Feb-May 2018, Hiking in Spain

Tue, 16 Jan 2018

Good deal via Kayak on roundtrip between San Francisco and Madrid: $525. Will require additional flight from Sofia to Madrid, but should be able to do that for about $100, so that's cost of $625 versus $1279 I paid lat year to fly open jaw San Francisco to Madrid then Sofia to San Francisco.

Somewhat leery of booking through Kayak rather than directly through airline website, but low price justifies risk. All fights coded British Airways. At least 2 hour layovers. Good departure and arrival times for my purposes. Feb 21 flight passes through Heathrow. Oct 31 flight passes through Chicago. Unlikely to be winter storms that early in season. If there is storm and thus delay, no big deal for me.

Barcelona to Kiev $145 on Vueling.

Paid for first week rent on Kiev apartment via AirBnb, with agreement to pay cash for remainder of summer. Same apartment and landlord as last year. AirBnb rate was $25/night and I offered to pay that as well for remaining days, without negotiating for monthly discount, since I was very happy in that apartment last year and $25/night is within my budget.

Wed, 14 Feb 2018

Made some progress buying and cutting fabric for lifetime inventory of gear, but no progress sewing. Brought machine out of storage, but only used it once to repair existing gear and then sew up newly designed rack mudguard for bicycle, as yet untested under field conditions. Rest of month, machine just sat idle on floor. Not too worried. When I'm ready to sew, I'll sew. Forcing myself to sew before I'm ready will just make me hate sewing.

Tue, 20 Feb 2018

Stayed in "bedbug motel" these past 5 weeks, at $271/week including 13% city tax first 4 weeks, then $240 for 5th week, but no more bedbugs, though I can still detect some bedbug smell in room, probably from dead bedbugs in the bed frame. Evidently they've invented a new insecticide that works against bedbugs. Let's hope this insecticide doesn't also affect us humans. No noise from neighbors and not much from street. For whatever reason, this motel makes me feel more at home than nicer short-term apartment place across the street. Reno housing situation much better in winter than summer, so good that I'm gone in summer.

Feel like I'm becoming dangerously over-confident and careless about trip preparation, due to having done same thing so many times before. System well thought out, but doesn't help if I don't follow system.

Wed, 21 Feb 2018

$11 to wrap backpack in plastic. Initial flight departed about 21:00. Slept about 6 hours. While not sleeping, diverted myself with smartphone (music, Russian podcasts, ebooks), thereby avoiding temptations of in-flight magazine, films and other mental junk food proffered by airline.

Thu, 22 Feb 2018

Arrived in Spain late in evening. 700€ cash from ATMs (300€ CapOne = $370.49 @ .5% from mid-market rate, 200€ Ally = $249.47 @ 1.4% from mid-market, 200€ BofI = $247.22 + $2.47 @ 1.5% from mid-market) to add to 80€ on hand. 7.5€ metro to Méndez Álvaro (2€ base fare, 3€ airport supplement, 2.5€ reusable card), with change given from 20€ bill inserted into payment machine. 37.50€ night bus to Granada, leaving 2:15, arriving 6:45.

Fri, 23 Feb 2018

Waited around in Granada for Movistar store to open at 9:30. Prepaid service: 15€ every 28 days for 2GB data; 0.30€/call; moderate international rates; 55€ initial balance, which should be enough for 3 months usage. Bought food. 2.65€ bus to Nigüelas. Walked to Lanjarón. No weakness despite jetlag. 20€ single occupancy at Hotel Lanjarón.

Sat, 24 Feb 2018

Another night in Lanjarón to overcome jetlag. Bought food for tomorrow.

Sun, 25 Feb 2018

Cool morning, soon finally came out from behind clouds around noon. Hostal in Pampaneira full. Hostal in Bubión closed. 25€ single occupancy at Hostal Atalaya in Capileira.

Mon, 26 Feb 2018

Followed high route GR240 rather than low route GR7 from Caplieira to Trevélez. Few patches of snow/ice. 20€ at Hostal Fernando.

Tue, 27 Feb 2018

Decided to stay extra might in Trevélez. Much rain scheduled in week ahead, and want to go slow to avoid some of it. Also, body still getting into hiking condition and sleep schedule still not adjusted for time change.

