And on sleepy Saturdays when the weather’s too shitty to head up to the Pyrenees, sometimes we hike around town.
And sometimes we trick our amigos into going with us 🙂
I’ve mentioned the “Sistema Ibérico” quite a bit on the blog. It’s one of the major systems of mountain ranges on the Peninsula, stretching from the southern part of La Rioja region to the Mediterranean coast in Valencia. It’s most iconic peaks are Moncayo, Picos de Urbion and my hometown favorite Pico del Rayo. And it’s in our backyard!!
We have brilliant views of the Sierra de la Virgen (the ridge just behind the pueblo of Aniñón) from “Armantes” or Los Castillejos in Calatayud.. so we decided to see what the other side looked like. And of course enjoy the views of our pueblo from atop Pico Cabrera.
The best thing about being in my 30s is that all the homies are getting into sports and physical activity again. We have a ladies biking club. A solid Sunday hiking crew. And yeah, we are absolutely motivated by the vermouth, beers and pinchos that await us after a good sweat.
The route starts from the Illueca.. a town famous for Pedro Martínez de Luna y Pérez de Gotor, known as el “Papa Luna” in Spanish. He was an Aragonese nobleman, who as Benedict XIII, is considered an antipope by the Catholic church. Originally he was buried in the castle of Peñiscola (a Mediterranean coastal village) but was later moved to his castle in Illueca (it’s gorgeous, and converted into a hotel).
Currently the region of Illueca is famous for it’s shoe factories! Good Spanish leather, amigo!
So the hike: in total it’s about 12 km round trip, but ¡OJO! almost 900 meters of accumulated elevation gain. It’s easy to think all these hometown hikes are a walk in the park, but many of them give you that sweet quad-burn.
The lighting was brilliant for photos.. and the different tones of green were quite spectacular.
We took it easy.. made it up and back in about 3.5 hours.
To get to the start of the trail, just past the village entrance on the A-1503, there’s a dirt road marked by a wooden sign which you should follow. Park wherever you can and get going!
Considering we are still technically in winter, the wind and chill factor at the top wasn’t unexpected. We stayed just long enough to snap some pics.
We headed back down following the same route. However as you can see there is an alternative way:
I’m having a hard time uploading my GPX track. Will work on it ASAP!
Hike on, mountain goats!