Alhama de Granada is an amazing running destination for the trail runner. Mike and I discovered this area when we came in 2011 on a fact-finding-mission. I typed trail run Spain into the computer at home and guess what? There is a website called trailrunspain.com. Our friend Paul Bateson is the keeper of this site. He organizes trail running holidays for people visiting Andalucia. When we came 2 years ago we ran with him for 3 days. We ran from village to village carrying all of our gear. We each carried a small pack. I brought a rolled up sundress, underwear, an extra pair of socks, flip-flops, a toothbrush, toothpaste and a comb. We rinsed out our running clothes at night and stayed in hotels. We ran 18-25 miles each day over and around the nearby mountains of the Parque Natural Sierras de Tejeda. Recently Paul’s knees have not been behaving well so we’ve been having fun acting as his substitute running guides. The first week we ran with Dominic, an English banker based in Hong Kong. Last week we spent with Rob from Holland a computer programmer and a wicked hill climber. They were both good runners so many days Mike would run on ahead with them and they would wait for me at the top of big climbs.
Team Kezmoh’s recent trail runs:
LA MAROMA (10 miles):
La Maroma: We did this run with both Rob and Dominic. It starts at 3000 feet and is 10 miles round trip. The top of the mountain is 6800 feet according to my Garmin altimeter. I would like to make it 22 miles round trip and leave from home but I haven’t gotten to that run yet. The trail starts on an upward sloping dirt path that becomes gradually more steep and eventually more and more rocky until we can only hike.
There is an incredibly rewarding view at the top. We live on the inland side of the mountain so it is a treat to be able to see the Mediterranean Sea from the summit. We expect that on a really clear day we would be able to see Africa!
The Rickety Bridge loop (8 miles):
This is an 8 mile loop from our door that is really nice. It is full of rolling hills all of which are run-able. We like to do this loop after we take the kids to school. The school is in the gorge so we just keep going after dropping them off.
We run into the canyon along the Alhama river We cross a small foot bridge and shortly come to a little dam. There is a guard dog who lives on the levy behind a fence next to the dam. He has very little space to run so Mike feels bad for him. He looks pretty ferocious so I am glad for the chain link fence between us. Mike wants to befriend him so he carries treats in his pocket to toss over the fence for him.
Past the dog we take a dirt road mostly uphill to the “rickety bridge”. The bridge is the midpoint of the run and from there we climb up a lovely dirt path that rolls past cortijos (farmhouses). Our favorite is Cortijo Bernardo.
The day I brought my camera Bernardo was in his garden pulling weeds while Stevie Wonder sang “I just called to say I love you” from a small radio. His wife Francisca was concerned that I was so sweaty and came over to feel if I was as wet as I looked. We explained that we were just running and complimented their lovely gardens and ran off down the road.
Next, we pass fields of tomatoes and corn with the sound of rushing water from the river below us. There are a couple of friendly dogs who come out to greet us and usually join us for a short way. They don’t need treats because they already seem happy.
Eventually we loop back past the gorge and the school. If we time it right we can wave at the girls during recess. Sometimes we try to spy on them but one of their friends always spots us and points.
The Cacin Gorge (8 miles):
This run starts by Lake Bermejales about 10km from Alhama. The first 3.5 miles is along the top of the gorge on a dirt road that winds through tomato farms and olive trees.
The road crosses a Roman Bridge, El Puente Romano over the Rio Cacin.
Just before the bridge there is a trail that drops sharply into the gorge. There are boy scouts who spend the summer at a camp near here. They keep the trail clear and set up ropes and bridges to cross.
Running in the Cacin Gorge
The Lake Bermejales Loop (15 miles):
One of our favorite runs back home is the Lake Natoma Loop so it seems fitting that we found another lake loop to enjoy. Like Lake Natoma, Lake Bermejales is a man-made lake with a dam. It is 15 miles around on a mix of trail and a bit of road.
The trail darts in and out of coves through neat rows of pine trees. The trail is a soft cushion of pine needles, gentle on the knees. It is stunningly beautiful. The lake is very clear and in many places a surreal mix of greens and blues. The unearthly colors seemingly change around every corner.
From the bridge at the dam we see large fish swimming deep in the crystal waters.
We have done this loop with all of the visitors so far. Most recently Colleen and Jeff from Toronto, Canada joined us.
If anyone whats to come to join us on a run in Spain just send me a comment! We would love to have some company. You can also e-mail me at LKEZMOH@gmail.com!