Wed, 28 Feb 2018

Día de Andalucía holiday. Cold, windy, overcast, occasional light rain. 20€ for single occupancy at Pensión Cadí in Cádiar. Started raining heavily just after I arrived at hotel.

Thu, 01 Mar 2018

"Beast from the East" causing record-breaking low temperatures and snowfall all over Europe. According to eltiempo.es, rain but no snow at Puerto de La Ragua (2041m) between Laroles and La Calahorra. Paid for three nights in hotel (through tomorrow). Long ago, walking in near-freezing rain excited me as a challenge, but having proved many times I can handle such conditions, now I prefer comfort. Goal is to maximize happiness, which requires frequent hiking/biking/camping, but frequent doesn't mean every day.

Fri, 02 Mar 2018

Cold rain and wind all day.

Sat, 03 Mar 2018

No rain in morning and even a bit of sun now and then. Bought three days food, enough to get to La Calahorra. Trail not as muddy as I expected, so easy walking to Yegen. 25€ single occupancy at Pensión El Tinao.

Sun, 04 Mar 2018

Slept poorly, with splitting headache developing during night. Maybe flu, maybe food poisoning, maybe perfumes and other chemicals in room. Forced myself to vomit but only liquid came up. Felt somewhat better after filling toilet with foul-smelling shit. Skipped yoga. Walked about 30 minutes in rain, then felt water seeping down back plus legs and boots soaked. Water down back because silicone partially washed out of poncho: need to replace. As for lower body, poncho never intended to protect that. Called Pensión to confirm room still available tonight, then walked back. Owner also soaked from working on her roof to clear drains and puddles (roof flat, like most roofs in Alpujarras villages). 8.50€ for meal. Clear sky and sunny in afternoon.

Mon, 05 Mar 2018

Slept well enough, with no headache in morning, which rules out flu, since recovery from flu would not be so quick, and also chemicals in room, leaving food poisoning as probable cause of yesterday's illness. Maybe unwashed green pepper in Cádiar. Continued cold rain off and on, so decided to stay another night in Yegen.

Tue, 06 Mar 2018

Blue sky in morning, becoming cloudy later in day. Camped at usual spot a few km past Bayárcal. Light rain began shortly after setting up tarp and continued several hours.

Wed, 07 Mar 2018

Blue sky in morning again. No space for safely falling from handstand, so replaced with crow during yoga. Trail just north of La Posada de los Arrieros (which is closed, with evidence of vandals/thieves breaking in through windows) overgrown with wild roses. Managed to get through without tearing clothes or backpack, but henceforth probably best to stick to road until Puerto de la Ragua. Sticking to road also avoids snow, mud and overflowing streams in valley this time of year. 25€ at Hostal LaBella in La Calahorra. Room stank horribly from electric scent-dispenser in bathroom. Moved dispenser to balcony and left balcony doors open for an hour, which reduced but didn't entirely eliminate stink.

Thu, 08 Mar 2018

Mild headache in morning, maybe from residual stink, maybe from not enough sleep (woke up at 3am and couldn't get back to sleep afterwards). Walked to Alcudia de Guadix via dirt road (road only partially shown on street and topo maps, but clearly visible in entirety on Google maps satellite view). Store in La Calahorra has always been poorly stocked in the past (didn't even bother checking today) and I need three days food to get to Baza. Store in Alcudia well-stocked. Bought four days to allow going slow. I'm tired of hotels and want to camp some. Camped in gully on way to Charches. Site stealthy and sheltered from strong west wind.

Fri, 09 Mar 2018

Blue sky, mild temps and calm all day: beautiful hiking weather. Camped at usual spot at 1800m altitude. Became cloudy and starting raining towards sundown, with wind from west.

Sat, 10 Mar 2018

Lots of snow on road at 2000m, not difficult to walk over but enough to stop ordinary motor vehicles. Most snow I've ever seen in these mountains and yet usually I come through a week earlier. Camped in pine forest about 2km past El Narváez. Started raining heavily just as I was setting up camp. Managed not to get too wet while erecting tarp.

