Feb 28, 2014

Balma de l'Espluga

In the Natural Parc of Sant Llorenç, there are numerous caves, the deepest of which goes down some 120m into the washed out conglomerate rock. That cave is called "Avenc de l'Espluga", avenc being the Catalan word for vertical cave. As a matter of fact, it is the cave I've visited most times, and every time me and my caving companions went there, we passed at least one night in a cosy rock shelter close by, which bears the name "Balma de l'Espluga", Balma being Catalan for ....... rock shelter, exactly! Since I hadn't been there for years, I thought it would be nice to go there by bike.
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Better part of the round trip
I didn't go there straight, however, but first passed by El Farell and Puigdoure - two abandond masias of local importance, back in their time.

On the way to El Farrell: Above "Riera de Santa Creu"
From Puigdoure I took a path that led me down again, and to my surprise it did so towards a point very close to the masia of Matarodona. It had not been my intention to go there, but I didn't bother, since I now was on a forest road that would lead me without much complications to Balma de l'Espluga...
Look back to Matarodona
... where I arrived after an hour or so. Since that area is reasonably accessable from the far side, I wasn't alone any longer and every now and then encountered groups of hikers.

Balma de l'Espluga
When I arrived at the rock shelter, I parked my bike for a moment and on foot went out to look for the cave I've mentioned in this article's introduction. To my shame, I must admit, that I did not find it, but at least I have an excuse: with so many people around, I couldn't leave my bike unattended for long.

It was time to back home. I either could take the more or less cyclable main path I was reasonable sure I could locate without much trouble, or I could gamble and take a shorter path through the "Riera de la Cansalada" (Bacon Torrent) I only knew from the map, probably harder to find and surely in worse shape. I did the gambling. It turned out, that the path existed and was relatively easy to find, but in my opinion it was not exactly cyclable. I mostly had to wheel the bike or even shoulder it, but that did not matter, since I like to explore, and exploration is about trying new paths rather, than about just cycling around. 

Later, an impossibly to bike on path deviated from my almost impossible to bike on one. I took it anyway, since it promised to give access to the main path I knew was out there somewhere. It only led me to a clochán inmidst the vegetation, however, where it aprubtly ended, meaning I had to head back and try luck somewhere else. But that had been the last problem of the trip. Once I made it to the main path, in to time I got home and first thing had a hot shower.
Ruin of a ruined clochán in the middle of the jungle

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