Trip Report – Picos de Europa Circuit – by site editor Rick McCharles
An unforgettable (91.5km) route covering the … most extaordinary limestone landscapes – river gorges, alpine lakes, depressions, dense beech woods, narrow canals, cliff hanging trails and peaks with breathtaking views
The rain in Spain
… in the NORTH.
Green Spain, it’s called, home to a wealth of flora and fauna. Including, perhaps, 90 bears.
The weather in Picos de Europa is very atypical for Spain. Happily, September is normally the best month.
Cangas de Onís is the busiest and most easily accessed of the gateway towns. … and can supply all last-minute needs.
Frequent buses deliver you from Cangas to Covadonga, an impressive tourist attraction.
… In 722 AD, Iberian Christians won the battle over the Moors in Covadonga. This was the first significant Christian victory over the occupying Moors; as such, it is often considered to be the start of the Reconquista, the 770-year effort to expel the Moors from Iberia. …
During the summer you can bus all the way from Cangas to the trailhead at Ercina Lake. Unfortunately I arrived the day after those buses stopped running for the season. I hitched the last 12km or so from Covadonga. The Spanish couple who picked me up were also hiking a variation of the circuit staying in refugios, alpine huts providing beds and meals.
Here’s how the lakeside looked to me.
I’d arrived into the frequent, infamous Picos mist. A thick fog bank that often clouds the valleys and lower elvations of this micro climate.
After wandering around blind for 3hrs … I finally set up my tent right at the trailhead. A rotten start to the adventure.
Later I learned the couple that had driven me to the trailhead walked directly to the refugio using GPS.
Note to self: Get me a GPS.
See the rest of my photos from day 1.