Problems with Bluetooth connection, so restarted phone to fix. Upon powering back up, date reset to Oct 30 of last year and time also reset to something incorrect. More seriously, several folders lost from removable microSD card. Tried restoring from backup microSD card, but evidently primary card defective (possibly reformatting would fix). Replaced with backup microSD card (carrying two backup microSD cards, I should note). Only lost data was updated website files, but current version of those files on website itself, so can finish restore tomorrow when I get internet connection. Copied essential files (Russian language learning recordings, ebooks, some music) from removable microSD card to internal storage of smartphone, in case problem occurs again. Will also copy essential files to internal storage on spare smartphone.

Sun, 11 Mar 2018

Rain and wind off and on all night and into morning. Yoga, breakfast and packing up during break in rain. Rain resumed later and I was soaked by time I reached Hostal Casa Grande in Baza. Paid for 2 nights at 20€/night.

Recovered files from website then copied all essential files to internal storage of spare phone. Soon thereafter, noticed microSD cards in both primary and spare phones showed same problem of mysteriously erased files as occurred with original microSD card. Probably software bug or virus, since no previous problems like this with primary smartphone and original microSD card during more than a year of usage. So now all three microSD cards I was carrying are corrupted, with no way to recover lost media files until I return to Reno in November (computer techs could probably recover files on cards using file recovery software). All 3 microSD cards 128GB Samsung brand, 2 different models, purchased direct from Amazon (versus third-party vendor on Amazon) so unlikely to be counterfeit. Regardless, card can't be cause of problem given that original card worked fine for a year and then that card and both spares became corrupted in the same way at the same time in two different phones.

Important documents backed up to cloud, website files backed up to website itself, but media files (language recordings, music, photos, ebooks) too large for online backup, though I did backup a few critical media files online (recent photos, critical ebooks). In the future, get phone with 128GB internal storage plus 128GB removable microSD card. Use removable card to initialize contents of internal storage (in case need to purchase new phone while traveling or factory reset existing phone), then immediately remove card. Eventually, online backup will be viable even for media files and microSD cards will no longer be necessary.

Mon, 12 Mar 2018

Stayed up late last night reflecting on what I did wrong regarding microSD cards. Should have assumed software bug, virus or hardware failure in phone was responsible for lost data on microSD card, thus should have waited until I got to Baza, so as to reformat and rebuild original microSD card from backup microSD cards using computers at internet cafe or computer store. If original microSD card shown to be defective, then replace with new card, which should be available for purchase somewhere in city. However, since original card not defective, next step would be to reinsert original microSD card into original phone and try to reproduce problem. Eventually, I would reach conclusion that software bug or virus is problem and workaround is copy files to internal memory rather than using removable microSD cards. Same conclusion as now, but with difference that I would still have 2 intact backup microSD cards. After again reformating and rebuilding original microSD card, I would have 3 backups, whereas now I have none. Quite incompetent of me to have messed up like this, given my computer background.

Slight headache in morning from lack of sleep, but nevertheless able to do usual yoga.

300€ plus 3€ local bank (BBVA) ATM fee = $374.44 withdrawn from CapitalOne account, 1.53€ or .5% currency conversion fee versus mid-market rate, according to XE currency.

Tue, 13 Mar 2018

Camped at usual spot, just past Embalse del Negretín.

Wed, 14 Mar 2018

Zero day, which I had planned for, hence plenty food and water on hand. Beautiful campsite amid pines, perfect weather, birds singing: why leave this for hotel room?

Thu, 15 Mar 2018

Wind and rain much of night, continuing into morning, clearing long enough to allow packing up and partial yoga, then light drizzle resumed, finally cool and dry in afternoon. 25€ single occupancy at Hostal Montecarlo in Cúllar. Forecast of bitter cold for next week or so.

Fri, 16 Mar 2018

Mostly overcast and cold, occasional sun, occasional drizzle. Camped in pine forest 2km before Orce.

Sat, 17 Mar 2018

Cold wind from west in morning. Should have sought a more sheltered campsite yesterday. Skipped yoga and breakfast so as to get out of wind as fast as possible. Skipped Russian study as well. Started drizzling right after I arrived in Huéscar. Bought food for next two days. 25€ single occupancy at Hostal Ruta del Sur.

