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Riverbed walking on the Mozárabe from Almería

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
I have heard a bit about the riverbed walking on the Mozárabe from Almería, and it doesn't sound too fun!
River bed walking can sometimes feel like a slog (like walking on a beach) and sometimes like a balancing act (smooth boulders under foot that occasionally teeter and slip against each other).
With warm weather, my feet got sweaty and those dry riverbeds chewed up my feet, giving me blisters in new places.

Can anyone give a sense of how much riverbed walking there would be in mid-late April? Is it always loose pebbles or is it sometimes packed more tightly together? I'm having a bit of trouble picturing the 'smooth boulders' described above - what are they like? I'm just trying to get an idea of whether or not this would be too much for someone with plantar fasciitis who deals with pain walking on cobblestones and hard surfaces.

Finally, does the route from Málaga also contain riverbed walking and if so, how much?
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
One gets sensitized to the riverbed right from the start leaving Almeria. After a couple of days you turn off that obvious riverbed into other valley formations but the type of rock is similar. I didn't stop complaining about it in my blog until Hueneja.

The problem is that the surface is loose and variable, so you need to pay attention to virtually every step. That gets mentally tedious and the micro-adjustments physically tire the feet. I don't know if that would aggravate plantar fascitis or not. It is not the same as striding along a hard surface.

This absolutely qualifies in my mind, as an acceptable reason for "skipping" an unpleasant section in the outskirts of a city. (Better to skip a piece than to skip the whole walk!) Maybe there are buses to Alboloduy. Or bus to Santa Cruz de Marchena and walk to Alboloduy so that you can appreciate approaching that pretty town (a few km of smooth concrete walkway, as I remember).

Here are some sample photos. No specific piece is a deal-breaker: it is the accumulation of hours and days that makes it difficult. The last one is from the Alboloduy to Ocaña stage, that I loved even though it was hard.
 

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anamcara

Camino Walker
Past OR future Camino
2022 Chemin du Piémont Pyrénéen; Camino Baztan 😎
@jungleboy plans afoot? Pardon thé pun. We’ve only walked from Granada to Merida on the Mozarabe (loved it) so I can’t comment on that section.

But last year we walked the Larapinta Trail which was quite tough in parts due to terrain, boulder scrambling and vertical rock surfaces. But it was the mornings when our walk out of camp was along a dry riverbed that were really tough on the feet and with endless opportunities to roll your foot or ankle. Not so far in distances but seemed to take forever. As @C clearly says, you have to watch every step.

Exciting to be heading to the Mozarabe 😎

Gréât photos @C clearly 👍
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
@C clearly’s description and pictures are the best!

The day from Alboloduy to Abla stands out in my mind as consisting of almost entirely relentless, endless stony riverbeds. I was SO glad that I had just that year made the switch to Altras, because I arrived without throbbing feet, unlike my two amigos who were walking in hiking shoes.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
Alboloduy to Abla stands out in my mind as consisting of almost entirely relentless, endless stony riverbeds
That's partly because you walked those last 8 km along the Nacimiento River at the end of a day that included going up and over some tricky slopes for spectacular views. I stopped in Ocana, so I did those 8 km of dry Nacimiento earlier the next day.
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
One gets sensitized to the riverbed right from the start leaving Almeria. After a couple of days you turn off that obvious riverbed into other valley formations but the type of rock is similar. I didn't stop complaining about it in my blog until Hueneja.
Thank you so much for your descriptions and photos! When I showed your post to Wendy, she surprisingly said, 'It doesn't look that bad.'
 

Me Fein

Member
Past OR future Camino
A few Caminos
I walked in 2019 and can`t remember any problems walking on the riverbeds. I thought it was a comfortable walk not having to look out for cars ,bicycles etc and it was well signed. It rained the night we stayed in Alboloduy so there there was water in the river bed. We only had a short walk on the river bed when the Camino left it. We threw some rocks into the water so we had stepping stones to cross and stayed dry. Buen Camino
 

Tom Hagger

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Francés, Norte, Primitivo, Português, Plata etc.
I walked from Almeria in April in 2018, Jungleboy, and the couple of riverbed days were no problem at all, just a 'different' experience. Just after that, near Huenja, it snowed. This caught me unprepared - I had no warm-weather gear so had to walk in shorts, a very light fleece and a poncho to keep warm. Before then, I always considered myself an experienced and well-prepared walker. Be warned! But the Mozárable is an outstanding walk. Buen Camino! Tom
 
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dagomez

New Member
Thank you for the input…I will be starting from Almeria on March 1st. Is any river wadding involved that require sandals or aqua shoes?
I also have planter fasciitis which is problematic on any surface—only solution I have found for that is custom boot inserts from a podiatrist, stretching and I bring a light weight foot roller.👨🏻‍🦯🥾🇪🇸
 

TrvlDad1

Covidyard Bob
Past OR future Camino
2017 Frances from Saria
2018 Finnisterre & Ingles
2019 Portuguese from Valenca
2020 Assisi(cancel.)
Curious if there are fossils and other artifacts in that riverbed (not for collection or disturbance ,obviously, but for observation). I walked the Kali Gandaki riverbed in Nepal from Kagbeni to Jomson and it was loaded with fossils.
 
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george.g

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
French way 10, 11
Norte 12
Vdlp 13
Levante 14
Mozarabe/Malaga 15
Augusta 16
Mozarabe/Almeria 17
Hi Jungleboy.
About walking in the riverbeds, if you go to Google Earth - Almeria, track north to Huercal de Almeria and you can zoom into the river, you will see that the local farmers use the river bed as an informal roadway to get to their market gardens, so there is usually a "smoother" track to follow.
You may want to look at the route after Santa Fe, the camino heads for the hills, its possible to continue along the river bed and exit to the left at the "Ermitia Virgin del Rio" gain the road A1075 to Alhabia. The camino goes to the left just after the first bar in Alhabia on this stage there is a road beside the riverbed.
There were a few wet areas when I walked this way a couple of years ago, but nothing too bad, you could ask in the bar in Santa Fe about any water issues, don't feel bad about missing a few hills, there's plenty to come!!!
Yes I have walked this way (twice)
Regards
George
Edit... I cannot remember any riverbeds on the Malaga route, plenty of olive trees though!!
 
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digger

Member
Past OR future Camino
Mozarabe; Almeria to Santiago May & June 2016
It wasn't too bad in 2018. The river bed gets used as a road in many places and it was smoother than expected. Keep an eye out for vehicles and farm machinery approaching from behind. The views coming out of the river and up the mountain are absolutely fantastic
 

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