The Ajuez Gorge near Chóvar is host to the Nevera de Castro snow well and many spectacular views. The route we took involved scramblings and lots of ups and downs! We were lucky enough to have bright and warm sun which showed off the beauty of the gorge and the surrounding area.
The hike started in the town of Chóvar. We walked around the reservior and soon started going uphill via a steep path with loose rocks. We got to see beautiful views of the reservoir and surroundings between the trees.
The path widened out, giving us a short respite from going up but not for long. We headed upwards towards the peak. For much of the trail there were two options, the simple way or the fun way! The easier option being continue to follow the trail and the more fun way (depending on your opinion) was scrambling and climbing round the opposite side of the rock formations before rejoining the trail. The scrambling rocked and although we had to be careful of loose stoned and foliage there were plenty of hand and foot holds that made it an enjoyable option.
We reached the peak which provided wonderful views of the Ajuez valley and numerous photo opportunities for humans, unicorns and Erics alike.
Heading down we passed radio towers and soon got views along the coastline as well as Castle Castro in the distance. We soon came to the UFO which was cunningly disguised as a the nevera de Castro. The snow well (nevera) was built in the 17th century and was restored in the 1990s. The snow well was was used to provide ice for medicines, food and preservation to nearby towns and cities.
We looked down into the well, and unfortunately there was no snow. However, it provided an oppurtunity for deep thought about the amount of snow there would have been in the past. We enjoyed chilling out here for a bit and although there were no aliens we had snow much fun climbing on the roof of the nevera.
Going down from the snow well was steep and the path zig-zagged. Despite the lack of snow, it was still a slippery way down. At the end of the path we came across some bees which were a hive of activity. Fortunately they were not the species the would bee inclined to sting you unless provoked.
We continued on a short distance before stopping for lunch with gorgeous views of the Ajuez gorge. Here we enjoyed the sunshine took a group photo and Dmitry gave me a cookie to bake the day even better.
Our route followed a beautiful trail which gave us great views of the peak and the path we had taken. The geological features of the valley and evidence of landslides meant that it was easy to concentrate on the scenery rather than the path at times! The path started off wide but became narrow with some steeper sections as we got closer to the end.
The final descent was again steep and rocky with the loose ground and stones adding to the challenge but it came out just above above Chóvar. From here we could see blossoming almond trees on the terraces in the distance as well as the ones eaither side of the path.
The sunny day, beautiful views, scrambling and cookies made this hike a great day and the route really showed off the best of the Ajuez valley.