Sun, 18 Mar 2018

Camped in pine forest 10km north of Huéscar. Light rain during night.

Mon, 19 Mar 2018

Clear sky overhead on morning, clouds to southwest and strong cold wind from that direction while hiking, light drizzle in afternoon. 20€ single occupancy at Hostal Puerta de Andalucía in Puebla de Don Fadrique. Movistar mobile phone service not available for some reason, maybe high winds knocked down antennas.

Tue, 20 Mar 2018

Decided to stay another night at hostal. Cold, mostly clear sky, with occasional clouds and wisps of dry snow. Mobile service still out. Studied Russian several hours rather than the usual 30 minutes or so.

Wed, 21 Mar 2018

Put chlorine-dioxide tablet in each Nalgene water bottle, after filling with water, first such maintenance this trip.

Blue sky all day. Cool dry breeze from north. Water on at main fuente on Cañada de la Cruz, however I carried 5L out of Puebla de Don Fadrique so didn't need more water. Camped at usual spot amid pines at 1390m, tarp facing southeast, because forecast for strong wind from northwest tonight, with temps of -8°C. Stored water bottles near head and under several layers fabric for insulation (backpack, neckpurse, food and electronics sacks).

Thu, 22 Mar 2018

Slept cold at times but well enough. Remained under quilt until 10am waiting for sun to rise and warm things up. 20€ single occupancy at Pensión El Nevazo on El Sabinar. Made reservation for hotel in Cieza for Monday. Semana Santa next week, so hotels potentially all full.

Fri, 23 Mar 2018

Sheep dog followed me all the way from El Sabinar to where I camped (behind ruins, 1km west of Camping la Puerta) despite my giving him absolutely no encouragement or food. Felt annoyed by his company, which suggests my old idea of girlfriend to hike and otherwise travel with me would never have worked out. Granted, dog who I don't even want to pet because he is so filthy is different from girlfriend with whom I have sex, but it's possible to extrapolate. Stray cats and escorts (paid girlfriends) I can get along with, because they don't threaten my independence in any way, whereas dogs and normal girlfriends are always to some extent dependents. Wife and children still more dependent. Always knew I wasn't cut out to be a family man, question was whether I preferred complete solitude versus companionship of some sort. Today's experience suggests complete solitude my true preference.

After setting up tarp, lay down inside, then got up an hour or so later to relieve myself. Dog gone, what a relief! Over 25km he walked with me, so 50km total if he finds his way back directly, more if he makes false turns and has to backtrack. Maybe he'll learn from the experience, same as me, though of course a different lesson.

Small blisters on both heels, apparently caused by odor control insoles. Removed these insoles at end of day. Several years ago, similar heel blisters caused by cushioning insoles that come installed by boot manufacturer. Ever since then, I've been hiking without insoles. Lack of insoles means boots start to stink after month or so, which is why I decided to experiment with thin odor control insoles this year. These worked fine for city walking in Reno and for a few weeks here in Spain, however evidently these thin insoles eventually deform and then cause same problems as thicker cushioning insoles.

Sat, 24 Mar 2018

Furious wind and occasional rain last night, but temperatures not too cold. Sun out in morning, with continued furious wind from northwest. Resupplied in Moratalla. Camped in usual ravine about 10km east of town. Blisters again on both heels, becoming painful towards end of day. Small tear on backpack: applied duct tape then sewed to hold in place.

Sun, 25 Mar 2018

Some drizzle during night, not heavy. Wind finally died down to gentle breeze. Partly cloudy all day with mild temps. First nice day for hiking since about 10 days ago. Loaded up with 5L water in Calasparra, after drinking 1L with lunch and 1L with breakfast. Camped about 2km after Embalse Alfonso XIII.

Blisters on heels not so bad as past two days. Drained blister on left heel using needle, though some misgivings about this, due to possibility of infection.

