GR221 Day 7: Coll des Pedregaret to Port de Pollença
Miles hiked: 17.5-ish
Total miles: 92-ish
Swims in Mediterranean: 1
Giant bell peppers: mucho
There is something about the last day of a trail that always gets me. Three days, a week, four months, doesn’t matter. If the weather didn’t improve today, then I would be glad to be done with this one, but there is still a sense of loss. A definitive goodbye. The daily routine that has been established is comforting even in uncomfortable conditions. It’s hard to leave that behind.
Unsurprisingly, the weather was about the same in the morning. Really windy up high, with clouds scooting by. It had been a cold night despite the shelter of the trees, and it was a cold morning too. I exposed the smallest amount of myself possible beyond my quilt while finishing off the contents of my food bag. A crusty baguette, some peanut butter, a couple squares of dark chocolate, and spicy Indian snack things. I could see the sun marching down the adjacent hillside as I got hiking around 8:30am. Still cold, still in my jacket, but optimistic.
I can’t remember a single sustained uphill portion of trail today. It was all easy cruising gradually down through first oak forest, then through citrus orchards on country tracks, finished with a trail in between the Ma-10 and a dry river. It warmed up as the sun climbed and patches of golden light dappled the leafy trail. Goats scattered in fear even though all I did was say hello. My right foot started protesting some past injustice from yesterday, but I tried pushing it out of my mind, unwilling to let this last minute mutiny temper my warming disposition. When trees gave way to fields, I could look back at the mountains and see that nothing had changed up there. The peaks were again hidden in cloud. They looked cold. They looked spectacular. But down here it was warm. I removed my jacket, put on sunglasses, and stood, basking in a fleeting patch of sun. I made it. Still some miles to go, but I made it.
Those miles flew by along the road as did packs of cyclists on their matching bicycles. I was surprised when I rounded a bend and walked into Pollença. The route in my guidebook ends there, but I don’t know why. The GR221 is signed through Port de Pollença, four miles further, which seemed like a no brainier to me. Coast to coast. Simple. And I was in dire need of a swim before boarding a plane tomorrow anyway. But before continuing, I detoured through the town center, getting utterly lost in the narrow streets. A lovely place. I would like to spend more time in Pollença.
After a fine hobo shower at a faucet on the outskirts of town, I followed signs to the Ma-2200, which I would follow all the way to the sea. In a mile, a Lidl appeared to attend to all of my hunger issues, present and future. I strolled onward, without urgency, along the gravel track that paralleled the road, my hand deep in a bag of potato chips.
The land was as flat as can be all the way to the port. I enjoyed the walk thoroughly, mostly because of the warmth, but also because of the expanding views of the Tramuntana fading behind me, still capped in cloud, and the rising cliffs of the Formentor peninsula in front. This Mallorcan limestone lends itself to cliff formation like nothing I’ve ever seen outside of glacier or river eroded sites in the US. Essentially a roadwalk, I can see why the guidebook omits this section, but I wouldn’t miss it.
And then I was there. A few city blocks, then the marina. The Mediterranean. It was still windy and cool with a band of high clouds filtering the sun so I didn’t jump straight in, but drank in the feeling, head back, eyes closed. The nearby café patrons thought I was a weirdo, no doubt. Whatever, they didn’t feel as good as I did right then. I visited the tourist info office to get my exit sorted for tomorrow, then hit the beach to strut my stuff and finally relax. I went for a swim, then ate dates off a date stick, feeling like a king while I read a few chapters of the book I’ve been neglecting.
The kingly feeling continues in camp, a short hike into the hills outside of town, with a dinner of fresh bread and sun-dried tomato pesto. It doesn’t take much to get back into the wild in Mallorca, though it isn’t a big place. Twenty minutes walking and I am the only person around, again surrounded by spectacular cliffs and ancient stone walls. Quilted clouds overhead catch the changing hues of the sunset and the sound of crashing waves is carried to my eardrums on a gentle breeze.
When was the last time you embraced the world? In the minutes before finding camp, I was overwhelmingly satisfied, and found myself walking, arms wide, fingers stretched to the limit, trying to grasp as much of that moment and feeling as possible. I can’t recall ever doing that before. I don’t know if I’ll ever do it again. But what I am sure of is that my ability to feel that good was enabled by feelings of despair days before. The contrasts in life make it worth living. You need to feel the lows to appreciate the height of the highs. Expose yourself to the unexpected and you may find that the limits were beyond your gaze. I was looking for an easy ‘vacation’ hike, but got so much more. Thanks, Mallorca. It’s always a pleasure to be humbled.