Crash Test Dummies

Crash Test Dummies
Dummy 1 and Dummy 2

Both AJ and myself have just reached a milestone. We now have over 100 years of combined worldly, and in some cases down right foolish, experiences. To date they have lead to a few stitches here and there, a couple of sprains, more bruises to count, but to date no broken bones. This would have to boil down to pure luck rather than from a lack of trying.

Recently we have both given it a good crack in trying to injure ourselves, but as they say, no spills no thrills.

SJ = Crash Test Dummy 1

The weather here in Southern Spain has taken a summery turn of late with heaps of sunshine following a good month of rain and even snow in April. As a consequence the weeds and grass have gone bonkers with some parts of the property now knee high in seeded grass, wild fennel, brazen brambles and towers of thistles.

This is why we brought Maurice our ride on lawn mower into our family, so he could make light work of the vegetation during a day of circuit work as against jockeying a strimmer (whipper snipper for the Aussies) for weeks on end.

Welcoming Maurice into our family.

Our property has had someone tending to it for over one hundred years, so the sloping land has been turned into a number of terraces. But when you live in the mountains, inevitably you'll have to deal with some inclines and some declines.

Just down from our olive grove are a number of terraces that have been left to go a little wild. Most of them are flat and about 10 feet wide but in one particular location the terrace shrinks to be about 5 feet wide and has about a slope, leading to the edge of an 8 foot drop to the next terrace. If you were to walk along the terrace, you'd think nothing of it, on a ride on lawn mower and with the luxury of hindsight, perhaps a strimmer is the better option.

Not so suitable for ride on lawn mowers

Have you ever had a moment when you know something is going to happen, its not going to be good, its gonna possibly hurt. You are in this sort of slow motion state, but foolishly you still stick to the path of pain that you can see in front of you. In my case, I knew I could possibly roll Maurice over the terrace if I stayed true to my path. I contemplated my options. I even thought about trying to ride him down the drop like some fool in a barrel going over the Niagara Falls. Off I went down the painful path but in the split second moment before dread I quickly turned the mower blades off. When you fall, its a weird sense that the ground is coming towards you not the other way round. As a braced for impact, I was unsure how Maurice was going to handle the tumble as he followed me down the terrace. Gravity did its thing, I ended up being pinned under him, with my right leg taking most of the load.

Impact zone

I don't know what I felt after wrestling with Maurice, perhaps it was some form of shock or it was relief that I survived but I was able to wiggle my way out from underneath him. I even summoned enough intellect to right Maurice back to his pre tumbled state and then proceeded to drive him back up to the house. Mower blades off of course.

A little bent out of shape

Since the close call, I've got back on the horse as they say and reclaimed the property from the vegetation and the pain and bruising in my leg has subsided. But hey, still no broken bones.

AJ = Crash Test Dummy 2

AJ and I have been lucky enough to bushwalk and hike in some amazing places during our adventures. Being members of the Alpujarra Nomads walking group has opened up the remoteness and beauty of the land that surrounds our home for us to get amongst.

Most Tuesdays we venture out with the group whom I'm proud to say are really great friends. Usually there is about 8-12 of us hitting the trails. The walks over the first half of 2022 have had us all over the place, from the grips of deep snow aboard snow shoes in the Sierra Nevada to the crusty dry caverns of Europe's only desert near Tabernas.

All our hikes are graded from easy to hard, impacted by distance, elevation, duration or exposure. Even though we give our leader a hard time about his grading and reasoning, we are always in very good hands and we always keep an eye out for each other.

Our most recent outing into the mountains had us heading up into the foothills of the Sierra Nevada above Niguelas following the Acequia los Hechos to the snow line or what was left of it, then shooting up to the remote Laguna Puesta Cura. This walk was rated moderate, as it was about 10 kms in length and had an elevation gain of about 590 metres.

As hikes go, it was one of the good ones, although I can't say we have had a bad one. The remnants of the Saharan Dust storms had left the snow peppered with dusty browns making it look other worldly. We had run ins with Ibex, an allusive Lammergeier (vulture) and the snow hopping Alpine Accentor.

Other worldly 

Lunch was spent soaking in the rays on the rocks surrounding the Laguna Puesta Cura, A great place to enjoy the peanut butter sanger.

Laguna Puesta Cura

Little did we know what adventures were ahead of us. The return path had us traversing up to the ridge line that, if followed, would eventually have you back at Lanjaron. Our goal was to hit the ridge line then make a scramble back down the other side on a beeline to our cars.

If you go up, you have to go back down, the route back down had us navigating a Sahara dust stained western facing snow slope in various stages of decay. A few of us took the opportunity to run, stomp and slide our way down the fairly steep slope in fits of laughter and giggles.

The hilarity didn't last to long as the tail end members of the group attempted to navigate the steep slope. AJ tentatively made her way across until her downhill foot slipped its grip leaving her on her butt (now sporting a ever darkening bruise) and sliding down the hill at an ever increasing rate off knots. Twenty metres directly below her point of slide lay a large bare patch of scree with rocks of various sizes and shapes.

After the incident, one of the Nomads asked me if I worked in emergency services as he said I didn't hesitate, I just ran.

Just before it goes tits up

When you see your Number One heading towards danger, you just do. I ran up the rocks, slipping and stumbling over the scree ever conscious that if she hits these rocks at her rate of knots, she is not going to be able to laugh it off. Just before impact I was able to dive onto rocks and deflect her from any serious consequences. AJ actually ended up on top off me as we gave each other a hug we were unsure if we should laugh or cry.

But hey, still no broken bones.