Spain

Sierra Espuna, Spain: A day of Hiking, Geocaching and Clandestine Ops

Walking between pine forests, farmland and orchards, we enjoyed the gorgeous landscape of the Sierra Espuna. We were on our hunt for our elusive geocaches which often takes us to great scenery and out-of-the-way sights. We left the camper van at a great campsite nearby and went off on our hike. Unbeknown to us we would also be trying to avoid some unwanted attention!  

 

Center map
Traffic
Bicycling
Transit

 

Visiting Sierra Espuna Regional  Park

We had driven for just over four hours when we arrived at our next stop in the Sierra Espuna area. The journey from Cuenca gradually took us from snow-covered fields and grey skies to green hills and palm trees in the Murcia area of Spain.

We decided to stay in a well located, reasonably priced basic campsite, Camperstop Sierra Espuna. It is just a short five-minute drive from the town of Totana, also known as ‘Potter City’. The site is also near the Regional Park of Sierra Espuna, an area of outstanding beauty.

We found that there were a few geocaches in the area, so we set out on what became a 15km hike. The first cache was 3.5km away and for some reason I always forget that the distance is ‘as the crow flies’ and not necessarily the actual distance!

Geocaching on our Hike

Luckily the sun was shining and although only about 5 degrees outside, we weren’t too cold. At the beginning of the route there were a few villas, most of which were guarded by dogs which came bounding towards the fences and barking wildly as we passed. By the time we reached the end of the road it sounded like we were in a dog kennel! Not sure how the neighbours cope with that!

We walked between pine forests, farmland and orchards. We passed many almond trees displaying their beautiful white blossom and a now familiar sight, orange trees. Eventually we came to the first cache,  at the end of a cave tunnel which was quite fun to find.

a tunnel with rocks and green bushes around it
Cave tunnel – first geocache site.

We then headed towards the next cache on our list which took us to the White Virgin ViewpointFrom here, we had magnificent views across the hills of Sierra Espuna.

A tall white statue of the Madonna with a small fence around it
Mirador de la Virgen Blanca – The White Virgin Viewpoint

Finally, going downhill rather than uphill, we headed towards our last cache of the day which was somewhere near the Santa Eulalia de Merida Sanctuary, or otherwise known as La Santa.

A brown building with a tall central clock tower
Santa Eulalia de Merida Sanctuary

The sanctuary dates back to medieval times, when its purpose was to care for those coming to pray to the Martyr, Saint Eulalia. Within the area were gardens abundant with vividly coloured orange and mandarin trees. The fruit looked so tasty that we plucked a couple off but they were way too acidic to eat. Maybe these were just ornamental!

Orange trees with the Sierra Espune Mountains in the background
The gardens of Santa Eulalia de Merida Sanctuary

We found our nano magnetic cache in the area. It was actually the smallest one we have found yet!  Being 7km away from the camper, we set off at a brisk pace with a cup of tea and chocolate croissant firmly in our sights. We believe in the reward system!

A tiny black container about the size of a jellybean
A tiny nano cache hidden in the area. Inside here is a roll of paper to write your tag name on!

Adopted by Two Pooches

Just as we were leaving the sanctuary, a couple of really friendly pooches started following us. This was cute for a while but then after about 4km we realised they had adopted us! We think they were strays even though they looked quite healthy.

A small brown dog
One of the dogs following us

We tried stopping and letting them walk on but they stood patiently waiting. At one point, we even sat down for a while not speaking hoping they would get bored and move on.  After standing still for about 8 minutes the little one just came over and licked our noses! A couple of times they ventured off the track sniffing. At this point we increased our pace and were literally running away from them! We turned and there they were right behind us – happily running behind, tails wagging!

Man with two dogs behind him. One black and white and a smaller brown dog
4km later – still following us!

By now we were worried – we couldn’t face getting back to the van and having to shut the door on them.  We fell in love with a little stray back in Greece and as there is no way we can take an animal with us, we had to leave him behind. It broke our hearts – so we needed these two to stay in the area they knew.

Escapees!

At last we struck it lucky. Both dogs both went off investigating something in the bushes and there were a few bends and alternative paths in front of us. We thought if we were quick we could maybe get out of their sight and make a break for it. Although we’d already been hiking for 12km, we managed to run around a few bends in the track. We then kept speed walking for quite a way, constantly looking over our shoulders. Further down the track we finally relaxed a little. However, still half expecting them to come around the corner, wagging their tails, at any moment!  It’s a good job we’re pretty fit! It was quite funny though – trying to outsmart two pooches!

It was definitely a great day of experiencing nature in all its forms and in addition, we managed to find all three geocaches. 

The campsite was such great value for money with wi-fi and electricity. In fact it was so good we stayed for a few days to catch up on our blogging.

Does anyone have any funny stories involving stray animals? We’d love to hear them. Drop us a line or leave a comment. 

 

Michelle

Author: Michelle

After finishing my Law Degree I decided to become a teacher. I am passionate about teaching and learning and most of all, about inspiring others. I love sharing our travels and journey through our blog, our articles and our photographs and I hope, through these, we can play a part in inspiring you to do whatever ‘satisfies your soul’.

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