A short rocky hillside hike with caves and the devil’s stairs saw me returning to the car by torch light.
With the newer regulations allowing for more freedom of movement it wasn’t long before I found myself driving across to those mountains that I’m so used to being in. As time restrictions still apply and the sun doesn’t stop going down just for me to be out longer, I stuck with somewhere nearby that has a walk and views I could probably never tire of.
With the anticipation of getting there, the drive seemed to take much longer than it has any other time and longer than the journey back home did too for that matter. But taking the turn off the winding mountainous roads and up the steep hill to the Hermitage at Mont-Roig’s Mare de Déu de la Roca I could barely wait to get on that hillside.
A couple of other cars suggested there were few people around as I set off on the more level of the walks. Take note that I said level, not easier. This walk requires adequate clothing and footwear, which once again the evening heat made me regret my decision of walking trousers and a light jacket, shorts and a top would have been much more appropriate. This route would pass by the Foradada cave and down the devil’s steps. Most of the route has a walking path and is clearly marked, whilst other sections require a little hillside balancing, clambering and climbing. There are ropes in some areas to help pull yourself up or I guess, lower yourself down. I’ve never actually made it back this way and even with the best intentions that tonight I would, because I’m only out for a quick walk so will eat my sandwich, drink some water and go back, I still ended up at the top going a different way. I just can’t seem to help it.
The pathways were surrounded by various wildflowers, bushes and trees. The prickly pears weren’t ready yet, so I was thankful to have plenty of water with me. As there had been quite a bit of rain lately, some sections of the rock were also little pools, thankfully I wasn’t going to be drinking from those either.
Reaching the end of this section of the walk which can lead off into various directions I found myself on the rocks where I had planned to stop. Now, I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon and I’m fairly sure that anyone who has would outrightly laugh at what I’m about to say but, this section of rocks makes me think of the Grand Canyon every time I’m here. It’s to do with the red colour of the rocks, which probably happens to be where the name of here came from. Even when you drive in the direction of these mountains you can identify this section just because of the colour. Indeed, that’s actually how I found this place the first time I came. I wondered what it was so turned off the main road to go in search of it, abandoning whatever plan I had in mind at that time.
So here I was, on the rocks with a spectacular view over the town of Reus, various surrounding villages, countryside and the sea in what looked to be the distance but it’s really not that far away. I headed further round to see if I made it in time to watch the sunset whilst I sat but I hadn’t, it had already disappeared behind the neighbouring hilltops. I sat anyway, to eat, drink, cool down and enjoy the vistas. I could occasionally hear other people around but didn’t see them. Something furry, possibly a small fox, moved in the bushes on a higher ridge.
Someone had left painted stones on the rock face which on closer inspection looked to be the nativity scene.
As the daylight became dim, I set off back the way I came, full of life again after my rest. Then, it happened. I switched direction and headed upwards. Up the rocky areas that required the use of the well positioned ropes, unless you have incredibly long legs, until I reached the top. The pathway isn’t frequently marked and it had become noticeably more overgrown, the plants were probably all stretching out whilst there have been less people preventing them from doing so. A slight detour through the trees and I did eventually find a path again.
The night air was still and warm.
To be quite honest I could happily have stayed there all night but maybe another time. From this particular peak I could see that the dusk light over the towns and villages below had been replaced by streetlights. I could see the car and it wasn’t too far away but the ground underfoot was still very rocky and uneven, I needed to use my torch for the last section of the walk. All around animals were starting to emerge, I couldn’t see them, but I could hear their cries and movement.
I safely made it back to the car, energised and with the adrenaline of a good clambering walk, nice views and time with nature. I was more ready than ever for the restrictions to be further relaxed so that I could spend more time doing just this.