So the title is a white lie. Technically this hiking route starts and ends in Monachil, a little town outside of Granada. Same difference, right?
Wrong. It actually makes all the difference.
You have to take one of the city buses up to Monachil in order to reach the trail, which is no easy task. Granted, I am extremely directionally challenged. However, I do speak Spanish which should make it easier to navigate the bus system. So, instead of trusting our navigational skills, my friend and I asked for directions literally every step of the way:
“Where is the bus stop?”
“Is this the bus stop?”
“Does this bus go to Monachil?”
“Are you going to Monachil?”
“Can we follow you to Monachil?”
Luckily Spanish people are super nice and helpful, and answered all of our questions. Yes, they even let us follow them to Monachil and made sure we got off at the right bus stop.
The bus takes you up to the tiny town of Monachil, and from there on you’re on your own if you didn’t print or screenshot the directions. I’m always over-prepared, so I had screenshots of the hiking route on my phone. While they were quite helpful, we still didn’t really know where we were going.
The first part of the hike was mostly flat, and led us along a river and through a gorge. Some of the paths were questionable to say the least. Usually there wasn’t actually enough room on the trail to walk because a giant boulder was all up in your personal space bubble, and the river was below, so they had installed handles for you to grab onto. That way you could maneuver around the giant rock (hopefully) without falling into the river!
Or sometimes crawling under rocks was necessary. Even I couldn’t duck underneath them, and I can normally fit into small spaces pretty well.
Then came the bridges. Engineering was one of the many majors I dabbled in when I started college, and I can say, in my very professional opinion, these bridges were sketchy af.
Some boards were missing. Sometimes chicken wire was used as the walls, which was also falling off into the middle of the bridge. They seemed stable for the most part, but the bouncy, swinging motion was a wee bit unsettling.
Up until this point, there had been no uphill climbs and I wasn’t complaining. And then all of a sudden, it began.
Trying to conceal my heavy breathing (man, am I really that out of shape?), we walked alllllllllllllll they way to the top of the mountain. At one point there was a fence blocking the road, and it looked like we shouldn’t pass through it. But we just hopped over and hoped we weren’t on private property!
Once we finally got to the top, I understood why this route is so popular despite the aggressive uphill climb. The views were prime, to say the least.
And then we walked all the way back down the mountain, passing through a sparsely populated area of what looked to be olive farms. It was very interesting to see the Spanish countryside, especially in Andalucia, an area the was hit the hardest by the economic crisis.
Each house had an average of 3-5 dogs, all of which I wanted to take home with me. Except for two dogs. Some dogs were fenced in, but we came across some dogs randomly strolling along the path. One dog looked pretty beat up, and appeared like it could potentially have rabies. But it paid us no attention and walked on by.
The second dog was a huge pitbull, walking down the street. Now, not to judge pitbulls as a breed, but whenever I see any strange, large dog, I get a little nervous. Cause they could probably eat me. And I’m more of a small dog person anyways. I like hyper, little ankle-biting dogs. Maybe it’s because I self-identify with them.
Anyways, this huge pitbull was lumbering towards us. My friend and I got a little nervous, but he didn’t even look at us when he passed us. I guess two semi-lost Americans were an everyday sight to him.
Downhill we went, through little mountainous neighborhoods, until we finally reached the town of Monachil.
And that’s where we started to have problems.
Apparently the buses don’t run to Monachil past 4:00 PM on Saturdays. So we asked a nice lady playing with her children in the park where the closest bus stop was. She said it was in the Barrio de Monachil.
Monachil neighborhood. That can’t be far, right? We were in Monachil, so the next stop was probably like five minutes away tops.
The next bus stop was about a twenty minute walk away, and the next bus came in five minutes. And after that, an hour later.
So we accepted our fate and started walking. About halfway there, the 181 bus passed us. On it’s way up to Monachil. Where we had just left because it wasn’t supposed to stop there.
Eventually we got to Monachil barrio, asked for help in a cute coffee shop, and waited in there until the bus came.
Morals of the story though:
- Never be afraid to ask for help in a foreign place.
- Check the public transportation schedules before you go somewhere.
The Cahorros route was one of the best hikes I’ve ever done, and I would highly recommend it to anyone. It’s about a medium difficulty, and it says it should take 2 hours but if you stop and smell the roses every twenty seconds like my friend and I did, it’ll take you more like 3 or 3.5 hours.
Here’s the link to this magical hike in case you want to explore!