Mon, 26 Mar 2018

Spotted adult tick on pants leg while resting amid olive trees near Cieza. Not the sort of place I'd expect to find ticks. Arrived in Cieza with about 1L water left. Cool both today and yesterday, so carrying 5L out of Calasparra not excessive. 55€ single occupancy at Hospedería San Sebastian in Cieza, breakfast included. Continued issue with blisters on heels, though able to walk without too much pain. Drained both blisters after showering. Made reservation for hotel in Elda via booking.com for Friday, paid for using BofA credit card.

Tue, 27 Mar 2018

300€ plus 3€ local bank (BBVA) ATM fee = $377.94 withdrawn from CapitalOne account, .18€ or .1% currency conversion fee versus mid-market rate, according to XE currency.

Carried 5L water out of Cieza, after drinking 2L with second breakfast near supermarket (first breakfast was at hotel). Sunny and warm with moderate north wind. Camped about 15km from Cieza. Short day to give feet chance to recover, which they are doing, albeit slowly. Felt hungry about 10pm and gobbled up most of peanuts intended for tomorrow.

Wed, 28 Mar 2018

At long last, after over a month of stormy weather, woke up to absolute stillness and bird song rather than the sound of wind. Gentle breeze later in day, but still fairly calm, with blue sky and warm temps. Faucet on side of Venta Roman restaurant not working. Ran out of water and arrived somewhat dehydrated at Torre del Rico. Drank 2 liters there, ate remaining sandwiches, camped about 2km further on. Feet almost fully recovered.

Thu, 29 Mar 2018

Another warm sunny and mostly calm day. Camped at usual spot about 7km past Pinoso.

Fri, 30 Mar 2018

Cooler and windy again. Good Friday, so stores closed. 30€ single occupancy at Habitaciones Petrer in Elda. Feet fully recovered.

Sat, 31 Mar 2018

Slept poorly, not sure why. Bought three days food at store. Strong cold wind from south. Camped amid pines on way to Castalla.

Sun, 01 Apr 2018

Wind gone, clear sky, mild temps. Though Easter Sunday, one supermarket open in Castalla, so bought some more food and also picked up water from fuente. Camped 1km past Santuario de la Font Roja.

Mon, 02 Apr 2018

Lunes de Pascua, so most stores closed. 41€ at Hostal Savoy in Alcoy.

Tue, 03 Apr 2018

Stumbled and fell on my way out of Alcoy. Body unhurt but pants leg tore. Sewed on patch to keep tear from expanding. Not too unsightly, however pants no longer acceptable for tango dancing or other dressy events in Ukraine. Luckily, carrying spare pants (and spare shirt). Camped 1km after Camping Mariola, same place as last year. Used spare phone for navigation today, since battery usage less and power will be an issue this week. Use primary phone for using notes, reading, listening to music.

Wed, 04 Apr 2018

Wind back with a vengeance in afternoon: tarp flapping furiously even though pitched very low. Spare phone working very well. Primary phone needs new battery. Camped on way to Vallada.

Thu, 05 Apr 2018

Wind mercifully died down during night. Calm with blue skies in morning. Left Vallada with 8.5L water, 3 days food, fully hydrated after eating last meal of day. Camped at usual spot 6km north of town.

Fri, 06 Apr 2018

Overcast and cool temps, so water consumption lower than anticipated. Almost 5L left upon arriving at campsite.

Sat, 07 Apr 2018

Drizzling all morning, so decided to take a zero day. Skipped yoga. Fasted, since only two days food on hand. Also drank no water, since not thirsty. Drizzle ended in afternoon, then heavy rain in evening, accompanied by cold wind. Location in dry river canyon protected to some extent, however strong gusts dipped down into and bounced off walls of canyon, so strong wind from all directions occasionally. Twice strong gusts pulled out tarp stakes, even though heavy rocks on top (sandy ground). Put heavier rock on stakes that pulled out and they held thereafter. Rain stopped sometime during night but cold wind continued.

Sun, 08 Apr 2018

Windy, cool, partly cloudy. No difficulty with morning yoga despite fasting yesterday. Streams that were running last year were dry this year. Arrived at Collado Caroche fully hydrated and with 1L water remaining, so carried too much out of Vallada for cool conditions these last few days. What I carried would have been appropriate for warmer weather.

