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Chapter 21: Bikepacking the Altravesur-Bayarcal to La Calahorra

10th June 2019

You can see my YouTube on Riding the Eastern end of the Sierra Nevada here

On waking, the sun had risen and was lighting up the mountain to my right, but my camp was still in the shade. It was chilly, even with gloves on. I packed up camp quickly and returned to the route, taking the turning I’d missed the night before, which climbed higher up this hump.

It felt very remote up here, the camino was chained off to motorised traffic, the only tracks on the mostly grassed over camino were those of mountain bike tyres, goats and cows. I wondered if any of the bike tracks were those of Robert and Meta, that had ridden the Altravesur a few weeks previous.There was woodland to both my left and right, right was down the mountain, left up it. Many trees had been blown down, a couple were across the camino, with the loud wind the night before, I wasn’t surprised. Being left to only walkers and cyclists, this camino had a very special feel to it, the flora and fauna were flourishing with many butterflies, moths and beautiful wildflowers.

After a few kilometres there were many mountain springs, so plenty of water to filter as I was just about out after using a lot at camp. It seemed such a waste, many of the springs running down the camino and it was sodden in places. Such a shame no effort’s being put into harnessing it, as farther back on the camino there is no water.

I was at around 1800 metres altitude by now, the amount of cow poo on the camino increased as I progressed on up, it made me wonder where the cows were, the poo was often quite recently deposited! I could only see one farm, way down the sierra, but no cows or goats.

Eventually getting to what I believe is the highest point of the Altravesur, just over 2100 metres, where there was an ideal photo opportunity at a rocky outcrop at that point. I’d never been to the East End of the Sierra Nevada, only the West and middle mountains. I think this was my favourite, it was vast and less populated, with the feeling of wilderness that I like, to a degree.