Thursday, February 21, 2013

Five Days of Hiking on Mallorca in February -- Day 3

One disadvantage of letting someone else organize everything is that I often wind up walking along dangerous roads, scouring the shoulder for the infamous "inconspicuous entrance to the trail"--which seems to be a theme here on Mallorca.

"This is the sort of place one would dump a body," I say as I pull myself up the grassy vertical face of a hill along the dangerous road south of Valldemossa. And right on cue I spy a blanket folded to look as if there might just be a child's body under it. I don't look.

"I don't think this is the trail," says Herbert the Venezuelan Pearl Diving Instructor.

"That's what they mean when they say 'inconspicuous'."

The trail does indeed end, leaving us staring at an even steeper, grassier wall. We turn around and head back down to the dangerous road.

"Curva peligrosa," says Herbie. Besides la cuenta por favor, this is the extent of Herbert the Venezuelan Pearl Diving Instructor's Spanish--which, again, calls into question his Venezuelan heritage.

"I really don't like walking around a curve on a dangerous road with tons of metal whizzing towards me." But no one is listening. "I just don't like it." There's nothing for it. We have to walk down the road a bit to another opening. It's the entrance to a residential area. On Mallorca, many of the trails begin in residential areas because, on Mallorca, all the hills are being developed into construction ruins.

Finally on the right path, we start what should be a five-hour course up, around and back down the mountain. It's a national park--an incredibly rocky national park. Again, I can't say this enough: bring hiking boots, put them on your feet and watch your step. The walk up to the top of this mountain turns out to be delightfully steep. By the time we reach the top, we are two sweaty mountain goats. Maahhhhahh-mahhh. 

The trail. Rocks and more rocks.

It should go without saying that we make a few wrong turns. Usually mountain trails are marked. German trails are meticulously marked, and so are Austrian and South Tyrolean trails. The trails on Mallorca are a lottery. Is it lychen or paint? Who knows?

Tell me this doesn't look like a trail. It's not.

What used to be a big red dot, is now almost gone.

This one was actually pretty obvious.

If you become used to looking for traces of paint on the rocks, you'll find your way through the forest. The ground is covered with stones, so you'll be fooled by "paths" everywhere. Finally back in Valldemossa after a four-hour hike--we managed the five-hour hike in four hours because we are brawny men--we take a brawny stroll around the village.  We sit awhile on the steps leading up to the church. When we stand up to leave, I feel the hike in my knees.

"You are getting old," Herbie says to me.

"I could walk up that mountain again," I say.

"But you'd rather go back to the hotel and have a bubble bath?"


Tomorrow Day 4 of Five Days of Hiking on Mallorca in February

I must be off,


Christopher Allen is the author of Conversations with S. Teri O'Type (a Satire).