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Cosgaya to Fuente De: May 14, 2022 42.33 Miles Walked
Yay! It Rained Today!
Today’s adventure started with a plate. Actually, multiple of them. While we love staying in those tiny inns, there’s definitely a benefit to the bigger Spanish hotels in that the breakfast spread has a bunch of everything. All sorts of meats, breads, pastries, and fruit. I felt it was my job to eat a bunch, because it was there, but more importantly, it was all so good. Pam thought she was going to have to roll me up the trail. It’s not that I ate that much, but I normally don’t eat breakfast but with all that freshness just sitting there, you have to break some rules.
Filled to the brim, it was time to start hiking. However, what does it mean when your vacation hike starts at a cemetery? Is the tour company trying to tell us something? What’s the symbolism here? Turns out it means nothing other than a convenient place to start. Thank, goodness!
We are mentally prepared for the up so up we went. The pleasure of up in the Picos de Europa is that you quickly get views that go on forever. Walking through a few small towns we got to the steepest part of the day according to the guide book. Of course, the steepest part would be through a meadow, which after yesterday, made us a little nervous. This meadow had been left alone for a long time so we didn’t have to deal with big cow holes and there were no cows in site. It was also filled with all sorts of wildflowers that were in full bloom so we kept having to stop and look at them. We really enjoyed looking at them and trying to take pictures to capture the gorgeousness.
We finally got to the top of the meadow where there was a barn and a farmer working. We heard a little bark and sure enough we had the sweetest dog come over to say hello. He was slightly shy, but once he sniffed Pam he wanted nothing more than head rubs. I’ve never seen a dog smile, but this one was all smiles as the picture attests.
Heading up the road, and I do mean up, we started getting glimpses of the bigger mountains in front and to the side of us. These are part of the main mastiff and are so rugged and beautiful you can’t help but stare. There’s just something about big rugged rocks that just gets me. My Dad loved rocks so much and it definitely rubbed off on me. We used to exchange pictures of rocks that we liked and my Dad would have loved these.
Getting to the top point of the day, the guidebook mentioned that at the top we should get off the trail and go up a different one if we wanted a great break spot with views forever. We will never turn that down so off we went. Turning the first corner, we encountered something we hadn’t seen in the last two days, other hikers. It was a Spanish group of six who were coming down a different route. They were nice and moved on quickly.
Being able to hike without large groups of people on the trail is such a gift. Even though we live next to Pisgah Nation Forest and the Great Smokey National Park, we never hike there because both are loved to death. To me, being out in nature is a time to be silent and let the sounds fill you. When we lived in New Hampshire over ten years ago, I climbed all 48 mountains over 4,000 feet so spent a lot of time hiking. I got so sick and tired of dumbasses who felt the only way to communicate with their group was to shout at each other. One time I heard a dumbass talking to his buddy about all the STDs he had. That idiot was on a completely different ridge from me nearly a mile away. Don’t get me started on the morons that feel they need a Bluetooth speaker playing their favorite crappy music as they hike in the wilderness. Whenever I hike in the US, it’s not relaxing because I find myself planning exactly how I can kill those dumbass and hide their bodies pretty much the entire way. Sorry for the rant, but this is the very sad reason why I have to fly 3,000 miles to hike.
Anyway, the guidebook was right, the views from their break spot were tremendous so we decided it was lunch time. Even better we had company! No, not other hikers, but a herd of 20 or so cows who also loved the view from the same spot so they were laying down enjoying it too. They weren’t bothered by us and we were totally not bothered by them. We got to enjoy glorious views to the soundtrack of Spanish cowbells and occasional moos. Overall, it was so cool to share the moment with them because, well, it was cows and a view. One lady cow was laying down about 25 feet from us and just stared at us chewing her cud as she hung out with us. Pam made a short video of our lunch guest you can watch here. To see all of our lunch guests, watch here.
Continuing on, we immediately ran into something that our guide Alex warned us about on the first day, a guard dog. High up in the hills the farmers have these dogs to protect the cows and sheep. They are very, very good at their jobs. This one let us know who was in charge and made sure we made no move to his precious cows. We hustled along quick hoping we got out of his sight because he was pretty scary. I wanted to take a video, but was not about to stop because he was laying down the law.
The morning and early afternoon had been growing more and more clouding when off in the distance when we saw this:
Can you see what is coming our way? The weather reports have been calling for rain every since we started and we had been lucky so far. Our luck was continuing because we were about to start descending and losing all the views. We’d been rained on before so we know we don’t melt but the timing of the rain was exquisite. We even thanked it for holding out as long as it did. I know you are thinking we are crazy but when hiking you have to always pay the rain tax at some point so when the rain agrees to not mess with your views, you treat it as a big win.
We were also joining up with a much traveled trail so knew we would see people. We saw people, but even saw a group of 20 motorcyclists on the trail. It’s a mixed use trail and they had the right. Fortunately, the motorcyclists went one way and the hikers went another. All us hikers spread naturally so all of us had the trail to ourselves as we walked a lot of downhill through forests the rest of the way. Other than dealing with a bunch of mud we made really great time down to Fuente De.
Our goal for the night was Parador Fuente De. Parador means it’s a government owned hotel, which for many years in the early 20th century was the custom in Spain. Fuente De is famous for the cable car that takes you up the shear face of the Picos de Europa and deposits you at 5,981 feet in altitude. It’s a great way to get up high without walking. In the first entry in this series, I included a picture I took in 2017 from the top. In tomorrow’s newsletter, I’ll write more about the awesome cable car and the heights.
We arrived at the Parador Fuente De with wet rain gear and a little muddy, but just so happy for a great hike, rain and all. The Parador has been hosting hikers since 1928 and they know exactly how to take care of them. We took off our shoes outside the room door because they were sopping wet and super muddy, but we knew they were ready for us. In the bathroom they have this shoe washer and stool you can sit on to do the washing. The washer offers hot and cold water so it makes cleaning up a breeze. The only problem is that the basin is pretty low, with the faucet at an odd angle. Sometimes the stool is a lot higher than the shoe washer so you really have to bend over to clean your shoes. No matter, we got all the gunk cleaned off our shoes pretty quick and they are almost completely dry as I write this. Strangely, some people call the shoe washer a bidet and the stool a makeup stool, but we, and now you, know what they really are.
Tomorrow we are going to ride that cable car and do some down hiking to make up for all the up we’ve had over the last three days. Thank you all so much for reading!
Pam’s Picks: A tie between the lunch with the cows and views and the rain holding off until we no longer had any views.