One of my students had said she had seen people hiking up there before, so a coworker and I decided if others could do it, we could too. So we embarked on what we thought would be a normal hike along a normal trail. To our suprise, the trail ended almost immediately, and we found ourselves among boulders twice our size, random mountain cacti, and millions of prickly shrubs. Nevertheless, it did not appear to be anything too horribly difficult or dangerous. As we continued to scale the mountain, however, it only got steeper and more difficult. At one point, we decided it was not worth the risk, but when we careflly turned ourselves around, two thoughts went through my head: (1) I already made it this far...what's another few hundred feet? and (2) What the heck am I thinking, I can't get down from here! So of course, if it is too scary to go back down, you just continue going up...right?
After almost 2 hours of complete vertical rock climbing (not hiking...), we made it to the Cruz (cross). It was well worth it. You can see for miles - Ubrique, other pueblos blancos, mountains, rolling hills, olive groves, etc. It is absolutely gorgeous, and I think everyone that comes to Ubrique should scale the mountain and make the journey up to the Cruz. It is not your normal everyday hike. It pushes the limits, yes, but once you make it to the top (and if you ignore the fact that you have to go back down), the reward is incredible. I plan to venture up at least one more time this fall/winter before the snakes return (we were lucky, we only encountered one), but will probably go a little more prepared...mentally and physically. And of course, should anyone want to come and visit me, I will be happy to be your local hiking guide. :-)