not one, but two coastlines impossibly far below. To the left, jagged undulations fell straight to the water. To the right, cliffs transitioned to flatland, then coast. In front of me, a cliff then the tail of the mountains ironing out into the distance. Moody clouds hung over all of this and the wind was still blowing, but I sensed a shift in my view of the world and of this route. It had been a rough couple of days, but those were behind me now.

Edge of the mountains, edge of the island. Finally some views.

I followed the trail along the top of the cliff stopping often just to see, just to remember, until it turned abruptly down a break its defenses. I had fun descending the nifty bit of stonework that was in danger of being taken for granted. Steep switchbacks through more oak forest dumped me on the valley floor near Lluc, a parking lot away. The small grocer was closed for the day so I settled for a bit of phone charging while watching a dizzying array of lycra-clad bicyclists stop at the café.

Cliffs are bad, trails are great.

It was almost sunny when I left to handle the last few miles before dinner. That dinner will be a little light on account of the store being closed, my rations spread thin before reaching Pollença tomorrow.
Out of the big mountains now, the strolling was easy past a refugi and through more dark oak. Not wanting to cut tomorrow too short, I stopped early at Coll des Pedregaret for a cowboy camp extravaganza.

A poofier section in a forest of holm oak.

A German übermensch who I haven’t seen since La Trapa is pitched nearby, surprised to see that I could keep up. Still chilly, but out of the wind for the most part, I cower under my quilt spooning cold mouthfuls of ramen between squirts of peanut butter from a pouch. I’ve been better, but I’ve definitely been worse. Having a short memory can be a good thing out here and it’s amazing how quickly the suffering is painted over by the latest vista. And clouds, damn them for their shade, can totally boost visual flavor in a delightful way. But forget visual flavor. Sun tomorrow. I have a good feeling there will be sun tomorrow.

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