Spain highest mountains – Mulhacen and Alcazaba

Easy days are gone, we have plenty of time to regenerate. In next couple of days, we are going back to mountains. Morning in Trevelez camping is routine. Stuff which we need for mountains are going to back pack, rest back to the car. Lady, who runs camping lets us park our car here in camp. Time for new adventure.

Rough plan is spent next three days in mountains. We are going hiking. Today we want to go on the other side of the crest to Poqueira hut in 2 500 m above see. Tomorrow we will reach Mulhacen summit, and hopefully get as close as possible to Alcazaba. For the night, we will be somewhere outside under the star. Third day we will ascent Alcazaba and descend to Travelez back to car.

Hike start very good. We got lost in the camping. According the map, there should be a short cut but we didn`t find it. We need to descend to the main road, and after that start ascending. As almost every day during this expedition, we are always looking for something. After 30 minutes on the main road, we are going up to gravel road.

So far, we can enjoy the view on the opposite mountain. Also, we can guess how far we have to climb. It will be lots of fun. Gravel roads keep going but, but shorter way is to go to hiking path. I am not sure which way was better. Following the gravel road, which is not that steep, but very long or shorter but steeper hiking path.

I do not have to think about it anymore. Gravel road ends, and there is hiking path only. It is closer to lunch time and it is getting warmer. Thanks to the clouds, which make shade a bit. Clouds are few meters above our heads. It is hard to say, where we are going.

Soon we are in the clouds and we cannot see anything above or below us. I am checking my phone with GPS, which says we have to be close to the crest. Trevelez village is approximately 1 500 m above sea level and we had to climb to 2 700 and then descent about 200 meters do hut. We climb 1 200 meters in altitude in 6 kilometers.

Signs on the hiking path are not the best one. Again, I realize how great are marked path in Slovakia. They do amazing job. Luckily, it is hard to get lost. We need to ascent until we reach gravel road on the crest. In worst case I have map in my phone. With the GPS, we know where we are. Whole hike to us about 4 hours including getting lost in camping.

It is 3 PM and we start thinking what to do. Reaching the hut is an easy job. Besides that, we have to descent, which is not a smart move. I see one other hut on the map, which is situated in altitude 3 000 m. It is 500 meters higher than Poquiera. This would make our hike tomorrow much easier. However, I do not have any info about the second hut.

We are following original plan and walking on the crest towards Poqueira hut to the next cross road. Two groups of hikers are going opposite direction. One is going down from Mulhacen Falso, other, one is coming from the hut. First group says that the other hut is not hut, bivouac without a water. At least this is what I understood from their basic English.

Second group is made of English speaking hikers and local guide. He confirms what previous group already said. It you want to sleep in other hut, you need to have all equipment for night outside. We are ready to sleep outside, but no water. Guide offers me bottle of water. It is very nice gesture, but one bottle of water doesn`t help. We need to cook dinner, breakfast and have some water for tomorrow hike. Our only option is descent to Poquiera hut. On the way, down we meet one Spanish hiker, who is lost. I show him the map in the phone and he show us shortcut to the hut.

Reservation on Poqueira hut is not mandatory if you are not going during peak season. We go lucky and they had some free beds. On the terrace, we cooked dinner and order tee. At 10 pm it is time to go to sleep, but most of the people are going earlier. I guess most of the people wants to reach Mulhacen (3 482 m / 11 424 ft.) – Spain highest point on Europe continent.

Today we have gained about 1 300 meters of altitude, walked about 10 kilometers in 6 hours. Easy day. Tomorrow it will be harder. We need to have good sleep. To save some time we have order breakfast.

In the morning, we are waking up among the first. After regular morning ritual, we are going for breakfast and then start hiking. Everyone are going to bivouac. Me and my girlfriend are going different way. Path leads directly up to Mulhacen Falso and the crest. From there we want to continue to highest peak of Sierra Nevada.

From the beginning it is not clear, why we are only one taking this path. After 30 minutes, we lost the path and I have to look to the map. This path is in my phone map, but not in the paper version I have bought in Trevelez camping. We have reached gravel road. If we go to the right we are back to the crossroad we have been yesterday. To the left goes to the bivouac.

