The Sierra Espuña is a mountain range located in the south-east of Spain, not directly at the coast so in winter it can be a little cold. In the early days, snow was stored here to become ice in winter that subsequently was used in surrounding cities like Murcia. Fortunately for us today it was not freezing!
We set up camp in El Berro, a small town in the north-east corner of the park. Here we find some bars, restaurants and the starting point of 2 hikes. The first night we cook our dinner outside, but this is a mistake, it becomes too cold pretty soon, so we spend the remainder of the evening in our van. The following days we use the town restaurants which offer affordable food, beer, wine and comfort.
1) Sierra Espuna, 2) the campsite in El Berro.
Our first day we delay our walk, so the hunting time (up to 14:00) is over. However, we did not hear shots at all so maybe in this park hunting is not allowed. Now we opt for the smaller trail of about 8 km in the direction of Gebas.
The route, signed with white-yellow markings starts directly outside the campsite. In no time we enter the forest up to the mountain, almost the entire track is off-road. Just before Gebas, the path becomes a sort of ditch, the sides 2-4 meter height and width of 6 meter. This particular pathway ends in a small tunnel close to Gebas. We decide not to go to this town but to continue on our way back, unfortunately again without sun that has just set behind the ridge. Probably this is fortunate if you do this walk in summer when temperatures here are much higher! It is getting late now, so we walk fast missing some wildlife, but we did hear and see the wallcreeper fleeing with its red wings.
1) There is the campsite, 2,3) Looks like mistletoe, but it is pine.
The second walk is in the opposite direction. We now leave a little earlier, and the first part is on tarmac uphill. The sun is shining so soon enough we take some clothes off. After a while we enter the forest, the trail flattens, and it is getting cooler again. A varied scenery brings our first wildlife; some Moeflons quickly disappear after spotting us. This trail crosses several other hiking trails, so a little more attention is needed to find our way. We walk a small trail, seeing the road across the valley, how to get there? Fortunately, the trail ends on a footpath and then we are OK finding a refuge.
We spotted a small Schreibers' long-fingered bat in a cave.
Again we find ourselves on the tarmac where a few cars pass. Alongside the road we notice some caves to be exploited and, quickly we are in the dark. The temperature rises when we go deeper into the cave, and a careful inspection of the ceiling reveals a small batt. Just One that is awakened by us but not enough to flee the scene. A bit scary being without light so, we exit quickly again!
1,2) the abandoned Sanatorium, 3) Walking down in the small valley.
Like the previous walk, we did not see anyone else during the walk, very unusual and unique. Halfway there is an abandoned Sanatorium (treating TBC patients), unfortunately, fenced so we can not peep inside. On we go into a valley downwards till we suddenly exit very close to the campsite. This time we are early enough to catch the last sunshine before going to the restaurant. There are several other trails to walk in this vast reserve, but we decide to go back to the beach where temperatures are a bit more camping orientated. A place to revisit another warmer day!
1) Strawberry tree. 2) Bees on the watertube, 3) The mandarins are ready to eat.