Mon, 09 Apr 2018

25€ single occupancy at Hostal Chema in Cortes de Pallas. One 10000mAh power pack almost depleted, other still mostly full. Spare phone has much better battery life than primary, either because newer battery or because lower resolution and thus less power-hungry screen.

Tue, 10 Apr 2018

Another night at hostal, mainly to avoid forecast rain but also to catch up on Russian study, which I've been neglecting, in favor of listening to tango music or simply lying under quilt doing nothing, not even thinking.

Wed, 11 Apr 2018

Cold, overcast, windy, lightly raining: unpleasant hiking weather, but didn't want to stay another night in Cortes de Pallás. Parts of trail south of Venta Gaeta recently cleared: welcome improvement, since this section very overgrown previous times I've been through, and still very overgrown in places. Soaking wet by time I reached Venta Gaeta. Lunch at restaurant for 10€. Mainly interested in warming up and drying out, since plenty of food in backpack. Trail north of Venta Gaeta also recently cleared: another very overgrown section in past. Rain stopped in afternoon, but furious wind continued. Knocked down once and constantly stumbling on account of wind. Hiking stick bent during one stumble: straightened it by beating with rock. Camped in pine forest just north of Campamento de Tabarla. Perhaps because of configuration of cliffs, calm at campsite itself, however noise of wind overhead very loud. Started raining again lightly soon after I set up tarp.

Thu, 12 Apr 2018

Overcast and cool in morning, but dry, with continued wind. Sun came out about noon. Bought water and chocolate at Repsol mini-mart at El Rebollar rest stop. Camped 3km further along GR7. Body feels tired, perhaps from fighting wind and cold.

Fri, 13 Apr 2018

Rained during night. Partly cloudy and warmer in morning. 31€ single occupancy at Hotel Avenida in Requena.

300€ with no local ATM fee (CajaMar) = $372.22 withdrawn from CapitalOne account, 1.62€ or .5% currency conversion fee versus mid-market rate, according to XE currency.

Sat, 14 Apr 2018

Finally nice weather again: mild temps, little wind, sunny with scattered clouds. Camped in field, same place as last year or year before.

Sun, 15 Apr 2018

Frost on tarp and ice in water bottles. But warm enough after sun rose to exercise and eat breakfast shirtless. Called Posada de Chelva from a few km from town, to confirm room available (otherwise I was prepared to camp). Owner said he was in Alicante and wouldn't be back until late, but Mat 26 cafe next door had key and could let me in, and so they did when I arrived. 30€ single occupancy at La Posada de Chelva.

Mon, 16 Apr 2018

Stayed another night because feeling tired. Also, might rain today.

Tue, 17 Apr 2018

Beautiful day: mild temps, blue sky, little wind. Camped in pines about one km before Alcotas.

Wed, 18 Apr 2018

Another beautiful day. Camped near Collado de la Salada.

Thu, 19 Apr 2018

Wind again but not ferocious. Otherwise, another beautiful day. Water not working at Fonda in Bejís. Gave me phone number of apartment for rent, but no answer. Bought some food, filled water bottles, camped a few km north of town.

Fri, 20 Apr 2018

Less wind than yesterday and partly cloudy, but otherwise another beautiful day. As usual, trail terribly overgrown ascending out of valley from Mas del Limpiabotas. Several small tears in my pants due to thorns. Blown down trees, hundreds of them, thankfully cleared on trail descending towards Montán. Last year I had to climb under and around all these trees. Camped at usual spot after Montán.

Sat, 21 Apr 2018

Beautiful weather continues. Trail blocked in places from blown down trees, same as last year. Bought food in Montanejos. Camped beside trail, in pines about 3km south of San Vicente Piedrahita.

Sun, 22 Apr 2018

Small holes in heels of both socks. Overcast sky with occasional very light drizzle, but otherwise nice hiking weather: mild temps, little wind. 25€ single occupancy at Hostal Ruta de Aragon in Villahermosa del Río.

Mon, 23 Apr 2018

To sleep late last night due to wasting time on internet forums, then awake early, so only about three hours sleep. Nevertheless felt good in morning, with sneezing gone. Sneezing and drippy nose resumed while hiking. Maybe allergy to spring blossoms, especially cottonwoods and other vegetation in valley bottom, since less sneezing higher up. Cut day short and camped before Sant Joan de Penyagolosa.