I really want to hike to Mulhacen II so we are going up on the old hiking path. Actually, there is no hiking path at all. Few steps below crest we met one hiker, who is going down same “path” as we went up.

On smaller Mulhacen, we are having a break. To real Mulhacen it is about 1 km and we need to gain bit more than 100 meters of altitude. Few hikers are asking if this is the top. I point my finger to the close summit.

Real Mulhacen is crowdy. Everyone is taking lots of pictures, mostly selfies. Couple of people have video call with someone on the other side showing them all the beauty. I manage to get to the highest point and create 360-degree panorama.

Alcazaba seems to be close, but it will not be that easy. We cannot continue on the crest, because descent is not safe. Descent thru steep snowfields without crampons is not a good idea. We need to go around.

Views are stunning, sometimes covered by cloud. We have to descent do one of mountains lake below us. In dusty rocky terrain, there is no grass or flowers. We are not only one who goes down directly. Everyone tries to find easiest way.

I am surprised how easy and quickly we have get to the lake. At lunch time, we have been on Mulhacen summit and in less than 2 hours we are down to the lake. Finding the path to Alcazaba is not an easy. In this plateau, nobody is following the path, because there is none.

Couple of hikers are going down from third highest point of Sierra Nevada. We are going towards them. Unfortunately, only few of them speaks English a bit. At the highest lake, we are at the dead end. There is no way how to keep going. Suddenly four hikers are directly above us. I have no clue, how they want to descent. I sit on nice rock and watch them descent.

We haven`t seen sign on hiking path since we have left hut. According both maps hiking path should be here, but it is marked only by stone men. Hikers successfully descent and we are going up following the same way. The path is really steep. At the beginning, it is lots of small stones, then it is going from one super huge rock to another. Soon we are back to crest. From lowest lake, it took us about 2 hours. Alcazaba summit is about 30 minutes far. It is time to enjoy the view from summit. It is about 4:30 pm. We are already hiking for 9 hours. My girlfriend doesn`t want to sleep on the summit. We are descending down to the lakes, where is soft ground with nice grass. Besides that, there is running water, which we can use for cooking.

Descent takes about 1,5 hours. Finally, I can take off my shoes and sit down on sleeping pad. After the rest, we can cook dinner and sleep. I cannot fall sleep, because sun is up till 10:30 pm. Few times during the night I woke up and enjoy the sky full of stars.

During the day, we have ascended about 1 500 meters, descent about 1 000 in 10 km. Whole hike took about 10,5 hours. I am surprised how tiring it was. In the morning, everything is routine. From dinner, we have some oat porridge, then I prepare tee and are ready to descent. Hopefully in few hours we are back to Trevelez. We need to descent about 1 500 meters, which cannot be an issue. We have eaten a lot of food from back pack so they are not easy.

First few meters of the descent are very nice. Weather is great, it is not warm, we can see hiking path and small stream is next to us. Later we descent next to the waterfall. What else we can have on the hike? Probably nothing. Soon it gets bit worst. Weather is still good, but it is getting too warm. In the country, there is no shade at all. Never ending descend drives me crazy. Worst thing is that sometimes we are not descending at all or in 5 meters of length we descent 15 meters of altitude.

Every second I hope, I will see Trevelez, but it is still hidden somewhere. Finally, I see it, but hiking path goes opposite direction. F word. We are hiking already for three days. My feet start hurt and it is not enjoyable for me. My head gets bit frustrated.

Whole descent took us about 4 hours. In Trevelez we got into first pub, which was open. I bought coke to get some sugar and shade to cool down. Waitress probably saw how tired I am and bring some snack. It was unusually big portion. Walk to the car was not an issue.

After 3 days in mountains we deserve some nice place to relax. I have found lovely hotel above Granada, where we wanted to stay next 2 nights. This hotel was number one because of lovely pool. Laying in the pool with glass of sangria is something I like.

Water in the pool was so cold, that I was not able to get in. At least they had a great sangria. We had couple of glasses on the deck and enjoyed Granada view. Hopefully next day or two we will have easy days. Besides that, we need to go to the city and start buying souvenirs for our families.

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