Friday, 24 February 2017

23 February 2017 – Jalon to Parcent

We had planned to walk from Lleus to Pinos today, but had offered an alternative local walk should the poor weather forecast prove correct.  Fifteen had signed up for the planned walk, but four withdrew on Thursday morning.   So just eleven of us gathered in the wet and windy Rasto car park in Jalon.
We decided on to walk from Jalon to Parcent via Alcalali.   If the light rain got any worse at least we would not be too far from a friendly (and dry) bar.

We were surprised to find that there were still quite a lot of almond blossom around.   They normally last about two weeks, but this year have survived for four weeks and despite storms and heavy winds.   Mind this was not the best of days for an almond blossom walk.

Robert told us tell about a local landowner outside Alcalali.   Apparently the road leading to his front gate is very popular with dog walkers, many of whom do not clean up after their dogs.
The fed up owner has now put this graphic message on the wall at the entrance to his house.   If the writing on the squatting dog is not clear, it says “No!”   We have passed this house many times and have not noticed the message.   In future we will no doubt have a smile as we pass.
Robert and Alijke live in Parcent, and offered us an alternative to our usual route.  It started with a river crossing, but fortunately the levels have fallen and the stepping stones made it easy.
Stepping stones are not Jan’s favourite walk, but after the recent heavy rains she is getting used to them.
The new route was an improvement on our usual one and it is always interesting to find a different track.  Unfortunately as we neared Parcent there was a second river, and this one much wider, faster flowing and difficult to cross.   So we had to return and take our usual route.   However when the river levels return to normal we will be sure to use this new route.
Meanwhile Jan had another opportunity to practice her river crossing skills
The detour added an extra half hour to our walk, and it was lunch time as we reached Parcent.   We had planned to have our picnic at the Ermita near Alcalali, but instead stopped at the font in Parcent
By now the weather had greatly improved, and we were in shirt sleeves
We pass the font once or twice a week, and I had not considered it as a suitable picnic site before.  But in fact it is a very attractive location, with plenty of seating for everyone.

It was so pleasant sitting in the sun that no one was in any hurry to get walking again.  We were so close to home that Jan in particular was not very happy about walking back to Jalon for the car.
Now that the weather had improved we were really pleased that we had not cancelled the walk.   It was tempting in the morning when it was overcast and raining, and particularly as the forecast was more of the same all day.  But now it was warm and pleasant and very enjoyable strolling through the valley.   More than one commented on how lucky we all were to live in such a lovely area.

It is not very far to the Ermita, where we had planned to have our picnic lunch.   But it was too good an opportunity to have another short break.   No one complained at having to break our journey again.
Earlier in the week we had walked to Alcalali and come across some large wooden obstacles.   Robert explained that there is a “Survivor Race” around Parcent on Sunday.   This is apparently an obstacle race for very fit grownups.   We followed some of the route today, and will have to make time to see some of it on Sunday.
Because this walk is on such good road surfaces, we walked much faster than we would normally do.   Unfortunately I did not take my satnav with me, because I know the route so well.   So I do not have any accurate record of the walk.   But I suspect that it was at least 14km, and possibly up to 16km.   It took us 5.5 hours and even with breaks we must have covered at least that distance.
Jan has always collected any unusual rocks she find during our walks, and the garden is full of them.  I am usually the method of transporting them back to the car, so most of them are about the size of a small rubber ball.   Today I found this large, heart shaped rock in my haversack when we unpacked.   Apparently Anke had found the rock and given it to Jan, then she and Alijke had distracted me while Jan hid it in my pack during our banana stop.   Another one to go in my little black book!
I am sure that despite the substandard weather during the early part of the walk, everyone enjoyed it and were glad that they had come.   Of course it could have gone the other way, and we could have got very wet.   We ended the walk in a bar in Jalon and everyone seemed pleased with the day.   Hopefully next week we will be back to the more usual sunny days.

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