Ascent: 1437 feet or 438 m
Descent: 1430 feet or 436 m
Total: 2,867 feet or 874 m
Blessings today: friendly dogs; beautiful landscapes; eating chocolate under the shade of a big, old, acorn tree; our conversations and musings as we strolled along; two walking sticks needed to help us on the steep ups and downs; bodies feeling stronger;
Today we dilly-dallied. It was a day that started with goats and their goat herder dog and their goat herder human (who herded from his car), and that theme continued for much of the day and included more huge dogs, sheep, hogs, more dogs, and numerous gates.
As we headed out of Almaden de la Plata, we found this great sign outlining the distance, ascent, descent and other information, to Real de la Jara. It showed a steep descent followed by a steep ascent halfway through the walk. It may have been shorter than previous days but no less challenging in terms of terrain……a grand roller coaster of a walk. But so beautiful and interesting.
We took our time. Just past the sign, we were surrounded by a herd of goats led by a huge dog. I said, “Hola Perro! Hola Perro!” in the sweetest, kindest, most loving voice I could summon up. Well! That great big dog just left his loyal flock and came over for a cuddle and stayed….and then a second one came over for a cuddle too….thank heavens the flock knew where to go lol. They were followed by their human herder in a car.
Continued on, through a gate, and onto a farmer’s property. Grand old house, beautifully maintained surrounded by pasturelands. As we walked two more dogs showed up – we’d seen some sheep and kind of expected to see some dogs. I thought of them as gentle giants. Used the same loving voice and they responded the same way, all the while herding us toward the exit gate. They were so lovely and very quickly had me pegged as the soft touch. I was glad to have my walking stick, just in case. Soon, another small happy and yappy dog showed up, asking for attention and those two gentle giants, kept him in his place, gently but firmly. He wanted attention and cuddles too but those two giants had other ideas and kept him on the outskirts. I was walking behind Mike and one of the giants noticed the bag of food that Mike had slung from the back of his pack and tried nipping at it. I said a firm “NO!” And he came and gave me a gentle nip. I swung my stick around a bit and he backed off but still….escorted us to the cattle crossing and stayed there a while, making sure we weren’t coming back. I looked back and could still see him sitting there watching, then sauntering over to a pile of sheep sh** and taking a bite!!. Beautiful dogs they are. I’ve seen them before but can’t remember the breed.
Onwards, we meandered our way past numerous farms and through numerous gates, for the first 6 – 7 km. Once again we were in a “Parque Natural” where there were lots of domestic animals.
Then the roller coaster started and it was a strenuous up and down walk for the next 5 – 6 km. Through acorn forests again. Very lovely walk, especially as we were happy to meander.
Had a lovely rest just past a “mud bath” where hogs were wallowing. As we rested, we kept hearing “hog sounds” which seemed to be getting louder and louder until we decided it was a good idea to get on our feet and wander along….I’m not well informed on hogs and their degree of friendliness. Lifting packs onto shoulders, we saw a few hogs rooting around not far from where we’d been sitting, totally minding their own business but still….!
Got to Real de la Jara around 2:30 and decided to try the albergue Alojamiento Molina and got a private room there. Same routine….showers first, laundry, snooze, prep packs for tomorrow, then out for something to eat and drink.