Jul 13, 2014

Puig de la Balma

Power line at Coll de la Creueta
My last bike trip went to a regionally well known, albeit visually little spectacular, rock shelter known as Puig de la Balma. I had it on my to-do-list for months, if not years, but because of my priorities and available motivation always decided against it when it came to choosing a suitable biking destination.

Pine cone growing out of a tree trunk
El Puig de la Balma is a mostly medieval estate in the municipality of Mura. It's earliest parts are said to have been constructed during the Xth century, whereas some of the newer parts apparently only date back to the XVIIth. What makes El Puig de la Balma special, however, certainly is that this rock shelter still is inhabited. As a matter of fact, people do not only live there, but actually make a living of it: these days, it is a hotel-restaurant. According to many comments of happy customers to be found on the www, it even seems to be a rather good one.

From my village, the biking trip is easy to describe: after crossing the Eastern chain of hills at the ruins of ancient Hostal St. Jaume, one only has to follow the near-by power line, which goes further East. The only thing left after the crossing of another chain of hills is to lose approximately 100m of altitude and to follow the indications to El Puig de la Balma. The reason it took me so long to go there, is the fact, that the second chain of hills appears to be quite high and far away: I imagined a very long and equally monotonous up-hill ride.

Things turned out not being that bad. Although it indeed mostly goes upwards, if measured in time, the trip by no means gets too hard or too boring. The longest up-hill-only section scarcely covers an altitude difference of 400m, and both, the nice forest road as well as the surrounding natural environment make for enjoyable riding (and sweating). 

From Coll de la Creueta, as the second crossing is denominated, one gets to the rock shelter in no time. 
Puig de la Balma
For a moment, the idea crossed my mind to go back home via the country road which goes through the villages of Roquefort and El Pont de Vilomara. That way, I could make a circular route of my trip, but almost as quickly as the idea had formed, I discarded it, for the way back through the forest would be downhill mostly, which promised fun.  
Heading back westwards; Montserrat and El Farell to be seen
I made it back home just before lunch was being served. According to my kilometre counter and the ICC webpage, the total distance covered was 42km with a positive height difference of not less than 1020m. The trip was not as hard as I had expected beforehand, yet I still felt my leg muscles for a while.

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