Our time in Chulilla is coming to a close. Although we've certainly been lucky to be here, two weeks has felt too short. It seems as though we're just getting our bearings and now we have to prepare for the journey home. Such is life, I guess.
Aside from the excellent climbing, we've spent time touring the coastline around Valencia and the countryside to the north. A couple of friends from Penticton are here and we've enjoyed the company of fellow Canadians. Meeting them was a nice treat.
Overall, the weather has been quite good - mostly sunny and dry - but our last three days look a bit more unsettled. We're crossing our fingers it's not too bad. Pictures from the last week...
Rose hips on a hike near Chulilla after a big rainstorm on Christmas Day.
A Christmas Day hike to "El Charco Azul", a beautiful pool in the "Las Hoces del Turia" below Chulilla. We've seen lots of fish (trout and catfish) in this river on our hikes.
Chulilla in morning light with the Arabic castle ruin visible above town. The castle is walled on this side, but the other three sides are naturally protected by massive cliffs that drop into the canyon.
Elise fooling around on one of two suspension bridges in the Turia River gorge. The hiking here is well developed and popular. These bridges are very modern and sturdy.
Elise climbing at the crag "Miguel Gomez", a kid-friendly spot deep in the gorge by the Turia River.
We visited "Playa de la Deversa", a good beach area just south of Valencia. We hoped to tour a well-known bird sanctuary called "L'Albufera" on the Saturday after Christmas, but it was closed much to our dismay. L'Albufera is a freshwater lagoon (the largest in Spain) that supports a healthy freshwater fishery and is the supposed location of the birth of the Spanish dice paella, since rice farming is plentiful in this area. We drove around, but didn't get to hike. The beach was a nice consolation prize, though.
Elise spent a lot of time building a very elaborate sand castle. We collected shells and wandered the beach. It was sunny but blustery.
Afterward we drove north to the ancient seaside village of Sagunto and toured a very nice castle ruin above town just as the sun was setting. The castle was of Roman Moorish origin.
Interesting artifact below the castle ruin in Chulilla.
Looking across at the Pared de Enfrente climbing zone in Chulilla. This is a sunny venue, good for cold weather climbing in the winter.
Tiles on a doorway in Chulilla.
A climber trying "Tequila Sunrise" (13b) at Balconito, the zone we've spent most of our time climbing at. The rock is excellent and the routes are very long.
Elsie hanging out at Balconito.
Beautiful flowers blooming midwinter by the Loriguilla Dam north of Chulilla.
A huge prickly pear below Pared de Enfrente. I think this is the biggest specimen I've ever seen.
Charcol Azul on the Turia River. We didn't venture too far on this rickety walkway.
Cat in the village of Montanejos, about 80 km north of Chulilla. We spent a day touring the beautiful countryside around the village.
The deep gorge just north of the village of Montanejos.
We visited a famous "hot" springs at Montanejos. It's actually a river with thermal activity underneath and the water remains a constant 25 degrees Celsius year-round. It was not really that hot, but warm enough to brave a short river adventure. Elise and I put on our wetsuits and journeyed upriver. She put on her snorkel and spotted lots of fish. It was a memorable adventure.
Afterwards we did quite a long hike across the rim of an adjacent gorge. We surprised a few families of mammals, which looked like a kind of mountain sheep. We think they might have been ibex, but we're not sure. Regardless, it was a real treat to see them - the large males had two huge horns on top of their heads.
Elise signing a trail register along the way.
The hike ended near Cueva Negra, the "Black Cave". The entrance wasn't that large, but once we poked our heads in we saw how huge the cave actually was. We had fun exploring it before dark.
Three more days before we head home to Canada. Happy New Year everyone.
Marc, Pam and Elise