Friday, February 22, 2013

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

This must be the dreaded Caca.
"Shine bright like a diamond," I sing with Rihanna. We sound remarkably alike. "Shine bright like a diamond."
"Shine bite like a dead man," Herbert the Venezuelan Pearl Diving Instructor sings along, too late and sounding nothing like Rihanna. We are on our way to our fourth hike, somewhere in the north--which is nowhere near Port Andratx. That's all I know.

By the time we finally reach the starting point of the hike (somewhere in the north), I have sung duets with Michael Jackson, Roxette (which I guess would be a trio), Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins and of course Rihanna. Herbie has threatened to murder me in the forest if I don't stop singing. Twice. He knows this just makes me sing louder. Do you car dance? Car dancing is so important . . . and healthy. What else is there to do in the car for almost an hour? Besides singing loudly.

Problem is, on Mallorca the radio stations go in and out, so it's hard to make it through a complete dance set before you get to your hike somewhere up north. Once, we have to listen to Spanish talk radio for 15 minutes. I laugh occasionally to make Herbie think I understand Spanish. Sucker.

Exceptionally, today's trail does not start in a residential area but in a national park, a reserve for big caca, which doesn't mean what you might think. It means big (dangerous) game; and just about the time we figure this out, two hikers come walking toward us.

"They don't look that dangerous to me," I say.  "Or that big either."

"They are people, not animals," says Herbie.

"True," I say. "And it's also true that your sense of humor needs oiling."

Herbie unzips his backpack and hands me his sunscreen . . . in earnest. "Right," I say. "Right."

This will be a special day, but we don't know it yet. The trail, in the beginning, is wide and even and pleasant and all those other positive words. It's rocky too, but we're used to rocky by now. We're the Rocksters. We rock. We encounter a group of hikers with a dog, which attaches itself to me because I'm adorable. Once I shake the little guy, we're able to walk up the mountain in peace and solitude and . . .

But when we reach the ridge, we see that we are not alone in these here hills. Today 300 cross-country runners are trudging up and down the mountains with us. We pause for a moment to ask the organizers which way Alcudia is. One of the organizers, crying Vamos! Vamos! to the runners while talking to us, tries to get us to take a route that would not interfere with the race. We, however, choose to take the route that puts us very much in the way of around 200 runners. Go, us!

"Ha ha ha! Si, si! I know: we're going the wrong way," I say for the twelfth time.

One runner stops and asks Herbie in German if he has a big beer--because, although Herbie is obviously Venezuelan, he looks remarkably German.

Some of the runners are actually walking, limping and crawling up the mountain. I am tempted several times to cry Vamos! Vamos! as well, but I'm glad I don't. After several kilometers it becomes clear to us that these runners have already run or walked or crawled over two mountains. The race has to be more than 20 kilometers.  

The hike up and down and around these mountains is challenging, mainly because we feel inspired to up our pace by the runners, who are clearly in better condition than we are. Well most of them are. It is inspiring to see groups of friends running together. Husbands and wives. Buddies. Vamos! Vamos! I cry as I pull my hood around my cheeks. It's cold.

I have forgotten to mention that Herbie has promised me ruins on this hike. I have not seen any ruins, and I am holding this against Herbie. I'm suffering from severe ruin-deprivation when we finally reach something that Herb tries to pass off as a ruin. In perfect condition, it's a building that looks like an old--yet beautifully restored--church. If you want to know which church and maybe a bit about its history, you'll probably need to head off to a blog that's heavier on the info than mine.

OK, so I just felt lame for not looking it up for you. It's the ermita de la victòria, and that link I've just provided needs to be edited in a large honking way. Who can't look up how to spell welcome? It's a renovated church: renovated as a hotel of course.  ka-ching.

ermita de la victòria
From the ermita de la victòria it's only another hour back to our car, but it's a lovely walk. It's all downhill from here. It's a pity we don't encounter any more runners.

Tomorrow Day 5 of Five Days of Hiking on Mallorca in February.

I must be off,
Christopher

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Christopher Allen is the author of Conversations with S. Teri O'Type (a Satire), available from Amazon in paperback and Kindle.