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Tollo to Cosgaya: May 13, 2022 31.83 Miles Walked
Climb Every Mountain
Today’s hike was brought to us by the letters “U” and “P.” Our elevation gain was 3,605 feet for the entire day across 15.03 miles. That was just the up and does not include any down. The going was steep. But no matter that each step was work. No matter how hard we breathed. No matter how many drops of sweat fell from our brows. It was damn worth it. Because of this:
While this picture helps, you can’t see what we saw at the top of Pico Jano. We had 360 degree views where we could see all three mountain mastiffs and everything else in the entire national park. (If some of the clouds to the east were not there we would have seen the Cantabria Sea as well!) The views went on and on and on. We feel so very lucky to have made the effort that we could see so much superb natural glory all in one place. Since Pam is so much smarter than me she thought of taking a quick video of all this awesomeness. You can see it here. The video helps, but the views were so breath taking the only way to really appreciate them is in person. I could write hundreds of thousands of words and never be able to describe the jaw dropping beauty. Please put Pico Jano on your bucket list. You will not be disappointed. What made our time on Pico Jano more unbelievably incredible was that we were the only people there. Imagine having a mountain with forever views all to yourself for as long as you want!
We started out with a fine breakfast from Pepa but were a little worried that both weather apps were predicting rain this afternoon. At least the path from Tollo to La Vega was downhill and it was a clear morning so we figured we’d better enjoy it while we could. It was coolish and the sky was blue so it was a nice walk.
Something that’s interesting about walking between towns is that most “towns” in this part of Spain are five or ten houses (with additional barns or animal keeping areas). A “big” town has maybe 20 buildings in it. Each of these tiny villages seemed to have a welcoming committee ready to great us. In nearly all it was a single dog, but in some it was up to three. These pups would start wagging their tails as soon as they saw us and most would wiggle in happiness that someone was coming. Very rarely, there was a bark. Since I’m allergic to dogs I couldn’t pet them, which was so sad because that’s really all they wanted. Fortunately, Pam could give enough rubs and loving for the two of us. Many of these greeters were some form of herding dog and just loved the attention.
This is a picture from yesterday, but look at that sweetie just staring at Pam! They loved greeting us and getting those head scratches. We did see a few cats, which are my specialty, but whenever we would try to get close they just ran away. They are all barn cats so they pretty much hate people. I missed working at the shelter today with cats so felt it even more that they weren’t friendly. I’m going to get a Spanish cat to flop for me before this trip is over!
After a whole bunch of up in the morning heat, we had a break at the little town of Dobarganes. As I am a sweat hog, I was drenched and needed to dry out a little. They had a bench in the shade so we plopped down and I stripped off every thing down to my pants and hung my shirt, hat, socks, and backpack on a fence so the sun could dry them out. As we were enjoying the picnic lunch that Pepa had prepared for us, an old couple walked by carrying their trash to the canisters. We said hello and talked a little. The wife told the husband that we were English and he needed to talk to us. I think she thought I was English because I’m sitting there shirtless with my fine, creamy, extremely pale both-sides-of-the-family-are-English skin. After they came back we could tell that the husband had been practicing something as he walked up to us. He asked in halting English if we were planning to hike to Pico Janus. When we said we were, he slowly told us that he wanted to make sure we had enough water for the hike because it was so hot. It really touched me because he was so concerned about our we’ll being. Simple actions like that gentleman checking on us are the best of humanity. While I didn’t think to tell him at the time, I’d like to dedicate my hike today to him for being a good person.
After the experience of Pico Janis, Pam and I were on a completely natural high. We were making great time on our way to Cosgaya when the guide book told us “there’s no trail from this point on, just walk through the meadow in front of you for twenty minutes until you hit the road for Cosgaya.” That sounds simple enough but as we started walking I had to wonder how did they truly know how long it would take anyone to walk a particular stretch? As we went through the “meadow”, which was a cow pasture, I really stared questioning the guide book. What happens in a cow pasture? Cows eat, poop, and walk all over the place. What happens when it rains? Cows walk all over the place. When large cows are walking on mud, what happens? They make large holes. What happens when those holes dry? They become post holes randomly spaced across the pasture. What happens when it dries and two tired hikers are trying to walk down the pasture? They are constantly about to break an ankle or fall flat on their face because of those holes.
Even better was when we got about half way down and there’s an electric fence across the entire pasture. I’m thinking we can climb over it, very, very carefully because I estimate it is at crotch level. But wait, what would that gigantic two ton bull think about me stumbling into his pasture and getting between him and his haram? Yeah, it was that kind of experience. It took us almost an hour to get through that god forsaken pasture and avoid pissing off that bull. We will be telling the tour company that they really need to change their route for that part of the trail.
The one good thing was this beautiful lady decided to pose for a picture with the gorgeous mountains in the background.
We made it to the hotel just fine. We’d gotten used to being the only people in a hotel, but Hotel Oso (Hotel Bear) is a lot larger and has a lot of folks staying here. It seems like this hotel is super popular with Brits based on the accented English we have been hearing. The dinner was really good, but the best part was when I asked for a chupito of aguardiente. That was the first time we got the waitress to say something other than a monotone the whole night. She sent over the wine server with a bottle of locally made aguardiente from Potes! We had passed the tiny factory a couple of days ago when we walked through Potes and Pam was very worried I might disappear into it. I can’t find the factory on the internet, but I can vouche for their quality. If you are ever in Potes, head up to the eastern part of town and you’ll find them. Just use your nose.
So ends a glorious day. Guess what we have tomorrow? The letters “U” and “P” make the word that describes it!
Pam’s picks! (She was fast asleep last night so here are the last two days of picks)
Yesterday (May 12): FINALLY getting to our hotel for the night.
Today (May 13): Eating a Pepa’s chocolate bar from lunch on top of Pico Jano.