Tue, 24 Apr 2018

Nose clear in morning and remained clear all day, but some diarrhea later, so evidently some sort of minor illness which I recovered from quickly. Beautiful weather continues. Bought food in Vistabella. Camped on terraced pastures on descent to Río Monleón canyon. Beautiful view from campsite but ground less soft and more covered with cow crap than appearance of terraces from distance would indicate.

Wed, 25 Apr 2018

More beautiful weather. Scratched my legs on aliagas ascending from barranco on overgrown PR-CV1 trail. 30€ single occupancy at Hotel Los Arcos in Villafranca del Cid.

Thu, 26 Apr 2018

Accuweather had predicted thunderstorms today, but in reality sky blue and beautiful weather continues. Camped on way to La Iglesuela del Cid: very short day. While lying in sun, listening to music, found adult tick crawling on me. Dry, sunny, short grass pasture, so not prime tick territory. But nearby some pines and lots of cow patties underneath, probably their resting spot in summer heat, so maybe tick crawled from there.

Fri, 27 Apr 2018

Thunderstorms in afternoon, with rain and hail at times, mostly after I set up tarp. Camped on GR8 about 10km from Fortanete, in forest for protection from wind, which is starting to pick up again after these two weeks of mostly calm weather.

Sat, 28 Apr 2018

Camped amid pines on high pastures. Rain, hail, occasional lightning and thunder starting in evening and continuing off and on during night.

Less than month before trip over and I leave for Ukraine. Time finally feels like it's moving slowly now that I'm camping more rather than staying so often in hotels. Not taking photos and repeating same route as past two years makes things more relaxed. Considered giving up trip report, though they are still useful for collecting information. I frequently refer to last year's trip report.

Sun, 29 Apr 2018

Cold and windy in morning. Wind picked up as I ascended, headwind, accompanied by sleet blowing horizontally into my face. Hiked several hours then passing motorist offered ride to Valdelinares, which I accepted. 25€ single occupancy at Hostal Damian. Ate at restaurant there: very generous portion of meat, most meat I've eaten at a single sitting in many years.

Mon, 30 Apr 2018

Temps well below freezing in morning. Patches of snow/ice in north facing hollows at 1800m and above. Bought food in Alcalá de la Selva, camped at 1400m along GR8 on way to Mora de Rubielos. Some sunshine and starting to warm up in late afternoon. Light wet snow during night.

Tue, 01 May 2018

Holiday. Ice on tarp and partly frozen water bottles (forgot to put them under backpack for insulation). Temperatures warmed up as day progressed, especially when sun not hidden by clouds. Camped about 2km from Valbona. Stupidly chose campsite not far from some sort of shepherd building with dogs around. Thought dogs were tied up, but evidently one was free. He detected me soon after sunset, barked loudly at me for several hours, then finally went silent so I could sleep.

Wed, 02 May 2018

Sky clear and warmer than yesterday. Camped a few km past Valbona, so short day. Nice quiet campsite on sandy banks of dry river.

Thu, 03 May 2018

While eating lunch in park in Puebla de Valverde, prior to checking into hotel there, Guardia Civil vehicle stopped and asked to see my passport: first such request this trip. Everything in order, of course. 35€ single occupancy at Hotel Horno. Noise from neighboring room very audible, including snoring.

Fri, 04 May 2018

Overcast and much cooler than yesterday. Camped on way to Camarena de la Sierra.

Sat, 05 May 2018

Sky mostly clear in morning and much warmer than yesterday. Overcast with drizzle in late afternoon. Camped along GR10 on way to Villel.

Sun, 06 May 2018

Rooms not cleaned at La Antigua Posada in Villel when I arrived at 4pm so they weren't willing to rent. Didn't want to hang around arguing because rain threatening, so backtracked about a km along GR10 and camped on grassy terrace. Rain started soon after setting up tarp, heavy at times with occasional thunder.

Mon, 07 May 2018

Drizzle off and on. Camped on way to Bezas.

