Sunday, 7 February 2016

4 February 2016 – Jalon Valley Almond Blossom

At this time of year the valley is covered with almond blossom, but only for a couple of weeks.  During that time it becomes the most popular walk in the area, with large and small groups of walkers out each day.   So we felt obliged to do our own version this week. 
The weather forecast was cloudy with a chance of rain, not the best weather for an almond blossom walk.   We almost cancelled the walk, but decided to meet and decide on the day instead.   We did send an email warning of the forecast, which may well have reduced the numbers attending.  In fact we were quite pleased to get a group of eight.
Susan did not meet us at the start, as she was busy with her cat feeding duties.  But she did join us as we left the village on the way to Alcalali.
There is a very attractive, and not very well known, picnic site just outside Alcalali.   It has excellent views of the valley, and back towards Parcent.   
We had our banana stop here.  It was a little early, but there was still a two hour walk to Jalon and no suitable area to have it before we reached our lunch spot.
Thanks to David for this rare photo of Jan and I together
We followed the minor track from Alcalali to Parcent for a short time, and then  crossed the river towards Col de Rates
We joined this wide road leading through almond trees and heading for the pipeline track.
There was plenty of opportunity to take photos, including this one of David taking one of Rosemary!
We soon ran out of road and had to make our way across country.   Fortunately we had done a recce last Saturday and reached the pipeline track without any trouble.

Despite the recce the walk seemed longer than we remembered it.   This may well be because there were a lot of unscheduled stops to admire the view.   We were also getting hungry, as David insisted on talking about food in general, and curry in particular.   His descriptions of the curry options had us all looking forward to lunch.
Unfortunately the clouds thickened as we reached Jalon, and it was both overcast and cold when we reached the small park for our lunch.   Consequently we did not stop as long as expected.
Due to our unusual route on the outward journey we did not see many other walkers.  But we returned along the main Jalon to Parcent path, which is the most popular at this time of year.   We passed one particularly large group of about 100 Germans and Dutch.   Seemingly endless “Hola”, “Guten Tag” and “Afternoon” as we passed each other.
Unfortunately our statistics were compromised when David forgot to switch on his satnav.   So we had to rely on Dee’s phone app.  

Time – 5 hours
Distance – 17.7 km
Elevation – none worth mentioning
Calories – 715
Difficulty – 2 G&T

David and I thought it should be 1 G&T, but we were outnumbered and the ladies got the final word as always.

11 February 2016
Next Thursday will be Soldates from Gata.   Meet at the Correos car park in Gata at 10am.  

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