Great Mountain Bike Routes in Andalucia - GR7 2010 - Day Four Banderillas to Araceli
Considering that Tony had been doing his “Captain Oates” impression every night and complaining of never sleeping, he was the first to crash out, and the last to wake up, he slept like a baby.
Simeoni woke early and decided to try and catch a few more moments of sleep outside the hut. Hunkered down in his bag outside in the midst of Spanish wilderness, under the breaking dawn, it seemed that perhaps we should have all slept outside, we’d probably have got more restful sleep away from the rustling of bags and the trips to the loo.
Eventually everyone had dressed and left the hut and was wandering around the mountain top, stopping occasionally to let the serenity and majesty of the mountains refuel our spirits for the next leg of the expedition. The crisp morning air and the sheer expanse of the wilderness around us was a magnificent reminder of why we had come here. Yesterdays trials seemed a little more distant and maybe just worth the epic journey to get here, maybe…
The walk and drive down to the trailer and bikes was paused with a quick climb onto some vertiginous rocky outcrop that over looks the ravine of the Rio Aguamula, and the actual GR7 camino. A stunning viewpoint that lets you watch the eagles and vultures swoop below you. Getting ready, the realisation that my phone was left at the refugio delayed our start. Lucas was great and drove and ran back to the hut, a error on my part that reminded everyone that my memory isn’t what it once was! The trails across the high plains of the Sierra Segura are rolling and pass sporadic fields of cereal crops, farmers eking food supplies for the wintering of their hardy flocks. The lunch stop in the shade of some pine trees was the usual fare of jamon, queso, pan and naranjas, refreshing, tasty and much needed calories. From here its was a short haul across country to a stretch of asphalt and the gradual climb to the log cabins of Araceli, our stop for the night. The cabins perch atop a high mountain and give panoramic views of the Seguras and Banderillas, now behind us, and the looming tops of Revolcadores and the climbs of tomorrow. We gathered outside the main reception with its poolside bar and sank a few Fantas, and much water. A few braved the freezing waters of the pool and lounged around catching the last rays of dying sun. The evening meal was great, lamb chops and patatas, no menu, just served to the table and devoured. Yet again Tony surprised us all, this time with his voracious meat eating skills, a revelation that a vegetarian could down so much meat. Hunger does that to you. Diego the waiter looked after us all well, and gave an impromptu rendition of Wonderwall, with Caler doing his best Liam Gallagher impression. A great and very entertaining end to probably the “easiest” of the days.