Water brings with it a sense of cleansing, metaphorical and physical. When I’m upset, often a shower helps me wash away baggage. When I’m stressed, a swim in the ocean with the waves crashing against me leaves me feeling purged. A run in the rain clears my mind of any toxic and repetitive thoughts. And this walk up the Río Chíllar was a source of inspiration and rejuvenation when I truly needed it.

The Río Chíllar is a short river in the eastern part of the province of Málaga, near the town of Nerja. Many nature lovers and hikers visit Chíllar to walk up to it’s source, where waterfalls collect, forming cristal clear pools of water. I went with Alex and our two dogs, which at first seemed like a great idea but one we later regretted. The walk is long, and with the water pushing against you it can take quite a bit of energy, even though the inclination isn’t steep most of the way, but just with the changing scenery alone you keep entertained and motivated, and then add the pop of color and the sweet aromas of the tropical flowers that dot the river bank and the desire to reach the waterfalls and there’s no reason not to make the nearly three hour hike to the top.

On this trip, however, we didn’t make it to the waterfalls because our at first over-zealous pups were like rockets, throttling themselves up and down the river—they must have tripled our walking distance—but they eventually wore themselves out and could barely lift their little paws up to plod on, and we had to turn around with just a half an hour left.

Despite not finishing the walk, we finished the adventure exhausted yet with our batteries totally recharged. Feeling the cold water push against me as I walked up the river, it felt like it was washing away things that I no longer needed to carry with me, and when we turned around I felt it flow around me and with me, bringing with it a certain electrical energy.