Tue, 08 May 2018

Camped on way to Albarracín. Sound of wild boar investigating nearby during night. I roared and it moved away.

Wed, 09 May 2018

30€ single occupancy at Hostal Parada del Carmen in Albarracín. Noise from neighboring room.

While preparing for trip to Ukraine later this month, discovered that AirBnb requires phone number verification to activate smartphone app, however my number in Spain not in AirBnb database. Able to get website access using just email verification. Added Spain phone number to profile, then discovered that AirBnb requires 14 days waiting period before newly added phone numbers can be used for verification purposes, by which time I will be out of Spain. Maybe get Skype virtual number, though that doesn't support SMS. At least website works.

Thu, 10 May 2018

Performed morning yoga on terrace outside hostal, since ceiling too low inside room for handstand. Fine weather. Following GR10 to Monterde de Albarracín, then camped along PR-TE4, heading towards Torre de Albarracín.

Fri, 11 May 2018

More fine weather. Camped along PR-TE1, heading towards Albarracín.

Sat, 12 May 2018

Camped same place as Tuesday.

Sun, 13 May 2018

Woke up late and skipped most of morning yoga. Much cooler temperatures, cool enough to require wearing jacket much of day. Camped just after Rubiales, along PR-TE6 heading towards Teruel.

Mon, 14 May 2018

Bought bus ticket for Friday. 25€/night for 4 nights at Hostal Aragón in Teruel, single occupancy with bath.

Confirmed arrangements for apartment in Kiev with landlady. Somewhat sorry I didn't rent apartment for Friday, to allow early check-in Saturday morning.

300€ plus 3€ local ATM fee (BBVA) = $363.30 withdrawn from CapitalOne account, 0.54€ or .2% currency conversion fee versus mid-market rate, according to XE currency.

Holes in heels and toes of both socks, which are socks I started with new in February. Still several weeks usage possible, but threw them out nevertheless since two spare pairs remaining plus one pair over-the-calf dress socks as additional spare. Tossed some foot powder into boots and installed activated carbon odor control insoles.

Put chlorine-dioxide tablet into each water bottle.

Washed jacket, mittens, insulated hat, backpack, neckpurse and various stuff sacks in bathtub, in addition to normal laundry performed every hotel stop (shirt, pants, socks, sleep hat, jacket/pillow stuff sack).

Bought dress shirt (40€, spare for dress shirt already in backpack) and city shoes (50€, reduced from 100€ for clearance) for use in Ukraine. City shoes lace-up rather than slip-on moccasins like last year, which became loose after a few weeks as leather and stitching stretched.

Tue, 15 May 2018

Woke up in morning with terrible headache, probably from sleeping poorly. Headache didn't disappear until late in day.

Bought some dental floss at Mercadona which is better (thin but strong, resists shredding) than floss I carried from United States. Big change from fifteen years ago, when I remember trying several brands of floss in France and all were junk compared to USA brands.

Wed, 16 May 2018

Slept poorly again, but no headache like yesterday. Just very tired upon awakening.

Thu, 17 May 2018

Slept okay for a change, but still not as well as outdoors. Maybe try sleeping on floor using camping gear.

Fri, 18 May 2018

32€ bus to Barcelona, 4.6€ subway to airport, 7€ to wrap backpack in plastic. Late night flight to Kiev, arriving early Saturday morning.

Comments

Maybe arrive earlier in day in Madrid, to allow buying Movistar service immediately rather than next morning in Granada. Then again, that would mean longer wait for night bus.

Lost interest in taking photos, though did take a few selfies for my own use. And not as many philosophical comments as in previous trip reports. Nothing to say or no interest in saying what I do have to say. But very much enjoyed this trip. Repeating same route over and over makes things so much easier.

Not counting initial night on bus, total of 84 nights in Spain, of which 57% or 48 nights wild camping, and 43% or 36 nights in hotels. 927€ total hotel expenses, or average of 26€/night for nights in hotels.

80€ on hand upon arrival, 1900€ from ATMs (not counting ATM and currency conversion fees), 175€ on hand upon departure, so 1805€ total expenses, under 22€/day for 85 days. Difficult to spend much when camping most of time. Also, not much I want to buy anymore.