|Hiking into the Caldera|
|Opuntia Cactus - "Prickly Pear"|
|Sendero - Caldera from Presillas Bajas|
Joining the Sendero we hiked steadily north for a couple of kilometres on a generally flat, wide and gravelly trail before veering east and ascending very gently into the caldera. Other smaller trails weaved on and off the main one, but we chose to follow the easier flattened track surrounded by scrub including wild thyme, agave and pitas and what appeared to be the remains of irrigation channels, terraces and dry stone walls where people had endeavoured to farm cereal and fruit crops in this arid desert like landscape. In high summer, we realised, this must be a very harsh and forbidding environment with the hot sun baking the earth dry day after day. Today in early January, however, it was just right for short sleeves and a walk in the afternoon sun.
|Arriving at the crater rim|
hiked to before Christmas at the top of Cerro Penones and wondered how spectacular the view would be with such a clear sky as today. As we sat in the sunshine with just the sound of birds singing, the smell of wild thyme in the air and the feeling of a gentle breeze on our faces we felt very at ease and calm. Having passed very few other walkers en route and with no sounds of voices or sight of others it felt very special to be alone in this tranquil bowl of rock and earth.
After around half an hour of just sitting to admire the natural beauty of the caldera we decided it was time to head back. Other onward trail options, such as scrambling up to the crater rim or picking up the trail north to Los Albaricoques could wait for another day. Walking quietly back through the agaves and pitas, we once again felt very lucky to have so much incredible natural beauty right on our doorstep of our chosen campsite in the Cabo de Gata Natural Park. In total we had hiked around 10km over gently sloping tracks, but the reward had been an oasis of stillness in this already isolated and unspoiled landscape. Definitely an easy hike we'd like to repeat during our stay with an extension to one of the other trails nearby as well.
10 Reasons to Visit the Cabo de Gata -Nijar Natural Park - Andalucia, Spain
12 Places to Visit and Things To Do in Cabo de Gata Natural Park
10 Hiking and Walking Routes in the Cabo de Gata - Nijar Natural Park
|View around the crater rim - Caldera de Majada Redonda|
|Looking up at Cerro Penones from the Caldera|
|Enjoying the tranquility - centre of the Caldera looking west to the collapsed lava exit|
|View from the Caldera up to Cerro Penones|
|Cactus, pitas and agaves en route to the Caldera de Majada Redonda|
|Looking back towards the peaks of El Frailes|