Written by Biggi Hayes
Mediterranean Trail April 2-8, 2018
In early April of 2018 I was excited to be heading off to Catalonia, to participate in the Mediterranean Trail, covering about 100 miles in 5 days.
After a long Wyoming winter – March and April are tough months as teasingly warm spring days can give way to full out blizzards – the temperatures north of Barcelona were in the mid 60’s. Different green hues were sprouting everywhere, flowers blooming and the birds were singing – spring was in the air and what balm to my soul it was.
I flew into the Barcelona airport via Berlin and eagerly awaited the group transfer from the airport which was scheduled for late afternoon from a designated pickup point. Our friendly driver Enrique was there on time and soon all of us where chatting away, anticipating what the next few days would bring.
The trail started at Mas Alba, a typical Catalan stone house dating back to the 16th century. The accommodations for the week where in quaint family owned village hotels and comfortable rustic stone houses, all adding to the charm of the ride.
During our welcome dinner that evening we got to know our fellow riders and our fearless trail leader Nacho. Soon after dinner I found myself tucked away into my cozy room, getting a good night’s sleep to be ready for our weeks adventure that lay ahead.
After breakfast the next morning we were introduced to our trusty steeds. I locked eyes with a young and very handsome P.R.E gelding named Vido and was hoping he would be my partner for the week – and a few minutes later that unspoken wish became a reality. After receiving all of the tack needed for the week ahead and had an introduction on how to tack and untack, we set off following the river Fluvia as it winds through hilly terrain covered by thick oak and pine forests. As it turned out to be a warmer day than anticipated, a picnic at a small lake turned into an impromptu splashing in the invigorating waters for those of us brave enough. During the short siesta after lunch and our shenanigans in the cool waters, I was able to enjoy these first warmer rays of sunshine.
Day 3 was a long one as we awoke before sunrise to tack up and head to the beach before it became too crowded. After a long fun canter in the surf we climbed the Massif Montgri mountain to enjoy a picnic lunch overlooking the Mediterranean sea. It was cooler then the day before and we all feasted on the fantastic lunch spread of fresh bread, cheeses, and different cold cuts such as salami and ham options, fresh tomatoes, washed down by some red wine. A much needed siesta followed before cantering to our next stop. In the afternoon we crossed over a small mountain range down to the coast. A simple hotel close to the beach was our stop for the night. Since I was still so full from our late lunch I opted to enjoy a long walk along the deserted beach and reveled in the peace and the energy of the ocean.
The next day brought more long canters twisting through pine forests and rice fields and passing through small towns and hamlets. We arrived in the medieval town of Pals in time for a delicious Paella for lunch after which we had time to explore the town a bit. It was easy to get lost in the narrow cobble stone streets – what a cool place to explore!
On our last day of riding we set out after breakfast, homeward bound, having come almost full circle. After tacking up our mounts and a quick photo op in a field abloom with poppies, Nacho led us on a fast canter up and down some hills before crossing the river El Ter. There was a feast set up for us and after toasting our week with Cava, we enjoyed the fresh food and wine before a peaceful siesta and a bittersweet return to Mas Alba. I cannot wait to return to ride Vido again on another one of these itineraries.