A hike over the Mola with Polly

The day started fairly still, Polly (the collie) and I drove up from Mont-roig to Colldejous, the massiv of the Mola looming behind the town and under what was left of a full moon in the early morning light. We snaked through the village and took the trail up and around the east side of the thickly forested slopes towards the pass at the head of the valley. Across the divide we could hear the steady drone of the wind-generator farm serried along the ridges of La Parrica and friends.

Now we turned west to head up the steeply wooded slopes of the Mola itself. Huffing and puffing, sweating as the now freshening and cool wind blew through the trees, and gasping somewhat from the exertion, I wondered how the stents which had been inserted a couple of months earlier would hold up. Until now I’d been exercising them on the flat only, and this was the first time I’d tried a proper “ascent”. It was short, but steep, and I grunted as I tried to keep up with Polly lolloping along as if this was a Sunday stroll in the park. In fairness, it was a Sunday.

As we left the trees, we saw above us a group of 4 or 5 people and a white-ish husky/collie-ish dog ahead of us. We continued gaining height steadily, me panting as I tried to regulate my pace. We appeared to be gaining on the group, which was not too surprising on the one hand as a group will only go as fast as the slowest member, but was surprising on the other hand as I was wheezing a bit and could hear my asthma whistling with each breath. The views around were magnificent as the plateaus of the hills to the north hovered above wisps of cloud and valley fog and to the west the Miranda perched atop it’s blocky ridge peered down over us.

We gained the summit plateau and headed for the shelter of the Castello, an abandoned stone construction of an inner room with an outer protective ring of stone and ditch. The now icy wind whistled through and around the stones, making stopping for a chat with the men and their dog a brief affair. They were of course all Catalans, but we conversed in Castellano or Spanish, as is often the custom here. A short stop and then Polly and I left for warmer climes, the wind buffeting us across the plateau until we reached the relative shelter of some rocks next to a pond atop the plateau. Here we could stop for a more relaxed drink of water and an energy bar while soaking up the view. Looking around, not a tree was to be seen, however, Polly did, naturally, manage to find a stick to have thrown for her.

After a brief pause, we headed off again, following the trail down and to the south as it descended in a large curve towards the Coll Del Guix. The temperature climbed steadily as we lost height and left the exposed ridge to work our way zig-zagging down through the thickening forest. We now followed the wide and easy forestry track back to the village, where I was pleasantly surprised to see the whole hike had taken just 3 hours. Admittedly we’d been walking steadily instead of chatting and dawdling, we could always do that another day. We left the village and drove down to Cambrils for a cup of coffee and some olives tapas at the harbour to round off a very pleasant morning excursion.

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