I woke up to an overpowering scent of wild thyme – we were surrounded by plants. Either they’re particularly fragrant in the morning or we were just too tired to notice the night before. We had an apple and peanuts for breakfast, I did some writing and O took some photos, then we packed up and set off.
We checked the map to make sure we could continue along the track rather than head up to the road. It looked about the same distance, so we took the track. It was a very hot, but enjoyable walk with plenty to look at on the way. We saw some big lizards, lots of interesting plants and what looked like the remains of some old farm land of some sort – though it seemed crazy that anyone had ever tried to grow things here.
We were aware that we had not taken the best care of ourselves in the sun the day before and today we both wore scarves on our heads and made sure we stopped to drink water frequently. Just before the road we saw an old structure of some kind and made a mental note of it as a fallback option for where to sleep tonight.
We walked along the road until the outskirts of a town called Agua Amarga. We’d realised in the morning that if we were being sensible, we still probably didn’t have enough water to last us comfortably until Friday afternoon so decided that once we’d found a good spot one of us would walk back to this town to top up water. We admitted to each other that because we’d felt nervous about having enough, we both hadn’t drunk enough yesterday and had definitely felt the effects. We wouldn’t be making the same mistake again.
We took a little path down towards the sea. When we had the option to take a left or right fork, we instead went right down the middle where there was no obvious path. Our aim was to get somewhere where no one else would be going and where we weren’t going to get seen by the police. It wasn’t an easy walk, rocky terrain which sometimes wobbled unexpectedly beneath your feet and various spiky and sharp plants.
As we got closer to the sea, we noticed piles of rocks and a paint mark or two which indicated we had ended up back on some kind of path. It didn’t seem as well used as the earlier paths though, so we continued.
We reached the sea! It was gorgeous – the sun shining on the water, mountains in the distance and something otherworldly about the rocky terrain filled with craters and caves.
We put our things in the shade of a rock and set off separately to explore the area. We thought maybe there could be beaches nearby, as it would be a bit too unsafe to get in (and especially to get out of) the sea from this spot.
It turned out the best cave was hiding just above where we dumped our bags. Walking in, it already felt like a home – like some sort of modern eco-build made to fit in with the natural surroundings with a stunning big south-facing window looking out to sea. The ground sloped quite steeply from back to front, so we would need to dig it out a little bit to create a flat area for sleeping and build a barricade or little wall of some sort to make sure we didn’t roll out of the cave and down the cliff at night. We could tell the cave was pretty untouched, no signs of any human or animal visitors at all – I felt a bit bad for leaving footprints! But we were always very careful to leave nothing else, and this cave would be a perfect home for us for a couple of nights.
We returned to our bags and I started preparing a salad for lunch whilst O checked out our surroundings a bit more, looking for a good place to go swimming. He came back with good and bad news. The good news was that he’d found a spot where it would be safe to jump in because there were step-like rocks nearby so we could climb out easily. The bad news was he’d seen some litter left, he guessed by a local fisherman, and it seemed to be recent – a can of Coke that still had a dribble of liquid left in it, a load of batteries and wrappers for packaged fishing materials.
This and some other old litter we’d seen nearby (old rusty cans and glass bottles, one of which had become part of the rocky ground) suggested that people came to this place and maybe even a fisherman came fairly regularly. We would need to be careful.
I find it upsetting and somewhat unbelievable that people can come to an area of such natural beauty as this and think it’s okay to leave their rubbish here – I just don’t understand how people can do that. This is the reason wild camping ends up being forbidden in places like this – because of the people with absolutely no respect for nature, who seem to think that someone’s always going to come cleaning up after them, or maybe they want to live in a world full of rubbish? I don’t know. It makes me quite angry. We decided we would take as much of the rubbish with us as we could carry when we left.
After lunch, we got to collecting rocks to build a bed edge in our cave. It didn’t take too long and made our new home totally perfect. We also discovered a little seat-like shape in the rocks on the edge of the cave which would make a brilliant brunch spot in the morning. O went on the mission to fill up water containers from the nearby town, but didn’t even have to go that far as he came across a closed pub with an outside hose on the way.
We had a relaxed evening and an early night in our cave, falling asleep to the sound of the waves crashing against the rocks.